When I look at this photo I see a pretty teenager on a date with a handsome boy that happened to be a star on the basketball team. What I remember about this moment was how wildly uncomfortable I was. I had tried to diet in the weeks leading up to the dance so I could fit into this borrowed dress. My stomach muscles were clenched not only because Spanx had yet to be invented, but because my date was not into me. I hadn’t yet identified that particular feeling when you know the man you are with is probably gay.
His name was Brian and he asked me out because he was in awe of the fact that I acted in all the dramatic productions at our high school. He had secret yearnings to be an actor, and eventually became quite successful on a daytime soap opera. For years I blamed my distorted body image on growing up in Los Angeles during a time when thinness and perfection were all that mattered. It was a club I wanted desperately to belong to. Looking back, I realize something else was amiss during that time. I had no connection to an inner life or my innate creativity, no way of finding a peaceful place free from judgement. I wanted to be a top student, go to a good college, and was afraid of stepping off that path and exploring anything artistic. I meet teens now that love what they love, art and/or science, and they seem to have the confidence that comes from knowing who they are.
I started painting in my thirties, and found that making art nurtures me in a way that allows me to live inside my body instead of being on the outside judging it.
It continues to carry me through these challenging times. It doesn’t take much, a few brushstrokes or time musing over fashion images in my “lookbook” and I feel more centered and hopeful.
I’ll be sharing the magic, fun and inspiration with you starting next month when online classes resume. An Artful Approach to Personal Style is offered through the College of Marin via Zoom, Tuesday afternoons 1:30pm-3:30pm, October 18 through November 9. It is $74 for 4 classes and there are scholarships available for lifelong learners. A full description and link is HERE.
I’ve been collecting images of fall fashion, and am excited to share them with the group.
It’s a drag that we are still wearing masks and many activities are canceled, but we can still be inspired by color and style. There will be time each week to sink into your own artistic projects that might give you a jumpstart to continue on your own. We all need an opportunity to connect to creativity. Making a date with yourself can help. Let me know if you are interested in additional time painting. I’ll be putting together a group class soon.
Come and play. Let’s not spend another dull season living only in sweats.
Our spirit deserves better.
Susan Bono says
I’m grateful to be reminded that the best way to free ourselves of so many of our issues is to encourage our creativity to express itself. Decorating the outsides of our bodies can be part of that, but shouldn’t be the only goal. How much more satisfying it is to bejewel my heart and “clothe my spirit” as a way to let my beauty shine!
Jennifer Robin says
Susan, thank you for your wonderful comment. So appreciated.