gouache on panel, w/encaustic & gouache collage
4.25″ x 5.5″
February 22, 2013
Source text reads: “You’re doing it right.”
2/8: “You seem to be angry, why so?”
2/9: “its ok weve all been there” (sic)
2/10: “Nailed it.”
2/11: “Rest well”
2/12: “I WILL BE THERE”
2/13: “I hope it continues to increase.”
2/14: “You are both truly angels”
Week Two brought exhaustion, daily exhaustion. Life exhaustion. Going to keep this thing going no matter what exhaustion. Descending into hostile places exhaustion, the kind where I lose oxygen, where things become confusing, where I forget where I am. I pushed myself into unfamiliar places, and I stayed long enough to know I never want to go back. Some days I retreated to the local places, ones populated by the familiar supportive voices I knew I could trust. The foreign places: an anxiety board (I got kicked off- ouch!), a weapons chat room, and a white supremacist support forum. The local places for respite in my own social media feed: get well comments to a friend from a friend, a thumbs up on someone’s work, the comments on the posting for the funeral of a friend (last week), and the acknowledgement of two incredible people I’ve “known” online over the years.
Is it kindness? It’s the question I ask myself as I search. I usually don’t use the first kind interaction I see, so I do come across kind words among the noise as I go. I’m looking for the personal and succinct thought that captures an expression of kindness, for what I can respond to with artwork. I’m listening for maybe something I’d say, or maybe something I need to hear. Finding what I need is the favor I’m doing myself as I go through the 28 days of this project. Life really didn’t stop for me during these days, and I’m not stopping either. One of the hardest things to do has been visiting the most hostile communities, where they gather with the intention of shutting others out. And I did find kindness there (if you can call it that.) Completely anonymous people were discussing their cache of weapons, and one person took time to be concerned for another’s state of mind. And I also saw the genuine & repeated concern between one white supremacist and another regarding deteriorating health, diet, and “how did your day go today? I’m thinking of you.” Heartbreak. That these places could be so very dark in one regard, and yet so warm in another. So mixed up, so upside-down. I recognized the care & concern in the voices, the sound of people who connected over social media, who over time became concerned about one another’s wellbeing. I really did momentarily forget where I was, the kind of forum that brought the people together. The darkness. And I was disoriented. Is it kindness, when it’s between people like this?
I can’t visit those places every day. I pictured myself diving into the farthest reaches of the internet by now, every single day. I just don’t have the stamina. I do find my home base in social media with people I know and “know.” I pictured myself intensely researching, finding, in places I never knew existed. I still hope to go there. I’ve realized I need internal & external strength to do this daily. And just the bit I’m doing, along with the retreats into the places I know, this is all I have in me right now.
As of today, I’ve also completed days 15, 16, 17, and 18. I’ll discuss those texts (and 19, 20, 21) in “The Source Text: Week Three.”
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
– Emily Dickinson
The “I Will Find” project statement is here.
The “I Will Find” artwork is: