“The Seeking of Self”
This piece is a really personal and interesting one. To quote Levi McAllister, “And someone will love it because it’s honest, and someone will hate it because it’s crude, but as for me: for every time I give my testimony to a crowd, I’ll lie awake at night and wonder about whether or not I’ve told the truth.” So hopefully, this will be truth.
First, because it came out of a place of numerous creative slumps. I always fear too much that I take too much influence from artists I really admire (the use of muscular anatomical figures of Cameron Gray, the heavy use of geometry of Android Jones, and the dream-like scapes of Salvador Dali). But after months of trying to create something “unique” and never really being satisfied with how un-unique my pieces were, I realized how many ideas that I really liked that I stifled. So I came out with this piece, similar to all the rest. Why? It’s a personal statement and acceptance of imperfection and growth. I will always be influenced by what strikes me, and I shouldn’t shy away. At the same time, I shouldn’t be content with the same ideas or become lazy and not grow. I will accept what influences me and acknowledge that my influences are a large part of what I envision as an artist, and let those influences sink in deep and allow me to find more of my personal voice.
Second, life has been really embittering to me for these past several months. I left home to go to some place where none of my closest friends and family are, to go to a whole new community and church. I turned down a full ride to go to a Christian college because I wanted to obey God’s command over my life. So many things have been happening to a lot of my friends back at home and there’s nothing I can do about it. The hypocrisy in the Church that I hoped to escape in Maryland only followed me over to my journey to Illinois. Over waves and waves of loneliness, worries, and social anxiety, it’s so easy for me to become bitter at God, despite the great friendships and relationships fostered here at Wheaton. And it’s so easy for me to rely on myself and my own strength because it is very tangible for me. But the sinking feeling of anxiety that damns me and the daunting future that looms over me drives me to realize even more that I cannot sustain myself, nor can I truly lean on my own understanding: the seeking of self lies in dying to the self. The self that is sought is found in looking above the derision that suffocates us and reaching out, even if it seems like a futile attempt. If anyone is like me and feels the weight of anxiety, of loneliness, of self-contempt, if anyone is like me, and you have learned to become jaded or cynical at everything you see, don’t you dare give up. There is hope for us: in divine grace, in loving one another, and in the Cross. This is cheesy, but things will always get better. Take heart. Have faith. Greater is He who lives in you than he who lives in the world. Find yourself in Christ.