My Delusional Childhood in the 80s

Image to the left: This is How I Wanted to Dress in the 80s.  Image to the right: But, This is How I Really Dressed in the 80s acrylic on canvas 24"x36" (2 panel) ©2011

Image to the left: This is How I Wanted to Dress in the 80s.
Image to the right: But, This is How I Really Dressed in the 80s
acrylic on canvas 24″x36″ (2 panel) ©2011- Not for Sale

In the beginning, I thought I was a typical child. I was full of hopes and dreams and I truly felt invincible. And then life happened…

Come to find out, I was an awkward child to say the least. I was taller & skinnier than the average bear for most of my younger years and my thick glasses did not help my cause either. Buying clothes and shoes was always an adventure and it required much compromise on my part & I often had to resort to wearing boys clothing & boys shoes.  I had lots of trouble trying to convince adults that I was not older than I appeared and I would often hear comments like “They shouldn’t let her do this Easter egg hunt with the little ones, it’s just not fair to the other children.” or “Aren’t you too old to be trick or treating?” And who can forget the kids who felt the need to constantly be pointing out what they thought were my “flaws” with colorful imagery & loving phrases like “hey Olive Oil!” “Nice coke bottle glasses!” “Long Legged Grasshopper!” “Where did you get your clown shoes!?” etc., etc., etc.

I experienced a lot of unsolicited ridicule for stuff I had no control over.  It definitely took it’s toll. It caused low self esteem issues, I felt undervalued & that I would never be “good enough”, whatever that meant? This teasing led me to avoid eye contact, I developed a serious problem with slouching so I wouldn’t appear taller than what I was, and I preferred to be a wallflower than be recognized or pointed out along with many, many, many, other repercussions…

But, somewhere along the way I realized, there wasn’t anything wrong with me, I started to embrace my quirks, feel blessed that I could reach stuff on the top shelf without a ladder or chair; grateful that with the advancement of technology I was able to wear comfortable contact lenses; overjoyed with the fact that I could walk long distances with my larger than normal feet; content in knowing that my happiness & self worth belonged to me because regardless of what anyone thought: I was, I am, and I will always be “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and so is everyone else on this planet. We all have value and worth and it breaks my heart when I hear someone devaluing or dismissing someone else because they are not “hot” or physically “attractive.” It’s amazing that so much more value is put on the beauty of the superficial as opposed to the beauty of the inner heart. A dark heart full of much judgement, ridicule, and hate is way less attractive to me than a few extra pounds, a blemish, crooked tooth, birthmark, or whatever.

When I completed the painting above, it was done with a desire to show that regardless of which type of child I was, a high fashioned trendsetter or a tall quirky kid,  that both versions of me should of been acceptable and not met with unrelenting ridicule by some of my peers. Beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes, but more importantly, it comes from within. Our differences should be embraced and celebrated so that we can be allowed to grow up in a world that empowers us all to be the best person we can be. So smile, life is good, you are beautiful, and never forget to take a deep breath and remember that you are all fearfully & wonderfully made 🙂

 

-Y

NOTE: in Sept. 2019, I got diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome. Looking back at many of my childhood stories and paintings, I realize how this genetic disorder personally impacted the narrative of my life. I’m now hoping to raise awareness of this disorder through my art, stories, and through my #MoosieContemplations instagram campaign.

If you feel inclined, please share theses stories and/or donate to my fundraising page for the upcoming #WalkForVictory on 12/7/2019 with the Marfan Foundation.

 

Are You Ready for Some Kickball?!

Are You Ready For Some Kickball?! 22″x28″ acrylic on canvas

It was roughly 1982, and I was attending Phoebe Hearst Elementary School in Metairie, LA. Our P.E. uniforms were all green, with our school logo in yellow, not the most fashionable attire, but I don’t think school uniforms ever really are.

So with my favorite pair of green tennis shoes , my sweatband in place & my jock socks pulled up all the way, I was ready for some kickball action. I was the tallest & lankiest kid in my class and I was never really good at any sports, but one sport I was pretty good at was kickball.

There were several perks about this particular sport that seemed to work in my favor such as but not limited to:

  1. The ball was big & red, which definitely was a bonus for my poor vision.
  2. Unlike other sports, it was customary for the person serving the ball to ask you “How do you want it?” My response was always the same: “Slow and Bouncy!”
  3. The 2 previous perks allowed me enough time to brace myself, prepare my ridiculously long leg to swing, and with the bounce element factored in, I was also able to time my large foot exactly where it needed to be: right under the ball as it was coming down from a bounce.

With all the above in place, I swung with all my might, sending the giant red ball farther than most anyone in my age group, but never far enough for a home run. Though I had pretty decent kicking skills, my awkward stature made me a super slow runner. Either way, at the very least, I was able to impress the masses with my kicking ability, even if it only was just for a moment 🙂

Would you like to own your very own piece of fine art that celebrates the innocence & joy of childhood? Check out my For Sale page for available works.

More NOLA…

The King Cake 11"x14" mixed media on canvas

So during Mardi Gras time, people like to celebrate with a King Cake. The general tradition is to bring a King Cake to a party & share with everyone. Inside the King Cake is a small plastic baby (a total choking hazard, but nobody seems to care) and whoever finds the baby in their piece of cake is responsible for buying the next King Cake, hence keeping the party going.

I remember being in kindergarten and being slightly scared to find the baby, but slightly excited to find it, too. Not having much money, made me wonder how we would afford a King Cake for the entire class, but to find it was like winning the lottery. 🙂

 

Beignets II 11"x14" mixed media on canvas

Then there were the beignets, which are basically French doughnuts sprinkled with 20lbs of powdered sugar. Cafe du Monde is the most popular place to get these wonderful delicacies and you always top it off with a café au lait (aka coffee with milk.) It’s really hard to eat the beignets without getting powdered sugar on your clothes, your hands, your face, or even your head. 🙂

I Remember Being Covered in Bugs…

I Remember Being Covered in Bugs

As a child, I loved to learn and explore. One of my favorite things to do was go digging in the dirt, wading in the swamps, and climbing through the trees looking for bugs or anything creepy crawly. I especially liked doodle bugs (aka rollie pollies), caterpillars, grasshoppers, worms and butterflies. Fear of bugs was not an issue, though with age I’m not as ecstatic about having one of these creatures crawling on me without prior knowledge. All of

God’s creations have always fascinated me, especially how they work together to survive and the different mechanisms that evolved so these creatures could survive in their own elements (ie a grasshoppers amazing ability to hop super long distances in comparison to it’s size, a doodle bugs ability to roll into a tiny ball of protection, a caterpillars ability to consume unbelievable amounts of food just so it can turn into a beautiful butterfly.)

I still revel in this fascination to this day. I found a huge slug on the sidewalk a few months ago and was absolutely floored by it’s size (it could easily cover the entire palm of my hand) and gooeyness, i couldn’t help but stop to observe it and then proceed to poke it gently with a stick. It’s funny how now, I can’t imagine picking up a slug with my bare hands, but as a child I wouldn’t of missed out on the opportunity…