A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I like to smile. I love to laugh. My nephew once out of the blue asked if he could try to describe me. I laughed and said, it depends on what you’re going to say… but he replied, “Aunt Laelia, you are fun, and happy, and nice. You really like kids movies. But then, sometimes you can be serious.”
I was honored that he thought of me in such pleasant terms. In discussing this conversation on my first ever blog post on my new artist website, I wanted to convey the importance of the Arts in my life. While I am naturally a happy person, like everyone else on the planet, I have had many reasons not to smile in my life. It is hard. Sometimes life feels like a nonstop sucker punch to the gut. The Arts for me- playing my cello, singing, dance, reading, writing, art- have been a constant thread of joy and expression since I was a child. The arts are connected to our emotions, and, I know I am not alone in experiencing this, often help us express our story. It can help us turn darkness into meaning and give sadness a beautiful voice when it would otherwise be silenced into unbearable sorrow.
As a child, I felt comforted by the delightful illustrations in my favorite books, some that I still remember vividly today. Learning new songs in choir helped me speak words I didn’t yet know how to express. Dance helped me feel connected to my own skin. If I was angry, sawing crazily with my bow on my cello was a socially acceptable catharsis. These days, all I want to do is pour myself into my creative endeavors, not only to give my voice a megaphone to shout out the hope, beauty, and downright silliness I feel inside, but also, in my colorful way, to shine light into the darkness. My desire is to speak comfort to the children of the world, the adults with a childlike hearts, and maybe even to call forth the childlike whimsy in the hearts of those who are so broken hearted, that their strength is being sapped from their bones with discouragement.
Maybe this is a grandiose goal for someone who creates collages with paper featuring animals in colorful outfits, but I am an artist. I dream big.