Sunday, August 29, 2010
Calling Forth the Boogeyman
I thought this was a particularly good subject as we have been talking about dealing with our inner demons on our Yahoo group.
One day I got to thinking about "the boogieman," something we all can relate to, I am sure. I was thinking how, as a child, suddenly it was like we would get a bite in our butts or some crazy thing like that, and we would start looking in our closets and under our beds for the boogieman before we would go to sleep. Oh the fear - the tingling, creepy fear. And yet, again and again, we would call forth the boogieman before drifting off to sleep. Was he there? (And notice that it always a "he." whether you were a girl or a boy.) And if he was, what on earth would we do to make him go away, or perhaps to protect ourselves? And yet, in the final analysis, it wasn't about any of that stuff. It was just about making sure he wasn't there. And yet, there were as many, if not even more nights when we didn't even think about the boogieman. We climbed into our beds, pulled up the covers over our shoulders and went off to dreamland, a place where the boogieman never showed up.
I think perhaps the boogieman was our way of empowering ourselves with things in our lives over which we had little or no control. We were the ones who "called out" the boogiemen, and we were the ones who assured ourselves that there were no boogiemen to harm us. Each time we didn't find the boogieman, we grew more and more confident when we went to sleep until one day we stopped looking for the boogieman anymore. I can't even remember the last time I looked in all seriousness for the boogieman.
Interesting how in our adult lives, we stop calling forth the boogieman, but instead we call forth our inner demons. No more do we look under our beds and in the closets. Little by little, we call out the demons to view our creative work and to tell us how truly lame or otherwise terrible it is. We subject ourselves to endless fears and insecurities about what we do until I honestly think the boogieman would be a welcome relief.
Is it any wonder we get depressed when the boogieman no longer is confined to just beneath the bed and in the closet, but fills our everywhere and with not just one,but many demons? And the worst thing is that the demons are difficult to fight because they are so shapeless and nameless. ":He who shall not be named . . ." comes to mind directly from the Harry Potter stories.
Try to remember how you put your boogieman away eventually because you outgrew him. You no longer needed him to empower you. Perhaps the demons are there too so that we can empower ourselves once again as adults who are creative.We really know how to do it. Sometimes we just have to remember. And we have to be willing, like and his friends, to do battle with them. As my friend Spencer used to always say to me, "Good night, sleep tight. Wake up bright in the morning light and do what's right with all your might." Sometimes we might not have a lot of might to fight with, but we need to remember most of all not to give up in the presence of the demons. They may seem more powerful than we are, but we have something they don't on our sides, and that is our enduring faith that something we are doing is right, and something they are doing is very, very wrong.They will never be as powerful as us because they cannot be named, and we have been named. Without a name, you are nothing but a shapeless form without meaning, so whatever meaning those demons have is meaning we are choosing to give them.
For those of you who are fighting your inner demons, I hope that you will not only begin to see the demons for what they are, but to realize that you can dismiss them just as you called them forth. You might even want to make some art of all the demons who haunt your creativity as I have done with mine. Sometimes giving them an actual persona can show you just how silly they really are and when you hang them where you can see them, you can deal with them more easily.
The little demons on this page are Boobalala and Zombie Lambada Man, some of my own little artsie demons. Boobalala was made by painting part of my anatomy and then pressing it to cloth in one of those primitive women's ceremonial experiments artists sometimes do. He is actually the last remnant of the piece I created. Another part became a great flower in a small quilt called My Garden of Earthly Delights. That piece had a frog sitting next to the flower, and the piece went to raise money for Art for Autism. Zombie Lambada Man and his dog are actually a textile collage. He was part of an art trading exchange, and he got lost in the mail on his way to his destination, and likely ended up in the home of someone else, hopefully of someone who had his or her own demons to fight. I made a second one to send and it arrived, but I never make two of anything alike. There is, and always will be, for me, only one Zombie Lambada Man.