This was really daunting to think about at first. Then as my mind raced from topic to topic I noticed there was a bit of continuity between my seemingly random thoughts. The common thread? Identity. This topic, so innate for so many, has been true discovery for me since I can remember. When you grow up the only little black girl in the middle of a perfectly manicured white suburb…well you can see how things could get confusing. (Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful childhood full of wonderful friends and wouldn’t change a thing.)
Flash forward twenty some odd years, and the struggle continued although it had evolved. No longer was I worried about what this group or that group thought about me and my rather fair-skinned social circle. That journey ended with a hard line in the sand – on the other side of the line was written ‘this is just who I am world so there!’. Now the struggle was on the professional end – the right to call myself an artist.
I know this must sound so very silly to many of you, but this is truly how the story goes. You see I did not study art in school, have deeply artistic parents, or dream of painting ever since I could remember. In my eyes – I had no creds! There was about a six month period after leaving Nordstrom that I would use every word in the book to describe what I do, how it works, where you can see it…but I would never just say I’m an artist. Why was it so hard?
My husband began to pick up on my evasive maneuvers and pushed me to call a spade a spade. He told me that none of my excuses mattered to anyone but me. The fact is you are an artist, there is just no way around it. From there I would literally stand in front of the mirror and make myself say ‘I am Khristian, and I am an artist.‘ I am a firm believer that saying things aloud makes them true, and has that little side effect of making you accountable! I began to make I am an artist my answer to the what do you do question.
I am sure you are wondering by now how the heck is this a story about growth! In my eyes there is no growth without identity and self-belief. Not only did my soul grow through this process, but so did the validity and quality of my work.