If I could make anything happen for my children (aside from the usual prayer for health and happiness) it would be to save them from the sting of rejection. There is nothing more powerful than that feeling of being lost, out of place, nowhere. It is tough to be the last one picked, to not make the team, to lose out on your first choice or to not be asked to prom. It is painful to be rejected by the boy you "loved", to find out that your best friend prefers to hang out with someone else, to receive that "skinny" envelope from your dream school.
Well, let me tell you, as an adult that thinks of herself beyond such childish feelings, rejection is still a bitter pill to swallow. Part of the expectations within the art community is to vie for memberships in cooperatives and artist associations. The application is usually a juried process where expectations are outlined and a committee decides on any acceptances. The difficult part is that expectations are subjective and committees and applicants are human. Well, I didn't fit the mold and was rejected by the very FIRST association I applied to. It was my safety school. The one that could not possibly say no. I was already an associate member and an active participant. Heck, I had even exhibited there, was a patron and knew a good portion of the members AND their work. How could I possibly be denied full membership? Here I am a REJECT! The last one picked, the girl without a prom date, no boyfriend, no best friend, no TRIBE, "always the bridesmaid and never the bride."
And so I give you BEES and FISH. Right after my recent rejection, I kept dreaming of bees and salmon. What funny imagery. Busy, industrious, purposeful, and exhausting. In my waking hours I was constantly reminded of bees and salmon. I would see this imagery all around me: window displays (photo is of a display in downtown Mystic), patterns, videos sent by friends, a new series by one of my favorite contemporary artists. There were even a couple of bees that had found refuge behind the curtains in my kitchen during a recent thunderstorm. The Universe was shouting at me!
So I looked it up. I wanted to find out what the *BUZZ* was going on! Aside from the obvious reminders of swimming against the current and purposeful structure, what did all of this mean for me? What was I being asked? What did I need to learn?
When we dream of bees it may be an indication that we are ready to communicate or a call to recognize the "treasures" that reside within us. Specifically, what ideas am I nurturing? What emotions do I "pollinate" (spread)? Am I tasting the nectar of the sweetest flowers or do I linger in the marsh of unproductive thinking? [source: www.whats-your-sign.com]
Fish can be a sign of fertility, creativity, transformation, knowledge and happiness. The Celtic symbolism for salmon refers to wisdom, inspiration, knowledge and prophecy. I understood this to mean that inspiration and creativity can be found through adversity and hard work. That "there are plenty of fish in the sea."
I learned that in order to continue finding MY voice that I have to want to communicate, I have to learn to approach what I do with love and respect, I have to decide that creation alone is it's own sweet reward and that in order to achieve all of this I need to choose a different path. Rather than rely on others to provide happiness I need to learn to become industrious, to work hard and with purpose, to achieve creativity through transformation, to gain inspiration by becoming knowledgeable about myself, about my craft. I need to be driven by instinct and trust of self rather than follow the current. Rejection still has a bitter taste and an awful sting but it is mine to learn from.
So like the bee I am making my home, looking within, making sense of the world and building it to suit my needs. Like the fish I am learning, adapting, staying strong and finding a way despite the rushing currents.
The kid in the playground will kick the hardest, the girl at the prom will dance to every song, the bridesmaid will lead the procession and the artist without her tribe will find her place among the paint.