Thursday, September 30, 2010

Playing with Identity

My son loves to play dress-up. It is not uncommon for us to leave the house with a giraffe, pirate, or Buzz Lightyear in tow. Wherever we go, people smile as we pass, delighting in his most recent identity.

Gabe seamlessly blends his worlds too. Yesterday he sang the Star Wars theme, followed by a Dark Crystal sword fight,  and then morphed into Yoda (or has he calls him, Master Oda). Sticks become light sabers, or Yoda's walking stick, or pirate swords. When I push him on the swings, he yells out "To infinity and beyond!"

Now all of this is not just the bragging of a proud mama, I actually do have a point here! What if we could be as playful with our identities as children? As artists, as mothers, as people, what if every once in a while we could try on something new? We all get caught in our patterns, we do things the same way, we dress the same way, because that is what is comfortable. But when we get too comfortable, that's often a sign that we aren't growing, aren't pushing ourselves into new areas.

I have a very eclectic closet from years of playing in different bands. There is everything from hippie to goth in there. So a few weeks ago I dusted off my goth gear and wore it when I took Gabe to the park. It was an interesting experiment. People weren't as excited by my experiment with identity, and I certainly didn't get as many smiles as Gabe gets. In fact, I think one mom looked at me like I was about to eat her children. But it reminded me that I have at times had different roles than mommy, and that I need to keep that part of me alive.

So I'd like to put a challenge out to you to try something different this week, something outside your routine. Whether it's playing with a new camera technique, branching into a different art form, or baking something you have never tried before, just play! And if you feel inspired to, leave a comment here about how the experiment went, I would love to hear from you!

Remember, all endeavor is art when rendered with conviction!

Have a playful day!


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