forgery-noun
  1. the action of forging or producing a copy of a document, signature, banknote, or work of art.

Throughout my career as an artist and art teacher, I have always been better at copying art. So great at it, in fact, that my family and I joked that I should become a forger (you make great money) and I was always keen on being a spy of sorts.

Yesterday, I sat down in my studio, to paint. Trying to grasp the depths of my own soul in an artwork. What I painted was utter shit. A mandala-like flower, a woman with her hands in prayer. Lame. I teach yoga, it’s my job currently, and I it was embarrassing. I let her sit. Every time I went into that room, I was frustrated. She was ugly. Yes, the meaning was glaring, but it was not me. I have painted like this for years. Stifled reproductions of crap. Mostly, my art looked a lot like the PreK-5th grade students, sometimes, I was even ashamed by my super-talented students.

Today, as I sat on the floor in my studio, a shift happened and finally I painted my soul, my heart, and out of my SELF. I found me in the painting. It was one of the most revealing times that I have had-where my art and my soul aligned.

I have always been good at copying those around me. In middle school, moving from California to Tennessee, I had to fit in or not have friends. So I tried. Even then, I knew I was selling out. I got married to a guy that EVERYONE said was perfect for me, but I knew better. I never had liked him before, but I figured I was such a sinner that THEY must know better than me. On the honeymoon, I wanted to jump ship. It was a cruise, so I should have. Divorce happened a year and a half later.

Moving to Knoxville, I knew only my brother, so I attended church with him. Right into the singles class they placed me after my divorce. I looked around the room in awe at the people around me: bitter, angry, accusatory, telling me what to listen to, read and the hobbies to have. I tried to do that. It did not work. I left. In my job as an educator in Knoxville, many teachers were cute, embroidered handbag types, I bought one of those bags. I never use it. I left.

Forgery is alive and manifest around you. It was deep in my soul. It takes so much authenticity to hold onto the part of us that is true, real and alive. You must be brave, look at your life, all its bumps, scars, and successes and hold them close to you. Then, let go and leave many parts of you to die. This death initiates the newfound life inside, a rebirth to the true self.

There have been pockets of my identity that have come to surface over the years. A wild tribal dance here or there, a trip to a foreign country alone where I made friends on every flight and every where I went, a ‘date’ night just with myself or finally landing a tricky yoga posture. I saw glimpses of the true me hidden under the forgery that I had made.

I have been reading “Women Who Run With The Wolves,” and accredit the unearthing of this forgery to this book. I also attended a workshop this week called, “Lady Bosses” here in Knoxville, where creative souls talked about being authentic and taking care of themselves in an often predominately male dominated field. I also have been taking Buti yoga classes, prepping for my training in July. I think the combination of the study of all of these things has released the true soul inside of me.

I am grateful. The art I created today does not suck. It does not also look like a forgery.

Finally.

Can you be your authentic self, too? Are you already? What blocks you?

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