I hear voices. Really I do. At first, I hear them as distant muffles. After a while, if I quiet my mind and pay attention, I can tell they are talking to me. If I am very, very quiet and REALLY pay attention, sometimes I can hear what they are trying to say to me. But not always – they might wait a long, long time before getting close enough for me to hear. Sometimes, I get the exact words. Or, I just get a feeling and understand who they are and what they’re like. Maybe, it’s a message they want me to pass along. These characters show up in doodles, drawings and stories. Sometimes, they end up in my books.
For instance, Bob from my picture book Bob is a Unicorn, was just a voice at first. A pleading, insistent voice begging me to tell his story. I didn’t even know who Bob actually was or what he looked like until I had worked out the whole concept of the book completely in my head.
I might see them in my head before I know their story or even their message. Their story might be years away. It can be enough that I know who they are and I understood their message for me. I might years before they allow me to understand their full message. Once I know what they look like though? I create them – usually I am compelled to create them. I make them into figurines. I didn’t even realize I had this ability until I was in my late 20’s – to see something in my head and let me fingers create it in clay. There are times I don’t even look at the clay while I am forming whomever it is I need to create. It is like my fingers just KNOW what to do. I love when that happens.
Yesterday some new characters showed up and NEEDED to be created. When this happens? I have no choice. My day has been decided. That’s just the way it is. Here are who needed to come into this world yesterday:
My Seal of Approval. She showed up one day and wanted to be a message, I think. She just goes around being quite happy with people in general, and seems only to notice the things we do right and the awesomeness we add to a day. She is quite a friendly gal to have around. I don’t think she has a book in her. Ever since creating her, she seems very content to just hang out with the others and find the positives in life.
Next are my Blue Footed Boobies. I saw my first Booby about a year ago when my friend Maggie texted me a photo of one of them. I could hardly contain my delight in knowing such creatures actually existed. And that they’re named BOOBIES?!?! Oh my goodness, my joy was limitless! I don’t for a minute thing this dancing duo is finished telling me their story. They make me smile. I don’t know their names yet, but I believe one is a boy and one is a girl. I can’t be certain yet, but eventually they will tell me more. Yesterday on Facebook they brought a smile to many, many people’s faces. And we all got to say BOOBIES and giggle like the 12 year old child that is inside all of us.
And here we have my Mustachioed Otter. He showed up the other day to tell everyone how awesome they are. He thinks he is quite awesome too. Today during the photoshoot, I realized he has quite an ego. HUGE, actually. Last night I was starting to hear what his name is. Today I am certain. This is Maurice the Mustachioed Otter. He does happen to think you are very awesome. But don’t forget to tell him how awesome HE is too. Really. Don’t forget. I have a feeling it would be bad if you don’t return his compliment.
There are three examples of exactly what goes on in my head. It’s a little crazy in there, but I have learned that if I trust these voices, they tell me truths I need and want to share. And when I am brave enough to share them without worry? I find they resonate with so many of us. It’s a scary thing to share what REALLY goes on in our heads. We may find out that people think we’re odd or strange or crazy. What I have found though, overwhelmingly, is that we’re ALL odd and strange and crazy and so when someone shows us their crazy? We breathe a giant sigh of relief and think, “Thank GOODNESS, me too! I can tell them about MY crazy, too!” And we usually find a new friend.
Being ourselves, being vulnerable, letting others see who we truly are is how we connect. How we realize we are not alone. Our uniqueness is what makes us who we are, and by sharing that? It brings us together. It’s okay to be different, okay to think differently. It’s scary to be different, I know. But when we share it, not only do we find the people who seem to be almost magically just like us, we also find the people that are different from us. Maybe as different as the sun is from the moon, but who appreciate us. I kinda think that’s what the whole point of us being here happens to be. Loving the ones like us and loving the ones nothing like us – finding the common ground.
(And of course there are those that will never, ever get us. And that’s okay too. We don’t have to all understand each other, but if we could just respect each other – though that is another post for another day.)
I better go now. There is someone telling me a story and I need to write it down. I have no idea who it is either. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it was one of the characters above? Yeah. It would be. But it is never, EVER that easy. I wish. The voices make me work so hard to figure out who they are.