On Display Collab, February 2000.
"Influences"

I was climbing into bed last night, half thinking about possible things to write about for this collab, and was almost asleep when "Song for Sharon" by Joni Mitchell started playing in my head. The song is about a woman whose life is influenced by love, so much so that often it's all she focuses on, even though there are obvious more pressing and important things in her life. And the more I thought about it, the more I related to that situation.

Love, and to a lesser extent, love, has been such a huge influence, both for inspiration for my art and also for making major decisions in my life. Throughout my middle and high school years, crushes on boys had driven me to despair, and in turn, to one art form or another. The reason I started keeping a journal near the end of 1994 was to confess my love for my crush of the moment. And of course, I have pages and pages of really bad, tortured teenage poetry. I mostly turned to the writing medium to get out my feelings for guys, although I did my share of banging on the piano in frustration and throwing clay around to ease my state of mind.

I remember how I would get a crush on a boy, and I would pine after him for days, weeks, months and even years. I went so far as to rearrange my schedule for him, passing by the classrooms he was in, joining the extracurricular activities he participated in, try to do the things he was interested in. That particular boy was the center of my existence for a certain amount of time, then he would drop away suddenly when I would find another object of affection. I was as intense about my relationships as I am now, only it was entirely in my own head, because I never ever made any moves on the guys I liked. My journals are evidence of this: I would report on every move my crush made, everything he said to me, all my feelings. It would get to the point that this crush, this person (who in most cases I barely knew because I was too afraid to talk to him) became the biggest mover and influence in my teenage life.

As for why I pursued guys so doggedly, I can only guess. I think it was less for physical gratification, because, although my hormones were raging, that wasn't the most important thing to me. I so badly (and still do) want to be loved and cared for. To be special to one person, and for them to appreciate me, and who I am, and all the other stuff that comes along with it. That, for me, still preceded in importance any physical relationship I would have with a person.

I don't know if I should even be writing about this, because I am no authority on love, since I've never been in love. Well, maybe I should rephrase that. I've never been in a long term, monogamous, romantic, sexual relationship. But I think I have been in love. When you say love, people tend to think romantic love, the candy and flowers type thing. That's so limited. There are so many kinds of love, there are infinite possibilities.

One of our in-class assignments for 2d last week was to make a valentine, on the fly, with the materials Rebecca, the prof, provided. She wanted it to express some kind of love, and for us to use color to do that. I chose these deep, bold hues for my valentine. I guess that's the kind of love I was trying to express...something deep, beautiful and ever changing. I'm amazed at how my love for a person can change. Every minute, every day, it shifts, the colors and shapes change, and I love that person more and in a different way. That metamorphosis is something so incredibly wonderful, I don't ever want it to stop.

I said "I love you" to someone tonight for the first time. I lay on my bed for about 10 minutes, unable to move, paralyzed somehow, by either the wonder or the fear of it, I'm not sure which. But I knew things had shifted, my feelings had changed color and shape, and I was so amazed and grateful for that.