Heading into week 12 at El Camino College, I am feeling quite excited about my growth and progress. However, I no longer look at art as if it were a god. I know people who have sacrificed everything on the altar of this god and, while it seemed cool and “dedicated” to me at first, I have begun to realize how sick it is.
There is nothing on this earth I want to do more than make my art. However, it is not a god to me. I also care about and respect people – more than inanimate art. I prioritize time with the people I love and respect – even though there is always something I could be working on.
My hero project in Sculpture has really got me thinking about who and what I truly admire. What is a hero, after all? Is a hero a hero just because of his or her resume of accomplishments? Or is a hero more than that? I guess everyone would have a different answer, but, for me, a hero is rare and more valuable than any amount of money or fame.
A hero is a man who stays loyal to his wife even though he could have any woman he wants. A hero is a woman who works tirelessly for her children’s welfare, even if it means her needs may have to wait. A hero loves without condition and gives without reservation. A hero knows that the life we live on this planet is not our only Life. Life on this planet is a dream that passes away in the blink of an eye. The only thing that remains is the love, the tangible evidence of love, that we leave behind.
I have spent the majority of my weekend working on my Hero project. The heroes I chose to sculpt are Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Oprah Winfrey. They are not my heroes because they were famous or wealthy or accomplished in their professions. I chose them because they gave their lives to something bigger than themselves. Each was humble yet excellent; smart yet compassionate; funny yet not mean-spirited; willing to stand up for their beliefs with or without support.
In a world full of selfish, egotistical people who treat others as accessories – things to use and discard – heroes provide the motivation I need to do my best. Whenever I feel mentally and spiritually alone, I am reminded that the world is full of heroes. We may not know all of their names. They may not be rich or famous or popular. But their presence keeps the earth on its axis and holds off the onslaught of hell.
While most of the world obsesses over the daily events of the “beautiful people”, the truly Beautiful are going about their business, being a beneficial presence on the planet. These people, famous or not, are my role models, my mentors, and my heroes. They remind me of what really matters to me; they keep me on track.
If you have a hero in your own life, make sure they know it.
Now, go follow your bliss…