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Color as Medicine in Times of Darkness

Yesterday we lost one of the brightest lights our nation has ever known, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She lived her life in service, for her family, for our nation, and for equal rights. I have so much admiration and gratitude for this amazing woman. Her courage and determination never wavered. She showed us that each and every small step can truly make a difference if we stand steadfast in the light of truth.

As I mourned the passing of this iconic leader, I also found myself overcome with fear. I fear for the future of women’s rights, the future of racial justice, the future of our country. The news of the day quickly turned to another political battle and I found myself consumed by darkness. Not knowing what to do, I reached for my embroidery.

I’ve been learning the art and history of Otomi Tenangos. The characteristic design elements of this tradition of embroidery include vibrant colors and a play between positive and negative space. As someone who naturally leans towards the colors of plant dyes and earth tones, I find I have to push myself to embrace these bright contrasting colors. I have been pondering these questions: Why am I so drawn to this work? Why now?

I think these bright colors have become like a medicine to my soul. Our world feels so full of darkness these days; the pandemic, racial violence, nasty political battles, wildfires ravaging the land. In some way it feels like these vibrant colors are a symbol of hope, hope for a brighter light to shine, hope for a vibrant healthy future for humanity. Every day we see the war between positive and negative forces playing out in so many ways. And lately, I worry that the negative just might win. But when I sink into my Otomi embroidery, I feel a glimmer of hope wash over me. The bright vibrant colors in the positive space DO WIN over the negative.

Just as Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived her life, step by step, moving forward with steadfast courage towards the goal of goodness and truth, so too can we live our lives. Stitch by stitch, one thread at a time, one day at a time, one child at a time, we can move forward with a bright light of positive strength shining on. May the courageous, vibrant light of RBG continue to grow and shine in us all.

Note: These are my personal opinions. I realize they may not reflect the opinions of all and I certainly do not wish to offend or alienate anyone. Just wanted to share an honest experience.

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Oct 08, 2020

Phew! I'm just starting my otomi-inspired piece, and thinking of balancing light and dark, color and negative space, and more .. ...

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