I tried to flip through the pages rapidly. When I came to an image that made me pause I cut it out immediately. I picked images and objects solely on impulse. After I had arranged the collage I was surprised buy the simplicity and the fact that it had become somewhat of an unintended Rorschach test. I saw my own life condensed on the paper in front of me.
At the time I made this piece my ex boyfriend and I were fighting. We had been broken up for quite some time but were trying to remain friends. Among other emotional problems he was facing depression as well. I had tried many different ways to communicate and reach out to him. However, it became clear over time that he was not willing to accept any help.
My mother would often scold me for my impatient nature but one day she remarked about how patient I had been with him over the years. I thought about it for a minute and told her that the reason I had remained so loyal was because I had known him for so long and had such a clear impression of who he was as a person. I fought for him because I could still see how a good he was. I paused for a moment and played with the edge of the table cloth at my finger tips. I added that fighting for someone for so long was hard. Watching him decline was like watching a beautiful tree rot from the inside out.
When I was flipping through the National Geographic I found a image of polar bear with blood from a fresh kill all over its mouth. I also had an old photo of my ex boyfriend making a silly face. His head fit right into the mouth of the polar bear, making it look as though he was being devoured.
Metaphysically, polar bears represent endurance and transformation through introspection and solitude; to tap into emotions with clarity. These were all things that I wished for my ex but he refused to believe that he had those problems. I felt that the polar bear was the embodiment of his karma; all of the things he would not face coming back to swallow him whole.
The woman in the black dress represents a roommate I had at the time I created this piece. She had the ability to be very smart and very strong but she often made the choice to be weak and superficial instead. She had a lot of things to take care of in her life but she focused on fashion and partying as much as she could.
The image of stone hinge at her feet represented all the knowledge and history that has come through the world before her, but she has her blinders on. She was a pillar among her friends, the one they all looked up to. She was decorated and she was beautiful but at the end of the day she was nothing more than the image she projected.
The man at the top was a reflection of myself. I thought of myself as an old-fashioned hard worker. I never pretended that I didn't have problems or try to party them away. I wanted to face my life openly and honestly and those were things that I didn't see my old roommate or my ex accomplishing. I was becoming bored and I wanted to leave them behind. I wanted to take my wings and this power and move on.
After looking at this piece for a long time and seeing all of the meaning contained in its simple images I decided to title it "Rise Above".
It is amazing how a simple collage can tell you so much about your own psyche. A visual time capsule of my life from years ago.