I just found out today that my proposal for a project I had submitted about a month ago won. It’s so far outside my comfort zone and way more triggering emotionally for me than I would have imagined.
If you follow my blog or know me, you know that I lost my dad to throat cancer in June. He was diagnosed 7 years ago and went into remission. They said after 5 years he would never get it again. Then this past April it came back with a vengeance with no recourse. He passed June 7th.
The first time he was going through treatment, my parents stayed with me in KC. My dad (who was actually my step-dad but the only dad I’ve known) went through a lot and we became close during this time. I would listen to him talk about how much he hated his cancer mask. It’s a mask shaped to a patients face specifically. It’s buttoned over the face and shoulders while receiving radiation so they can’t move at all. He hated everything about it. He said it made him feel clausterphobic.
After he was released and given the good news that the cancer was gone, I came across a project from the HNC Living Foundation in Kansas City (Head and Neck Cancer). They commission artists to create a piece of artwork using the masks and then have an exhibit as a fundraiser. I had discussed it with him and he had agreed it was a great use of the masks. Life got in the way and I never applied.
About a month ago, I ran across the call again. I decided to sit down and write a proposal. It just flowed out of me along with tears. I took everything that mask represented to me and him….fear, anger, sadness, resurrection, healing, transformation, and death…and wrote a proposal. The biggest challenge I face is it’s not a painting. I will be sculpting which I’ve never done before (except for creating Halloween costumes for my son).
I found out today I won. My heart was instantly filled with excitement and joy, and then the tears started to fall. I know this will be a hard project for me; probably more emotionally than technically challenging. I look forward to it. I look forward to pouring my heart into this in honor of my dad. I look forward to dealing with the emotions as they surface, to letting the tears flow, and to figuring out how to make my idea a reality.
I won’t go into the entire proposal, but there are many layers to my piece. The mask will become a cocoon representing transformation. Inside will be a person screaming, representing anger and fear. Butterflies will be flying out representing hope and freedom.
I welcome this process. I look forward to cutting up this mask. I’m not exactly sure how I will create it yet, but I will let creativity flow through me just like it did for the proposal. I will keep you posted as I go through the process and feel my way through it.