"" bshawise: That's Me In The Corner

Monday, January 25, 2010

That's Me In The Corner

In the year Prince made famous, I worked for two amazing people/designers Nancy Skolos and Tom Wedell. They had just moved into their studio/house in the suburbs of Boston. I remember walking in and seeing iconic furniture and posters we had just studied in college. It's hands down the most unique house I've ever seen. Please click that link to see for yourself.

Tom and Nancy were professors at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and were gone a lot. I'd usually see them before they left in the morning and Nancy would leave a list of that day's projects. One of my first jobs was doing line illustrations of various chairs for a Herman Miller catalog. I spent all day "drawing" chairs. That next morning I showed Nancy what I did and she was blown away. When they took that particular job they thought it would take a couple weeks and charged Herman accordingly. So when I did it in a day, I made more money than they or any of their previous employees ever made in a single day. Her excitement was like doing a line of coke. I was instantly hooked to that rush. The rush of exceeding expectations and getting affirmation became my white whale. I needed it. My identity became wrapped up in it.

Fast forward to now. It's even worse. My name is Brad and I'm addicted to affirmation. I worship it. I want to abandon this religion but it's hard. I'm becoming painfully aware of this dysfunction and have spent serious time reflecting on it. So one last thought and I'm done rambling.

Healthy relationships require a healthy amount of affirmation. This is true right? Leah needs to be affirmed that I love her for this marriage thing to work. I'm no Dr. Drew but this seems right. So as someone who is addicted to affirmation, a relationship with an invisible God is hard. I've had some very real encounters with him. Times when I really felt like he was real. But most of the time it kind of feels like he's gone- maybe teaching design at RISD or something. So I'm unable to receive affirmation from him. Maybe it's different for you, but God doesn't leave me little notes telling me how awesome I am. But people sometimes do. And they're visible. They're here and made of skin. So I keep trying to make stuff, do stuff, produce stuff that might get their attention. If I can't get the real thing I'll take what I can get. It's like turkey bacon.

So I'm in process of losing my religion. This religion of chasing affirmation doesn't work. And neither does a religion where my relationship with God is based on what I produce. I'm 99% there in believing that he doesn't care. Grace eliminates his need to care what I can produce. Grace eliminates my ability to earn my worth and identity from him.

That'll just take the rest of my life to figure out. I am Captain Ahab trying to get my brain around the fact that Moby Dick is a mirage. I'm on a new hunt for the real thing. A detox of sorts.


Steve Fuller said...

Good thoughts.

tyler said...

That new banner is quite the chorus line.

tyler said...

g. salchow would be proud of that poster.

bshawise said...

not as proud as he'd be of that league of heroic heroes banner.