Shadow Self Goddess Quilt
3rd Quilt in the Goddess Series
Completed August 2010
Finished Size: 65 inches square
I have battled most of my life with a horrible, soul crippling negative voice within my mind, constantly shadowing my thoughts and darkening my heart.
You might have heard this voice in your own mind before. It sounds something like "You are so stupid. Why did you say that? Everyone thinks you are dumb as a brick and just as ugly. Why do you try doing anything? You're worthless. You suck. No one likes you. No one loves you. You don't deserve to exist."
Back in February 2010, I really started thinking about this inner negative voice (INV for short). Even though I now see it for what it is, it's still sometimes hard to discern my real thoughts from the inner negativity and self hate.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this issue needed to be resolved with a quilt. I meditated for days about this oppressive weight I live with over my mind and heart and the vision for this quilt came to me.
I began working on the design in the spring of 2010. The center circle is a yin yang symbol, representing the balance of both dark and light within all life. It rests over a goddess figure, severing her heart and mind with shadow.
While I have hated my INV, I also know that it has shaped and formed me into the person I am. I would not be the same person without it. But that doesn't mean I have to continue living under such a painful, self destructive influence.
I feel the need to see this quilt, to live with it on my dining room wall every day. I know that if I see it first thing when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I see at night, maybe I will take heed to let my lighter side dominate and shine through the darkness and negativity.
As I work on Shadow Self, I have already started to chip away at the control my INV has had over my mind. It is a daily choice:
Let the negativity make me feel worthless,
or fight to see and truly believe in my own self worth.
For this quilt, I didn't rush. The design itself is very simple, but was sketched and re-sketched at the kitchen table while feeding James breakfast or dinner.
I had to take breaks on this quilt, as it hasn't always been easy to see the huge black shadow that rests over my heart and mind so clearly displayed in black and white lines. But that also let me know I was on the right track.
This quilt is dark and it's hard for me to look at because it is so true. Not all life is bright colors and butterflies. A good chunk is dark and flat and full of anger.
It's one thing to read in a self-help book "Just love yourself", it's quite another thing to learn how to do it after 23 years of doing the opposite.
So that is the reason why this quilt was made. It is a visual representation of my Shadow Self, my darkness, which will probably always shadow some part of my light.
But by seeing it every day on my dining room wall as the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night, it will be very hard to forget that every day I have a choice of how far that shadow reaches.
There's always a choice.
For the full blog posts of this quilt and each section it took to create it, please click on the links below:
The design for this quilt was very unique, and I wrote an about it in an article for Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine published in November 2010.
On the back of Shadow Self I decided to share two passages, one from a song, and the other a poem I wrote while working through the throes of my INV. Warning: the passages below may contain explicit language.
"Robot" by Miley Cyrus
All this time, I've been misled
There was nothing but cross-wires in my head
I've been taught to think that what I feel doesn't matter at all
till they say its real
I would scream, but I'm just this hollow shell
Waiting here, begging please
Set me free so I can feel
Stop trying to live my life for me
I need to breath, I'm not your robot
Stop telling me I'm a part of the big machine
I'm breaking free, can't you see
I can't love, I can't speak
Without somebody else operating me
You gave me eyes, and now I see
I'm not your robot, I'm just me.
"Shadow Self" by Leah Day
Where is the nice guy who's supposed to live inside my head?
Where is that "positive voice", that happy thought, that loving presence?
Elvis left the building long ago.
All I got is my monster mind, my monkey mind,
my deep dark cloud of nasty negativity.
Shine a little light in this prison cell, this cesspit from hell,
you might be surprised by what you see.
While I have set in the dark,
Blind, deaf, dumb, and numb,
All those hideous words and hateful phrases.
I have taken your torture, your torment, your tyranny,
I have bent to your will, whim, and slightest wish
of a shadow that does not really exist.
I have spread myself so small and thin,
so you could have half my brain and heart.
But it was never enough,
It was only just a start.
The seeds of the demon took root and grew,
and built my prison, complete with shackles and chains.
Thick are the bonds: beliefs
No more will you chain me, hang me, bind me, and blind me,
to the obvious truth
Your negativity is born from shame ans fear,
that maybe once upon a time was real,
but those days are long since past.
So you're obsolete, old news - DELETE
Get out of my head, my heart, my bed.
I'm done with this dark prison and this jail cell in my mind.
I'm breaking free from your shadow.
Don't believe it? Watch me...