I created this four-panel piece in the summer of 2021, about a year and a half after leaving an evangelical church that had been home to me for a decade. In the months after leaving church, with the backdrop of social upheaval that marked 2020, I faced several revelations: (1) I am wonderfully queer and nonbinary, (2) I wanted desperately to shed layers of conditioning that I had relied upon in order to “fit in” to spaces I no longer inhabited, and (3) in this unsettling time, I needed and wanted to learn how to truly love and take care of myself.
This season was full of questions — questions that often led to more questions rather than answers. I created mental and emotional space for myself by taking many solitary walks that spring and summer, and those walks inspired these four illustrated panels. As the panels progress, the foliage takes up more space: a return to the wild self that finally has the time and space to emerge.
Over two years later, I return to this piece and converse with my past self, offering some of my own responses through a set of oracle-style cards. My hope is that through these panels and cards, the viewer can orient and come back to themselves, wherever they may be in their journey, and that they find a moment of rest and self-kindness amidst the soft foliage.
“Whose presence helps you stand more confidently in your unmasked beauty?”
“Where do you need to be more patient with your growth?”
“What happens when we pay attention to these repetitive movements?”
Edited by Bianca Ng.
Header image created by Bianca Ng.