Somebody NEEDS Artsy Dinos. I underlined it twice in my RISE Conference notebook.
It was one of those AHA! moments of absolute clarity and certainty in my heart.
Let me back up a little. Artsy Dinos was about to launch within the next month or so. I was really proud of the mission of the company (“Molding creative minds and open hearts through cultural experiences”), the awesome products I created and I knew that I wanted to use the brand as a platform to spread the message of teaching children to embrace diversity and inclusion. But, I was having a hard time focusing the content I wanted to put out there. What was the core message?
And then two pivotal events occurred. The first – a highly public figure tweeted some just awful, demeaning and racist comments that every time I REALLY thought about them, I felt the wind knocked out of me. It triggered awful memories of feeling ‘other’ throughout my childhood. The time in kindergarten where an unknowing little girl told me I should put white powder on my skin to play with her… kids calling me “Gandhi dot” in elementary school (which, what does that EVEN MEAN?!)… being called “camel” in middle school and being asked if I had one hump or two? And while I realize kids have gotten picked on since the beginning of time for all kinds of reasons, these moments deeply affected my confidence and sense of belonging growing up.
The second event was attending Rachel Hollis’ RISE Conference on personal development and leadership. One of Rach’s key messages is about living into who you are and who your creator made you to be. She proposed that life happened FOR you and not TO you. Her words were motivating, inspiring and eye-opening. And then one of her guest speakers, Trent Shelton, said “Somebody NEEDS you to be you”. And it all made so much sense. Somebody NEEDS Artsy Dinos.
Artsy Dinos is MEANT to teach children to appreciate their own culture and love who they are and where they came from. While I eventually learned resilience to protect myself from the words of others, I would have rather used love of self as that shield.
Artsy Dinos is MEANT to teach a child compassion and true openness to different cultures, ideas and opportunities. Note, that I don’t say tolerance. To me, tolerance implies something you put up with, something that is “other” that you have to deal with. I want kids to truly embrace diversity in the world around them.
Artsy Dinos is MEANT to help a child find joy in the art of creation, learn how to problem solve and feel proud of themselves.
And with that, I had the focus I was missing. I hope to produce content – whether through craft kits, Instagram posts, books, blogging, etc. – that serves these purposes.
These are big, lofty ambitions, but as Brené Brown said “I’m going to live in the arena. I’m going to be brave with my life. I’m going to show up. I’m going to take chances, and if you’re brave with your life, if you choose to live in the arena, you’re going to get your ass kicked. You’re going to fall, you’re going to fail, you’re going to know heartbreak. Today, I choose courage over comfort.”