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    May 2013

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S.O.S. - Life, Myths, and Legends

Jessica Herring

S.O.S.
Life, Myths, & Legends

For whatever reason, I have long believed Prince Charming (or someone) would come along, see me, think I was worthy (of their love, attention, support, praise, whatever.) and decide to pick me! In doing so, this Knight…


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S.O.S.
Life, Myths, & Legends

For whatever reason, I have long believed Prince Charming (or someone) would come along, see me, think I was worthy (of their love, attention, support, praise, whatever.) and decide to pick me! In doing so, this Knight in Shinning Armor (whether male or female - but often male) would inevitably save me from whatever predicament I had found myself.

The problem with believing in this myth is that it tells me that only someone else can validate my self worth. It tells me that there is something is wrong with me that needs to be "fixed." And lastly, it instills the belief that only someone else can "fix" me, "save" me, because I am incapable of "saving" myself. You see the problem here? Any power that I might have as an individual, as an agent of change, is given away, completely abandoned, to an unrealistic ideal - a legendary figure who doesn't exist in this modern world. And if if such an individual existed, there is part of me that would of course resist giving in to this individual. And yet, I already have.

In order to reclaim some of this lost sense of power, and perhaps mourn the ending of a life that was never really my own, I started building boats. In short, I wanted to have a romantic funeral for myself. Much like the ancient Greeks who built pyres to celebrate the deaths of great heroes, I wanted to build boats that I would light on fire and cast out to sea - in doing so, honoring the passage of my unfulfilled dreams from one life to the next.

What I find most interesting is that, although I started making numerous boats in an effort to refine the skill I had learned five minutes before hurrying to the airport, I found that I wasn't the only one who had bought into this myth that someone else was required for my salvation. (I do not intend to get into a religious debate here, I am just making a statement. We all tend to believe that someone/something is necessary for our salvation. That thing could be faith and religion, or it could be more self-control or the ever-elusive all-mighty dollar.)

Making note of this, I started saving my boat sketches. I wanted to keep them as symbols of the humanity that exists in other people. People who, like me, may have their own tragedies they deal with on a daily basis and are not quite sure how to handle. People who, like me, mistakenly believe there is something wrong with them that must be fixed or think only someone else has this power. And people who, like me, may at times feel alone in the world as they are asking, begging, pleading, screaming, and yelling for "HELP" that no one seems to hear or notice.

The aforementioned thought sparked the project I have created below entitled "S.O.S. - Life, Myths, & Legends." It is a multimedia work in which I attempt to reclaim my own sense of power and become the hero of my own myths and legends, through the building of my own life boats. For as author Seth Godin writes in "The Icarus Deception," "Myths can be subtle and insidious. We integrate them into our culture and repeat them until they not only sound true, but are true" (75). So why not build some positive, reaffirming myths?

I have broken it down into the sections you see below. Please feel free to post any thoughts or comments you have.

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