Courage. Friendship. Love. Knowledge. Reliability. Sincerity. Hope. Kindness*.

This was definitely a fun project to create–especially when the world seemed to have turned upside down. [Skip this next paragraph if you don’t want to realize how much of a nerd I am.]

This idea stemmed from an animated series known as Digimon. I’m a dork, right? Anyway, 8 children, known as the Digidestined, get sucked up into this digital world inhabited by cute little monsters, Digimon. They each have their own partner Digimon as well as a respective ‘crest’ that symbolized one of the virtues above. And when the child displayed a feat of that virtue, this would allow their partner to digivolve and become stronger. Along with those crests, there was a general element associated with the attacks of the Digimon. So easy enough, that laid the foundation for the project.

Now, I’m gonna break down each piece and discuss how each one is important in today’s world.

Courage, the flame that burns in the face of fear. This one was a favorite of mine. We all need courage right now. The courage to act and protect our loved ones. The courage to speak out against injustices. The courage to listen to the pain of others. Right now, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong if someone says ‘the wrong thing’. So, the first reaction would be not to say or ask anything at all. This is my personal opinion, but say it. Nine out of the ten times, because you had that initial hesitation, I’m sure that person you’d like to say your thoughts to will understand. If it’s at all insensitive or wrong, that person will gladly and understandingly let you know how to communicate it next time. If they act out of anger, leave the situation. Intent is very clear nowadays, and if your intent is to be supportive and to learn, you’ll be okay. Help that little flame in your heart grow and grow until you realize you are force to be reckoned with.

Friendship, the snow that makes a great snowball. Originally, I was thinking of ice and cold–not the most uplifting element. Out of the blue, I remembered snow, the beautiful white magic that falls from the sky that can make every kid so happy–especially on a school day. So stay with me now. In order to make a snowball, you want that white fully snow, not that ice hard stuff or snow that’s too wet that it’s basically slush. Remember to check-in with your friends, hop on a video chat, do virtual game nights or have paint parties! In order to have great friends, you want those friends who you mesh well with–the ones who support you, tell it how it is, help you grow into a bigger and better snowball. And vice versa. With so much fear and chaos happening in the world, quarantine and social distancing can feel almost unbearable to go at alone. Be that snow that helps make an epic snowball fight.

Love, the breeze that you can’t see, but you can feel. Have you ever seen ‘A Walk to Remember’? If you haven’t, stop reading this and watch it now–or read the original book version by Nicholas Sparks. Oh, and you’re welcome. Well, this is inspired by a quote from it. And that’s honestly how I picture love. You can just feel it on your skin, but you can’t see it. It’s that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that if something bad were to happen, you have an amazeballs support system. That’s what the world needs more of. Can we see more of that in the news instead of hatred and anger? Yes, anger is an emotion that people need to feel, but good and healthy anger should be fueled by love and passion. Not fueled by revenge and hate. Can we learn to be angry and not have death be an option?

Knowledge, the spark that is shared, not stolen. Knowing and keeping up to date with the world right now is so important! What’s even more important? Learning from the correct sources. That does not include every Facebook post you see. I recently shared this post below on Facebook, and it’s true. Most social media posts I’ve been seeing just feel like more ways to completely divide our country. What ever happened to ‘Stronger Together” and “Together We Stand”? And people are just adding to the fire. I’m not saying do nothing or say nothing. What I’m saying is do your research with valid sources. Take the time to write opinions based on objectivity, and not political views. Stop generalizing groups of people. Instead of driving people down and canceling them, help them become better people. Stop immediately sharing posts without reading them fully and checking their sources. In a world where knowledge is easily shared, let’s spread accurate and helpful information.

Reliability, the wave that carries you through. What does it take to be reliable? Show. Up. Every. Time. Just like how waves will always keep coming, no matter what. I initially struggled with this when all of these riots and protests started. I didn’t know how to help, and I was basically sitting with a cloud of distress over me. Do I need to go out to these protests? Do I need to be yelling at people? Do I need to be donating every little penny I have? Do I ask my friends if they need support or help? My simple answer that a friend helped me with was, “Do your best and just show up.” Everyone can help in their own way. We all have our own talents, strengths, and weaknesses. No one is expecting everything from you. Side note, if they expect everything from you, they should probably check themselves. If you’re financially stable, I suggest donating to a good cause. If you’re you’re able and willing to put yourself out there, go to a protest. If you’re an artist like me, make art. Just help. Help move this world in a good direction. Keep moving and pushing through, helping your black friends along the way.

Sincerity, the flower that blooms in your heart. Speak your truth. Don’t be stupid with your words, but don’t hide your true feelings. We’re living in a time where lies can destroy someone. Do yourself a favor and be your authentic self with no secrets. If you’re about to do something sketchy, do some self-reflection and think, “Do I ever want to chance this ever being released to anyone and everyone?” If you have no issues, go for it! Bloom, thrive, and lay those ‘thought seeds’ in the world! I can’t say that your choices won’t be disagreed with by others, but at least you can 100% stand behind your actions and words–and share your view point of topics that someone may have never even considered. But once again, don’t be stupid and act and speak recklessly. Choose your words and actions wisely–they both hold a lot of power.

Hope, the foundation that builds our future. I thrive on hope. We need to be able to look towards a brighter future. So, my request is, “Please, don’t give up.” Don’t give up and fall into anger, sadness, or old ways. Keep improving. Keep fighting the good fight. Don’t add more destruction into this world with hurtful and harmful acts. Let’s continue building our future by helping others, improving yourself, and watching over our loved ones, especially the kiddos. I’m not an architect or anything, but I’ve won a bunch ‘Building towers out of pasta noodles to balance a marshmallow’ challenges. Without a good foundation, any structure will fall easily–from experience of my towers falling with a simple tap. And a good foundation is built with hope that we can continue to grow, respect for one another, and a good plan.

Kindness, the light that shines in the darkness. One of my favorite quotes is “In a world where you can be anything, be kind,” said by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Seriously, be kind to one another. Don’t just be ‘nice’. Nice is basically an act that is accepted by society. Kindness comes from a place of genuine concern and caring. With every dark situation, there is ALWAYS a kind choice. Is it always the easiest? No. On one hand we can easily let darkness overcome our hearts and we can react destructively. On the other, we can fight to choose to let light within our hearts and show kindness to our loved ones, but more importantly our enemies. Enemies generally react out of anger and revenge, and that fight will build if they sense opposition. Guess what! Kindness is not made up of even one ounce of aggression. So, what will they have if we don’t give that to them? Kindness. So let’s say that again. Be kind to one another.

And there you have it. My thoughts. My feelings. My plead with the world right now.

Comment below or message me if you share any of my view points! OR if you disagree, I’m open to conversation!

Would you want to see these as prints on Bowtie and Brush? Let me know!

*For those Digimon fans out there: Yes, I know that Kindness is not Kari’s crest. But I wanted to use Light as the element. So I went with Ken’s crest. Sue me.