A tall wooden chalkboard stops me in my tracks. The letters are colorful, deeply emotional. A silent voice speaks to me loudly from the dusty text.
“Blessed are the weird people, the hippies and misfits, the artists, the gypsies & music makers, the dreamers and outsiders for they force us to see the world differently.”
I pause, absorbing the words, allowing their collective meaning to filter through me. I know these people. These are my family and friends. Often considered outliers, they disproportionately occupy a valuable place in my life. They are the riches of my life.
As the words settle, my mind continues to churn over those in my life who make our world so interesting. My reward is to allow them to change me.
An hour later, I find myself being changed again.
I’m standing in a small shop. The location is modest, the exterior similar. Inside, however, a powerful force is chasing and changing the world.
One foot inside and I feel as if I’m stepping into another world. In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, a young woman is pouring out a soul so true you can’t help but find yourself being pulled into her world by the gravitational energy of her personality.
A large tattoo colorfully occupies her left shoulder. Junkyard Gypsy, the words call.
In a world filled with retail themes and carefully staged merchandise, I’m a galaxy away. The eclectic collection of clothing, artwork and other items is as unique as the DNA of the blood running through her body. This is not a fashion play, but rather a genuine expression of her soul.
She is loud, confident. Her voice carries and fills the room as she shares her world with others who’ve unknowingly stepped into it.
Her makeup is bold and creative. Long lines of black mascara leave the safe confines of her eyes, sweeping up toward her eyebrows. Her clothes drape, her jewelry is gathered like a collection of old and new friends. There is a rare honesty in how genuine, how real she is to her soul. She’s not dressing for anyone but herself.
We visit for a few minutes. She, much like her tattoo, is a gypsy of sorts. Coming to Texas from California, she’s excited to be in this new world, cutting her own pathway.
I watch her wrap a package for a customer. Brown paper is kept in place by simple brown twine. A beautiful peacock feather is tucked between each to add a touch of magic to the experience.
We visit a few minutes more. This woman is an artist. Her canvas is her shop. You can’t help but be infected by the unique way she sees the world as well as the terms she shares with her universe.
She is who she is. Will always be. True individuality is not a fad, a fashion. An artist is someone who is forever clawing their way out of their skin, growing more confident and fearless in the face of a world attempting to push them aside. And in doing so, these people change the world for the better for the rest of us.