1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Zentangle Diva’s Challenge #194 — Embrace the Yuck Edition

by Suzanne Fluhr on November 19, 2014 · 12 comments

The Diva is still very occupied with her family and her son’s eye surgery, so her guest Diva this week was Elisa Murphy, CZT. Elisa’s challenge was to “Embrace the Yuck” — that is — do what you have to do despite whatever difficult circumstances or curve balls life throws at you. Both she and the Diva are familiar with the trials involved in raising a special needs child. I have seen one of my sisters cope with the same issue and I am consistently amazed at her capacity to be present and to advocate for my niece no matter what disasters are swirling around.

The difficult circumstance created by Elisa is that we had to do a true Zentangle, using only our non-dominant hand, in my case, my left. I almost bugged out of this one, after “secretly” trying one in pencil and being appalled at the result. However, the point is that many times, we can’t/shouldn’t just ignore the challenges with which we are presented.  To be sure, sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor (i.e. I don’t feel badly about eschewing bungy jumping opportunities), but sometimes we need to push through and adapt.

As I worked on this challenge (while on jury duty and waiting to be called—-for hours), I thought about all the people for whom having to relearn activities of daily living with their non-dominant hand is reality, not a ‘game”, especially wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I knew my discomfort would be time limited. However, I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I knew I had to face this challenge day in and day out and not just for Zentangle, but for everything! The result is pretty impressively rough, but the lesson is invaluable.

left handed zentangle

Zentangle attempted with my non-dominant hand.

The other thing that came to mind as I struggled through this exercise was that my left handed mother was forced to learn how to write with her right hand as a schoolchild during the early 1930s. At age 89, she remains one of the kindest, most generous, most patient and least judgmental people I know.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Chaney November 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I often say that I have reached an age when I know the difference between I can’t and I don’t want to. I could bungy jump too, and it’s funny because that’s even the reference I make LOL! What really impressed me about your tile is that you even added a shimmer! Amazing work for a temporary leftie 🙂


bmlilith November 19, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Very beautiful thoughts behind your work. I used to pretend I had something wrong when I was little and try doing things with my non dominant hand. My sister was forced to use her right hand as a child and ended up having two daughters that are left handed.


David Hunter November 20, 2014 at 1:23 am

I very much like your design concept. The challenge was to show solidarity for others when things go beyond control and we feel powerless. Doing the challenge sure made me feel powerless. I applaud you and everyone else who tackled this challenge. The finished Tile is what it is. The experience of creation under stress was the point of the challenge not the results. All that plus you had the stress of Jury Duty. You are a real survivor.


Annemarie November 20, 2014 at 2:17 am

Like David says, ‘it is what it is’ and, that’s OK. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


1 Art Lady Kate November 20, 2014 at 7:06 am

I think that you did very well. It certainly was a struggle it seems for us all. It certainly was uncomfortable, and hard for me. It made me think about what would happen if I was forced to have to change too.


Elisa Murphy November 20, 2014 at 9:42 am

I think your tile is wonderful. You totally got what the challenge was all about. I am so very grateful and thankful.


Suzanne Fluhr November 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Thanks for being the guest Diva, Elisa, and for your thought provoking challenge.


Maggibee November 20, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I can’t believe you chose so many difficult patterns, Suzanne. They are fabulous. there is something very taking about this, i don’t know why, like some so-called naive pieces of art that you see in modern galleries. I think you met the challenge pretty well.


Suzanne Fluhr November 20, 2014 at 6:59 pm

I think “primitive” might be a better descriptor than “naive”. I knew what I was supposed to do, I just couldn’t do it. But, the exercise was definitely worthwhile and thought provoking.


Lynell November 21, 2014 at 9:35 am

arrrgh…jury duty…one wants to do their duty, but “hours”? Had a similar experience last year, but it was “days” and with my daughter’s wedding just a couple weeks away. But I persevered because I just wanted it to be over with. But of course everything is relative and when you look at what some people have to deal with…war injuries, illnesses, stress of many types that aren’t over within a matter of a few minutes, hours or days, you start realizing that this challenge IS an exercise in “embracing the yuck”. Being more understanding…it actually made me want to do it more. I enjoy reading your ideas and experiences.


Suzanne Fluhr November 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Lynell, thanks for your comment. In my hometown, Philadelphia, in the state court system, jury duty is “one day or one trial”. The case my panel would have been assigned to eventually ended in a plea deal, so they finally let us go home. I don’t mind occasionally doing my civic duty. The whole “jury of one’s peers” things only works if all the peers are willing to participate. They told us that only 17% of people who are supposed to show up for jury duty in Philly do so—appalling. In any case, it was the perfect venue in which to “embrace the yuck”. 🙂


Lori November 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I appreciate your shared thoughts. I went through similar struggles and was grateful that I could return to righthandedness. I actually like all the tiles from this challenge because it’s easier to see the art in the tile.


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