Finding Joy in the Effort

When I was born my parents were in a State Supreme Court battle over the right to run a preschool that their neighbors felt was too radical. It was shortly after WWII and the good folks from the US Midwest just wanted life to go back to its quiet complacency. The school was integrated by race, war survivors, disabilities, and social status. Although the student’s parents were enthusiastic advocates for their bold new teaching techniques acquired by postwar artists and intellectuals, the stress of the legal battle was overwhelming for my parents.

I was injured during birth and born partially paralyzed. Despite their rugged schedules, my parents exercised my muscles every hour day and night. As I grew older, I was encouraged to take physical risks and push my limits. The effort was enormous for everyone. Opting out of swimming, climbing, playing, and working was not an option. My growth and potential were not to be limited. Safer options were unspeakable. I overcame my disability.

As a result, no matter what project I embarked on I found joy. It is tempting to lower the bar so we can be certain of a successful outcome. During COVID I painted and created images every day. Then I spent countless hours digitizing them and creating an e-commerce website in the hopes of helping those I know who are struggling with severe survival challenges. I have no idea if the site will be successful or if I will find the means to market it and keep creating. In essence, perhaps it does not matter.

Choose to find joy in the effort of exceeding low expectations. This is what makes life sweet for each of us.

Jinx Davis is an actress, artist, and entrepreneur. During the Covid pandemic, she created hundreds of paintings that she turned into printable art to help support the Living Arts Corporation.