The Building Character Project – Shannon Lyons – initiating artist – Project beginning and introduction –
A few years ago I found out at the age of 52 that I am of the neurodivergent brainstyle. When I found that out, I also found out about the chameleon nature of masking and its repercussions in my life. So I dropped the “masks” like hot potatoes. It left me with a personality that didn’t know itself because it had never been given the choice to be as it was. I didn’t know how I was “supposed to be”. I decided I would only be the me I liked and could carry without shame. If I didn’t like a part either I had to learn how it had become that way and change it, or I had to learn to forgive and assist it with love.

As I did I came to understand how much our personalities truly are formed by our choices. It gave me an idea for an art project that I’d like to be collaborative, accessible and printable. The project is a take off on the paper doll kits of yesteryear. It is a simple shaped writing project. The words tell the story but are written into the “shape” of the part they represent. I wrote some pieces to start with … vision is represented in the eyes … a face, two eyes, a top hat … essentially making paper doll pieces of the choices. Body parts and then clothing, to accommodate the fundamental and the current possible personality choices. Then I though how very valuable it would be to have examples that are not my choices, the shapes of others could be represented too.

I could see in my own situation how much having suggestions I could try on and see if they matched would have helped when I didn’t know what to reach for. I wanted so badly to choose the things that would make my life happy and graceful. To do it without stress and fear, to create a game that is both new and familiar. Would you help me design the parts and pieces of personalities, the situations and choices they may dress themselves in?