Salvador Campos – Mind Your Own Business

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Salvador Campos – Ego & ID

My name is Salvador Campos. I’m a self-taught mixed media artist & poet from Chicago’s south side Bronzeville neighborhood. I heard the word mind often as a child, but usually in one context: “Mind your own business.”

I heard the phrase when an adult thought I watched people too intently; when teachers perceived my curiosity as nosiness versus learning; when I asked too many questions about what I saw or overheard. The phrase confused me. It was obviously another version of “Stop it,” but the words together didn’t make sense. Wasn’t I was supposed to use my mind to understand people and the world? Why were adults telling me not to use my mind? And most baffling—wasn’t my mind my own business?

My childhood conundrum informed my perception of what constitutes my mind and how it serves me. My mind interprets my world—what I see in objects and in what goes on around me. I eventually realized that my interpretations are unique to me and that the phrase “mind your own business” also meant what occurs in my mind is mine own alone. It was a lonely realization, but the loneliness lessened when my mind’s interpretations of the tangible world compelled me to create art. The how and why, and the process, is beyond my comprehension.

Although my mind is the incomprehensible source of my creativity and art, it’s not always a kind friend. I suffer from depression and I occasionally wonder if I’d be spared the darkness if my mind interpreted differently. But what if’s are not only futile—they undermine what makes me, me. I’ve grown comfortable with the complexity of being grateful for a mind responsible for the joy of creating art and the pain of depression.

Luckily, sometimes the things that confound us in childhood require only small adaptations to empower us as adults. The scolding “Mind your own business!” of my youth morphed into the affirmative “My mind is my own business” and it’s a business I honor through my art.

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#17 – The Mind – Contributors