Here’s a secret: Dei and I aren’t actually cousins - at least not by blood. We met when I was 4 months pregnant back in 2008. I asked around for a photographer and her cousin introduced us. During our shoot, we realize we had a huge amount in common, from both of us being September Virgos to photography to creativity. “We’re cousins now”, I remember saying awkwardly and she didn’t laugh me off. Years later after losing touch for a bit, we’ve become family. Deidra Johnson is an author, illustrator, artisan, photographer, wife and mother.
Join in as two Virgos chat about things.
1. What does it feel like birthing something from your brain, through your hands and into reality? Share with us your creative process.
Like magic. I literally get a thought...almost like a vision. It could be an illustration, a sculpture, content for a book. Most times I’m left in awe because I can’t believe the thought has come to fruition. And then I pick it apart to see how I could have done better!
2. What does quiet sound like?
Sometimes quiet sounds like the inside of my car in between the noise of work and home. Other times it sounds like pen to paper, and it feels like breathing.
3. What’s something you wish more people understood about you?
That I don’t have it all together. That a lot of what I create is created out of and because of chaos, (not entirely out of ambition) and it’s necessary for my survival.
4. You reach into a bag full of possibilities. What do you hope to pull out and why?
Courage. Because a lot of what holds me back is fear. Courage would make all of my things possible on so many levels.
5. In what ways do you see yourself in your children?
This question made me smile. In Josiah, he is wise beyond his years, empathetic, and overall so much bigger than he gives himself credit for. He also lives in his head...that is all me.
In David, he is sweet and caring. He will do most anything for anyone, and he likes to cook and read.
In Noah, he has taken on my love of art, and he has been bitten by the bug of perfectionism.
Ava is my alter ego and who I used to be all at the same time. She is all the things I want to pull out of myself and everything I wish I was at this moment. She knows exactly what she wants, and she is spunky and sassy and has also inherited my love to create.
6. Tell us the topic of your TEDTalk and why you would choose that topic?
Surviving Motherhood. It is everything I prayed for....and everything no one ever mentioned (I’m sure out of fear that if told you’d be in it alone!)
I think it’s important that moms remember who they were before they were parents and continue to be that. Also, that it’s okay not to love every moment of being a mother and be able to say that as rewarding as it is, sometimes this shit sucks in the best way possible!
7. What are you working on that the world should know about?
I have some children’s books in the works that makes my heart full to think about. I have been sitting on them for quite some time. Remember I have crippling fear to conquer!
Outside of that, I have a hand-lettered self care journal titled, Give Yourself Grace, that happens to be a work of my heart making its way into the universe very soon!