Secret Message Society - June Centerfold

Cynthia is a dear online connection. When I went through the massive Facebook Friend cleanse of 2012, mainly because I was doing a lot of thrashing and I felt highly vulnerable and exposed, Cynthia made the cut.

We've never met in person, but through her own writing and art and living out loud I felt at ease with her. She was asking a lot of hard questions too, and I liked that. My goal on Facebook was to whittle it down to just a handful of people so that Thanksgiving day, I could write each and every one of my Facebook friends a meaningful note on their public wall. I was at a time in my life when I wanted to feel safe and know that my madness was being applauded. This meant tightening my social circle.

After that Facebook love note Cynthia wrote a beautiful note in response and we both dug in a little deeper with each other. I was invited to do an interview on her website. She wrote an #IAmThrashing post on my mine.  

I greatly appreciate and am inspired by Cynthia's unkempt rawness. It makes me feel welcome and uninhibited in her presence. My messy is invited in her spaces. She pushes limits and questions protocol and dares to rattle cages if necessary to be herself.

Back at the beginning of this year Cynthia decided June would be her centerfold month. She felt that it would be a highly significant time because June 6 she was turning 50. When June actually did make its debut Cynthia not only found herself marking a pivotal birthday, but was freshly experiencing the mixed feels of watching her mom "complete her journey home." Indeed Cynthia intuited something about the month of June, and now that it is upon us, I feel that there is power infused between the pages of this Zine. I can't wait for members to see the centerfold of June's zine. She let it rip! 

Cynthia, this June is for you. 





Cynthia Lee



Secret mutant power: 

I see locked cages and rattle them until the gates fall open. 

Current art medium/creative endeavor I am exploring: 

As a juxtaposition to the freedom-seeking wild spirit, I am exploring the expansiveness of boundaries and limitations.

Beginning with saying no, hitting pause, drawing lines in the sand, I am challenging the universe to show me just how much more less can be. 

A Secret Message I found in the last week: 

on the morning that my mother would enter hospice care, I had breakfast with my brother. When I went to the restroom, this is how the women's restroom was marked:

I immediately knew that this was the message that I would have wonder woman powers to see me through the next season. 

A stranger I interacted with recently: 

This is the most difficult question to answer.

I am a bit of a recluse and I rarely interact with strangers or maybe I just don't look at people as strangers. However, walking through releasing my mother to her life on the other side of death had me surrounded by strangers who were helping me, who were seeking the right words, who had their own work to do. I don't even really have words to attach to them because I am still in the roaring tunnel of absence. I am grateful for their attempts but when someone offers me their condolences, I don't know what to say. Thank you? That seems inadequate. There are lessons here about death and living. 

A word that means a lot to me right now:


When I don’t feel like my art matters I tell myself: 

I am not trying to change the world. I am merely trying to tell my story.

I refuse to die with this story still locked inside of me. Whether it matters or not, I still have to paint, to write, to create. In the end, art heals me and somehow, this matters to more than just me.  

I knew I was an artist when: 

In 2007 when an artist friend told me that there was something within me that needed to be released.

She sat me in the corner of a room with paint cans in front of me and told me to choose the colors that I loved, that spoke to me. I huddled there, sobbing, feeling like I wanted to run, to vomit, shaking. Finally, I took a deep breath, chose my colors, picked up my brush and with that first paint stroke, I was a goner. I fell in love with the process of discovering myself as an artist.

A rule I like to break: 

Any rule that says I can't. I guess that would be any rule. LOL!
I especially reject outright the notion that I am too old to do something that I want to do. 

This is what the Secret Message Society means to me:

It is a magical mystery tour of kindreds, the one place, space, that welcomes the weird ones like me. They speak my language here. Quite simple, these are my people. 

Here is something I created that I want to share with you:

This is a charcoal drawing I made a few months ago.

I had avoided charcoals up until that point, not wanting to attempt something new, choosing to stay inside my safe knowing. I immediately loved working with this medium but haven't picked the charcoals up since then. I am sharing this with you as a reminder to myself (and to you) to try new things, to enjoy the process of playing for the first time, and to return to what feels good and right. 

If we meet on the street we’ll know each other as undercover artists by:

paint speckled skin, rainbow freckles
eyes casting glances taking in the patterns, the light, the darkness
lips whispering secret passwords of truth

Cynthia Lee has released herself into the wild where she is recovering her natural instincts, her intuitive wisdom. She lives her uncaged life as a wife, mother of many, mi mi of two, artist, lifelong learner in the upstate of South Carolina. She rattles the cage  at

Each month I am featuring one Secret Message Society Member, both in the Zine and on my blog. I want you to see some of the creative ways these artists think, explore, live. When you open the Zine to the middle you will see an enticing double page spread designed by the centerfold artist. There will be a companion post here on my blog where I ask them a Lucky 13 questions. Want to join this grassroots movement of artists? We are actively collecting, creating and inviting Secret Messages into our life and we'd love for you to join us! You can subscribe here and/or get more details.