We live with expectations all the time. What people expect of us at work, in our families and from our friendships has a lot do with how we run our lives. We're taught to behave a certain way so that we fit seamlessly into society. As children certain conduct was expected of us and of course that makes sense. I know what it's like to be out in a store or restaurant and be around children who aren't taught to behave - the kids are having fun but the adults around them are swearing a blue streak under their breath!
I appreciate the standards we set for ourselves, we need rules and we need to raise our children with rules for them to follow but....... where do we draw the line and when do we say - I don't think so, I'm going my way and making up my own mind? Sometimes we need to take a look at what we believe and the rules we follow and see if it's really in our best interest to keep believing and keep following. A re-evaluation of our values can be a good thing.
The painting above is about being caught in the web of the rules of religion. The white lilies are the girls like me - unmarried and pregnant, the girls who were expected to remain virginal until they began their lives of wedded bliss (I'd like to know who coined that term) no matter the age. The background shapes aren't legible here but they're bible pages. The web itself is done in gold leaf. Isn't religion many times wrapped in opulence? Religious organizations are very involved in the adoption process. Catholic Social Services facilitated my daughter's adoption. Did they do what was right? NO. Because of this connection, this was the first painting I did in the series.
As humans we want to be part of the crowd and fit in but sometimes we need someone to be bold, say no I'm not doing it that way and maybe wake everyone else up from the herd mentality. Surely, out of all those people involved in the cruel treatment of mothers and children over the decades, someone had a gut feeling or a thought as they were going to sleep at night that what they were doing in adoption was wrong. Surely, there was a family member who had the thought.... the hell with what society or the neighbors think, that baby needs to stay with us. We'll help take care of her. I know I wanted to tell everyone to just stick it, I'm keeping my baby, but I was too scared. Is that what happened? Was everyone too afraid to speak up?
Maybe if a few people had spoken up and said - hey! that's wrong, you can't just keep babies and mothers apart, you can't take that infant from it's mother right there in the delivery room, things could've been different. Maybe if people speak up now, things can be different.
One of my favorite new words is "unchurched" thanks to my friend Robin. It's a good word for how I think of myself. I've been unchurched for a very long time. For me it began when I was a senior in high school but it really took root after my daughter was born. No longer was I going to follow man's rules about morality and to me that's what religion is, a collection of man's rules put in place to control people. If there is a god, he/she/it is probably wondering why more people don't stand up for what's right. (I know the question is going to be... how do you know what's right without religion? I believe we all have an internal compass that if listened to we know what is harmful to ourselves and others and if we pay attention to that our conscience guides us) I don't think any organization has the corner on the market when it comes to morality and ethics, that's been proven time and time again in the news.
When it comes to this issue, deep down in our hearts most of us know that mothers and babies belong together and shouldn't be separated for any reason other than neglect or abuse. At least that's my hope. The Beatles had it right... all you need is love..... and compassion.... and empathy.