Saturday, August 18, 2012
The Mending Project is an installation and performance art piece by artist Beili Liu. I discovered this project from a website called This is Colossal. It's an amazing website that offers the most creative, unusual, artistic, outrageous and ingenious work out there. It's become one of my favorite places to visit and share. In perusing the site today I came across Beili Liu's performance piece and was struck by a connection I felt with her work and with the work that I do relating to adoption.
If you go to the post about her project you'll see a video where she talks about her piece and what it means. She talks about difficult situations in life, fears we encounter and uncertainty in the society we live in. Traditionally, mending and sewing has been considered women's work and the mending that she's doing is about making something better, "bringing something smaller together to form something larger". When we face difficulty, she says... "The best thing we can do perhaps is something very simple and if we can do it with persistence and calmness, some change can happen." That is the line that resonated for me.
What we do is women's work. No one else can speak to what we've been through. Only women give birth, only women share their bodies with another human being and know what it feels like to feel another person move and grow within them. Only women know what it is to be connected to another human on a cellular level. Only women know the kind of primal grief that there is to experience when she loses the small being that she nurtured in her body. The pain of loss happens whether it's the pain of a miscarriage or the pain of losing a child to adoption. As women we feel this pain. It's a deep and cutting pain.
What do we do with it then? In some cases we spend years grieving. We deal with it in the quiet moments. We try to maintain a semblance of order. We focus on the outward things, the things that seem to matter. We hide. We pretend. We put on a brave face. We lie. We say that we're okay. Are we really? No, of course not. There is no "OK" in the world of losing our children.
What struck me with this artist's work is the idea of keeping it simple and proceeding with persistence and calmness. There's something to be said for the idea of making change happen in the slow and steady work of getting the word out there, moving forward with the slow and steady work of continuing the Silent Voices series. It's important that we continue with the slow and steady work of contacting advertisers about the horrendous show "I'm Having Their Baby". It's crucial that we continue to talk about what adoption did to us and what adoption did to our children. We have to keep letting people know that it's not all rainbows and sunshine, that there is real damage done in the world of infant adoption. We have to tell people about the corruption, greed, selfishness and profit that continues to separate mothers and their babies.
It's slow and steady work. It's many small gestures, many small comments. It's persistence. It's staying calm in spite of the fear. It's remaining cool in spite of the heat of battle. It's holding back the tears in spite of the choke hold they have on you. It's staying calm in spite of the rage you feel - the rage of being taken advantage of, the rage of being used as a vessel for someone else's wants, the rage of being used for someone else's monetary gain.
We take small steps. We must be tenacious. All these small steps will lead to something larger. They will lead to change and something better. We have to keep on talking about what we've been through. We have to keep on pushing. It's only through the recognition of the past that we can make the future better.