Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Fractured and broken in shades of grey.
The stories are sealed, the secrets not lies.
A life hidden and changed,
kept in tidy boxes so as not to disturb
the shining image of others.

Black on red, the letters controlled.
The signs were there, sending two lives down different roads.
One life unknown, the other unseen.

Imagination and grief hold hands under the mask
until the friction chafes and burns
with the once a year flame.
The lids break open, the cracks widen.
The flames get higher, the ash deepens.

Take cover
Let the fire heal and the wounds return
to the soothing shadows.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Unapologetic Campaign

I was taking a break from doing some art research and checking out Facebook when I saw a little video. I love it! What a simple thing - making the decision to stop apologizing for every little thing that doesn't require an apology! So many women do this - apologize not only for things that aren't wrong in the first place but for their very being. Sometimes they don't actually say these words but their behavior reflects the mindset - "I'm sorry I'm taking up space" "I'm sorry for breathing the air in the room" "I'm sorry I didn't spend a fortune on the gift I gave". What's the biggie us natural mothers are sorry for? Being human and getting pregnant.

What does all this apologizing say about us in general? Why do we feel like we're not worthy to speak up or even breathe the same air everyone else does? We bend to other's will, give in without speaking up and suffer in silence. Living like this is like living a shadow life. We're here but not really. What are we really apologizing for anyway, being female? Is that it?

From the time we're little girls we're taught to please. We had to please mom and dad, please the nuns and priests, please our teachers, please our friends, please our boyfriends, please our husband, please our bosses. We grow up with this habit so now it's.... please, please, please can we have an opinion of our own? (Funny, when you say a word enough times or write it enough times it starts to look ridiculous. Is that really a word?)

As a mom you nurture. As a parent you put your child first. When you grow up pleasing everyone and you find yourself in the vulnerable position of being pregnant you fall right back into pleasing mode. You want to do what's best for your baby of course so when your parents tell you what's best and your church tells you what's best and your counselor tells you what's best you do what you're told. All we wanted to do was make everyone happy. We were so sorry for the shame we brought on our families and communities that we lost not only our children but ourselves too.

I think it's time to join Cynthia's campaign and really think about when we say sorry. Let's save the "I'm sorry's" for when we've really done something to be sorry for. Maybe by doing that we can prevent some of the "I'm sorry" inducing behavior to begin with. Hurting someone is a reason to say you're sorry. Loving someone and creating new life is not a reason to apologize. It's time to evolve beyond those who decided that it was shameful. A baby should be a celebration. Maybe someday we can get past the nonsense of worrying about whether or not a pregnant woman is wearing a ring on her finger and in turn making her feel like she has to say she's sorry. A child's life and connection to mom is far more important than that!

PS: the woman who introduced me to Cynthia's blog was Alyson Stanfield If you're an artist and don't know who she is, check out her website and books. She has great marketing info.

PPS: and, for a dear friend of mine...... apologizing because you reused a gift bag when you were thoughtful enough to give a gift to someone is just plain silly - so stop it! ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Art, Adoption and Fear

Solstice Night
colored pencil

I know the winter solstice is the one we're close to but this piece represents a summer solstice night from years ago and I'm putting it here because it reminds me of the inner work we do as artists (it also reminds me of the warmer temps - I'm not liking the freezing weather we've had in FL lately). The painting was done from a photo I took in my friends yard in Taos NM during our last meeting of The Artist's Way group.

Artist's don't get down to work until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain of not working. ~ Stephen DeStaebler

Artist's deal with insecurities all the time. First there is the fear of the blank canvas. There's the fear of putting our work out there, the fear of ridicule or rejection, the fear the gallery director isn't going to like the work, the fear the director won't even look at the work, the fear of spending resources on show entry fees and not getting into the show, the fear of not being able to sell the work, the fear of getting into shows and then not having the funds to deal with the framing, shipping and cartage fees required. Then, even after getting into a show and winning an award, there is the fear surrounding being able to produce that quality of work ever again.

Producing art, showing the work and working as an artist takes stamina, tenacity and facing fears. The basic thought behind all of this fear is "I'm not good enough". Producing art is very revealing. When we paint we put a piece of our soul on the paper or canvas. If you gave the same photo to 20 different artists and asked them to make a painting from that photo, you would have 20 different results. The subject might be the same but every artist's soul is different and the art reveals that.

For me living as an artist takes introspection, meditation and courage - a willingness to be seen. Maybe all these years of learning to be an artist has helped me in living as a natural mother from the closed adoption era. As mothers we were told we weren't good enough to raise our own children. The only reason being that we weren't married. The 2 children I did raise are proof enough that it wasn't true. Finding my worth in the art world/outside world coincided with finding my worth as a mother. I believe finding ways of dealing with fear in creativity also helped me in dealing with the grief that comes with adoption.

It's hard to face that grief. It's hard to live with it every day. It was also hard to start the search for my daughter. Some people were afraid for me. They were afraid that I would get hurt, either by what I found out or by not being able to find her at all. I was afraid too. Searching online in the reunion registries was a simple way to start so that's what I did. I spent years doing that with no success. Finally I got the courage to make the call to Catholic Charities. The pain of not knowing was far greater than the fear of what I might find. I had to know something.

A lot of life as an artist and as a natural mother is about facing fear. The latest hurdle for me was facing the fear of talking about adoption. It still comes down to overcoming the feeling of not being good enough but I'm the only one who creates that feeling so I can change it by thinking a different thought. Now putting the art out there doesn't seem nearly as difficult as it used to and talking about adoption is getting easier. Although the people who used to worry about me during the search phase are relieved, they're now worried about me talking about it. They worry that I might get sick again (last year I was dealing with the big "C" but I'm fine now) As a matter of fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the pain of decades of hidden grief was the cause of the illness to begin with. So.... no worries. Painting is fulfilling a need to create and being honest about adoption is fulfilling a need to be free. And, as facing the fears in the art world seems to have helped me in dealing with adoption, adoption has now found it's way into the art.