Yearning for More

Drifting in a boat without oars…searching for someplace to place my feet.

The small dry space around me is complacent but the vastness of the ocean yearns for more…

So I dive in.

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We Are All a Part of the Solution

When I was 17 I dated someone who identified himself as a skin head. At the time I had no idea what that meant.

I met him at a ralley to support the troops. I believe that is what it was called. His father was very forward and loud, and he was more quiet and…I guess seemed kind.

We dated for about eight months and during that time I spent many afternoons in the basement of his family’s house. His older brother was obviously abusive to his current girlfriend and his mother was a shell of a woman who was emotionally, and probably physically abused. I only heard the sounds of his brother’s abuse as his girlfriend was shoved against walls or God knows what else…unfortunately, at 17 I felt I had no place to make any comment on other people’s life choices and predicaments. I feel shameful for that now…but that was over 20 years ago…and I hope that that has since been forgiven.

I do remember him once telling me that if he ever left that house screaming “fuck the world” with his dagger in hand that I should run in the opposite direction. That has somehow stayed with me for the last 25+ years…

Looking at his family life…the house he grew up in and everything he had as an example as a child…I can empathize with how he developed into the young man I knew back then. It makes complete sense…and I wonder how many of those men and women in Charlottesville had a similar upbringing. I will never know. And if that is all you know…then how can you possibly think any differently?

And once again that brings me back to the education of our children. We already have formed ideas that may be difficult to be unlearned. But our children are still full of possibilities. We have to take advantage of that. We have to bring our children together, teach them the difference between right and wrong and make them aware that we are all a part of the solution. All of us together. Each and every one. We are all part of the solution.

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Speak Up Now!

I attended the vigil today…but I worry. I worry about the honesty of our modern world.

The words spoken were kind, and just, and kind of informative. For anyone who has been closely following everything that has been happening…it could have been more. It should have been more.

I’m probably being picky.

It’s amazing in itself that our city was able to organize a vigil for Heather Heyer and anti-racism. And that approximately 60 people attended is worth a celebration in itself. I just want more. I want it all to be and mean more.

We should all care. We should all speak out and be present and search for ways to be better. All of us should. But today…in Waterloo…we didn’t.

I noticed that most of the attendees were….”artistic”. I use that word as a way to describe a crowd of rainbow coloured hair, tattooed, alternatively dressed individuals. Does that make the artistic more empathetic? Do we understand and feel and care more than others? That shouldn’t be the case…but maybe it is…maybe it means that the above mentioned individuals are just more courageous.

As far as I’m concerned…it’s not enough. We should all be outraged by what’s happening. We should all care and we should all be trying our best to find a way to stop it, to speak out, to make a change or a difference…or…at least not be silent.

Do not be silent today…tomorrow…or any day.

Let us be a world of voices. Voices who speak their truth. Who speak against what they believe to be unfair, unkind, unethical. Speak up! Denounce what you don’t believe in. Let your voice be heard. And let us together make a difference!!!!!!!

TOGETHER.

DARE TO.

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She was Fantastic

She’s done.

She’s done and I’m terrified of delivering her tomorrow. No one is coming with me besides my kids. No one to support me as I carry this over sized portrait of a woman who we believe had strong enough convictions to die for everyone’s freedom. For love over hate. For acceptance over judgement. She died and her mother refuses to receive the phone call of the leader of the free world. Good for her, I say.

I drew her because I felt compelled to do so. I drew her because I couldn’t not draw her. I’m not spectacular, I get that…but I knew I could do it. I knew that I could draw her and hopefully represent her and create a commotion. I could bring attention to her and what she did, here in Waterloo by making the biggest, prettiest portrait I could possibly make. So I’m done. And tomorrow I will bring it to the vigil with my two daughters…and it may get destroyed…and that’s ok. I drew it. I drew her. I envy her. I envy what she died for, and her convictions, and her beliefs, and that her life was sacrificed for something bigger than her and us and everyone. That’s not what she went out to do…I’m sure….but she will be remembered for that. And that is fantastic. She was fantastic. In that moment…she was fantastic. And so I drew her.

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My Shameful Fears

I have another fear that has developed since childhood. A fear of kids in groups…if I’m completely honest; male kids in groups. I am afraid of their strength, their feeling of invincibility and entitlement…whether it be from camaraderie, alcohol, anger, boredom, etc.  Even as an adult I find it difficult sometimes to speak up when I witness kids misbehaving in public in an offensive way. I hope that I would be more comfortable should the behaviour involve harming another human, but up till now thankfully, I have not had that experience.

The protest that took place in Charlottesville…that large group of people that whole heartedly believed they were in the right (I assume)…that scared the shit out of me. I’ve read that there is a nationalist group planning to march in Toronto in September. And that scares me even more since it’s approaching so close to home.

I feel the need to do something. Just like I did back when the planning of the  Women’s March was being facilitated. But then I chose to step back because of my family. How do you speak loudly against what you believe is not right and still keep your head within your own reality and your loved ones safe from harm?

Paranoia annoyingly pokes at me; reminding me that the government could find me through all the stories I post and share, the petitions I sign, through a facebook page in Pennsylvania that I was an administrator for for a short time during the planning of the Women’s March, or even through my artistic endeavours….I worry about that sometimes. And I worry about how far I should take my words…how it will affect my children…how it could affect the life I know now…

It’s selfish and inexcusable. I am not that important in the big scheme of things…I feel embarrassed and shameful. I’ve decided to make myself accountable by admitting to this here to you.

There’s a vigil this Saturday at Waterloo Square for Heather Heyer. I know very little about her but she has certainly affected me. I can make assumptions about how she felt at that protest, why she was there and whether the rest of her family and friends supported her…but I won’t…She has affected me and that is enough.

I’m working on a very large portrait of Heather for the vigil. Hopefully it will be ready on time. In the mean time, I’ve finished a practice sketch….

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State of Emergency

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We know what the result can be of all the current hate and anger and fear festering in the United States. We see it today in Charlottesville where white supremacists are marching in protest. Marching to protest the removal of a statue that to some Americans represent a lack of freedom, something that  represents imprisonment to fellow Americans.

Emancipation Park. Basically meant to be seen as a park of liberation and freedom.

Their city council took a vote to remove the statue after one single high school student who dared to make her voice heard, started a campaign.

And so the backlash of marches and protests began.

One single brave student who meant to do good. Who wanted to make a difference and who is probably in little pieces on a living room floor somewhere in Charlottesville while all of these Americans filled with fear and anger and hatred attack and destroy other fellow Americans.

So that’s the root of these heartbreaking events today but…where’s the deep seeded root of this hatred in America?

I believe I’m pretty good at seeing the good in everyone, of empathizing and seeing both sides of the story. So, back to the presidential campaign of 2016:

The results of that election…I can see how people were looking for a change. I can see how Trump fed Americans with a feeling of empowerment and entitlement as he preached about taking back their country, of building walls and protecting their own. It makes sense that to anyone who felt helpless within their economic, social, family situation would cling to those ideas. Desperate people to desperate things. What I don’t understand is that if you spend all of your time pushing away anyone outside of your family/ your home…how do you end up any other way than alone? And loneliness breeds anger. Loneliness breeds anger and fear and hate and jealousy and any other emotion that could potentially result in conflict and violence.

My head is reeling. I’m sick and devastated. I feel guilt and shame for bringing my two beautiful girls into this fucked up world. And I feel guilty for spending the afternoon shopping for back to school clothes for them while flag poles are used against innocent people’s bodies, water bottles filled with cement are thrown at bystanders and a car is driven through the crowd throwing human bodies into the air.

My hope is that our best weapons are our children. Our children’s education and our nurturing and loving child rearing. My hope is that through all of this violence and hate we can teach our children that the world deserves better, that they and future generations can be better, can do better and make better choices.

My heart and prayers go out to everyone today in Charlottesville Virginia as they struggle to come to terms with everything that has happened today. trump

 

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Senses Overload with Full Conviction

Theatre sucks. I don’t really like watching it much myself.

I think I have that opinion due to a lack of free time. A mother of two with a home day care doesn’t have that much time to herself outside of the house and therefore, theatre is not necessarily the place I run to when I do have opportunity to step through the front door child free.

So I watched a lot of theatre. A lot.

I didn’t like it all. But it was all relevant. It created conversation. It created reactions. And that’s really the point of theatre isn’t it? To create a reaction in it’s audience. To invoke a conversation, questions, possibilities, opportunities…

When I lived in NYC I went to see a particular theatre show a couple of times. It started in a dark room without chairs and a low ceiling. Audience members filed in and were warned they could get wet and or/participate in the action of the show. But it was unknown. It was unknown and terrifying…and an easy way to seek a thrill after a busy week of work in an overwhelming city that challenged your senses, sensibilities, and stamina.

It’s been two decades but I remember it starting with the sound of rain, and flashing lights, colours, water dripping through what turned out to be a paper covering…eventually small plastic frogs broke through and opened up the room to three story high ceilings and players displaying animalistic movements and sounds…They did everything they could to pull you away from the pavement of the city through music, movement, the smell of sweat…To suck you into an alternative reality that didn’t exercise your suspension of disbelief per-say but heightened your senses, forced you into an immediate state of ‘now’.

That is Theatre.

I remember thinking at the time that the only thing the show was missing was the sense of taste. I had this idea of the players beating on watermelons. Beating on them until they burst open. Ripping into the flesh of the fruit and feeding it to the audience. Metaphorically and literally.

I saw a show last night that reminded me of this experience…Offered an opportunity for an immediate emotional response. This show forced me to be present as I experienced the absurdity of their actions and I thoroughly loved it. Without knowing really anything about what the hell they were doing…and it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter only because they did know. They knew and they did it with full conviction. FullSizeRender (14)

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