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A Journey of Resilience and Healing: How Art Became My Voice

Life has a way of presenting us with challenges that can shape our paths in unexpected ways. For me, one such moment came in the second grade when I was suddenly pulled out of class, never to return to that school again. It was a day that marked the beginning of a transformative journey, one that would lead me to discover the power of art as a means of healing and self-expression.

The Courage to Break Free
As I sat in my mom's vehicle that day, a clothes basket on the seat beside me, I had no idea that we were embarking on a journey towards safety and a better future. My mom had finally found the courage to leave a dysfunctional marriage, seeking refuge in a women's shelter. It was 1979, and women were just beginning to gain some basic rights that would allow them to escape difficult situations. My mom's bravery in the face of adversity taught me the importance of resilience and the strength that lies within us all.

Although most of the attention was focused on the mothers, I found shelter of my own in a friend named, Raintree. She was a happy go lucky kinda girl, just a few years older than me and an ideal friend. Anyway, she and I were given the delightful task of painting the old picket fence in the backyard of the shelter. While we painted a beautiful blue sky and rainbows on the fence, we talked and laughed. That experience sparked something in me that I only recently remembered.

The Echoes of Childhood
Growing up, I witnessed my mom's tireless efforts to provide for our family. From milking cows to putting dinner on the table, she poured her herself into both farming and homemaking tasks, often in the face of unwarranted criticism/anger. It seemed as though whatever she did, it was never enough to dissipate my father's unresolved complex trauma that he inherited from his parents. He barely spoke about it, but my paternal grandfather was an infantry solider in WWII and thus, one can assume he carried a heavy burden of trauma. 

Anyway, those early experiences of childhood left an indelible mark on my soul, shaping my habits and the way I navigated the world. It wasn't until decades later that I recognized the patterns of people-pleasing and validation-seeking that had taken root within me. And, by the time I reached middle age, those habits became overwhelming.

The Healing Power of Art
In the midst of this self-discovery, I found myself drawn back to the paintbrush, just as I had been drawn to paint with rainbow colors on the old picket fence at the women's shelter forty years ago. Art became my solace again, a way to express the emotions and experiences that words couldn't quite capture. Each brushstroke became a step towards healing, a way to process the generational wounds that had been passed down through the years.

Transforming Pain into Purpose
Through my art, I began to understand that my journey was not just about my own healing, but about the collective healing of generations of women who had suffered in silence. I realized that by sharing my story and my art, I could help break the cycle of pain and inspire others to find their own paths to resilience and self-discovery.

The Importance of Balance
As I delved deeper into my artistic practice, I also came to understand the importance of balance between feminine and masculine energies. Without the nurturing and healing power of the feminine, the masculine can become toxic and destructive. By embracing and celebrating the feminine within ourselves and others, we can create a more harmonious and compassionate world.

Conclusion
My journey from that fateful day in the second grade to the present has been one of resilience, healing, and self-discovery. Through art, I have found a way to give voice to the experiences and emotions that have shaped me, and to connect with others who have walked similar paths. I invite you to join me on this journey, to explore the power of art as a means of transformation and to celebrate the strength and resilience that lies within us all.

Some of these themes are evident in my Worthy Collection, where I celebrate women for their inherent strength.

By sharing my story, I hope to inspire others to embrace their own journeys of healing and self-discovery, and to recognize the importance of balance and compassion in all aspects of life. Together, we can create a world where every individual has the opportunity to thrive and where the wounds of the past can be transformed into the wisdom and strength of the future.

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