New Things (Wild Enemy and Art)

I have started writing music again! And spoken word poetry. And I have been mixing the two because, why not?! The plan is to get over my stage fright and start performing the new material under the name, Wild Enemy. I will be performing for the first time as Wild Enemy at the North Charleston Arts Festival in North Charleston, South Carolina in May!

I am also working on ideas for art workshops and exhibits. I currently have an exhibit up in Nashville, Tennessee, “Being Black in America,” and I want to do a continuation of this exhibit (which is actually a continuation of a previous exhibit). The previous and current exhibits deal with Black identity and comparisons of blacks living now and in the past. The continuation of this would be looking at how certain things in society (Feminism, Employment, etc.) are different for people of color and whites.

More of my work and upcoming events can be found here.

 

 

Status

The World Around Me, A Mirror.

I often notice and am very aware of who I call, “Wild Women.” They are older women who have wild hair, striking eyes and are women of color. I seem to see the same three or four women around. They never exude a happy aura, but rather, a wounded aura. I typically feel a connection with them, or some sort of solidarity.

When I come across women (or sometimes even men) who appear happy and/or nice, it almost always feels insincere or contrived to me. I don’t trust it and it makes me uncomfortable. I do believe that some people are overly nice to overcompensate for insecurities they may have, and we can sometimes feel when others are wearing masks, but I can remember feeling this way about people who are honestly just happy and in the moment.

After seeing one of the several, often seen”Wild Women” today while at a store, I started to wonder why I feel such comfort or familiarity with what she exudes, but not feel that same connection with a “happy” person. Why would I accept one end of the spectrum but not the other? I began really thinking about this long after seeing her.

I started to remember times when, I was genuinely happy and open and others put me down or seemed threatened by my openness. In fact, many times when I have been truly open, totally uninhibited, I can remember being made to feel like I was annoying or wrong, hushed or ignored, brushed off or attacked (with words).

So I began to repress that part of me in order to “protect” myself.

And since I have repressed that part of me, it angers me or annoys me or makes me uncomfortable to see others openly express it. The reason is that I was judging them. I judged them because it was easier to make them wrong than to look at myself and realize that I was limiting myself and my own authenticity out of fear, to appease others or to shield myself. It almost feels like, “Why should they get to be happy and free when I don’t?”

But by judging them, I am really judging myself and making myself wrong for ever feeling that way or my wanting to be open and happy. I have the same capabilities and free will to feel that way and to express it. But because I let other people’s reactions steer me away from my authentic self, I started to feel that if it wasn’t okay for me to be myself, then it shouldn’t be okay for other’s to either. But honestly, if someone is being their true self, it is an invitation to be our true selves, just by being in their presence. And there is an inner struggle in this; coming across such opposing personalities where some detest your authenticity and some welcome it just by giving themselves fully. Which is right?

Obviously being yourself is the only way to live.

Not everyone is going to like me and that’s okay. But I’d rather be not-liked for who I truly am.  🙂

If you can’t see and accept your own beauty, you won’t be able to accept anyone else’s. If you can’t see and accept your own beauty, you won’t accept it when someone else sees it and points it out. This shows up in many ways: jealousy, extreme shyness and/or an inner feeling of disconnect from the self and the world. You will feel as though no one can really see you, but it’s because you aren’t actually being you.

Some hard questions I have been forced to ask myself now are, how many people have I closed myself off from or shunned or made feel bad about their own genuine self, all because I was afraid of their inherent beauty? And how many times have I made myself small because I was afraid of my own?

The answer?

Far too many.

Donated Some Tiny Paintings…

A couple of days ago, I attended an event for which I donated two small paintings. This was a great event that benefits a Nashville Ensemble, Intersection.

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Not only did I get to hear beautiful music that night, both paintings were bid on, and one of the highest bidders was Grammy nominated Polka artist, Lynn Marie Rink ( your left, my right)! The other high bidder was Lisa Harless, who help put the event together (your right, my left). Obviously that leaves me in the middle…..

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I also got to meet and hang out with a favorite local artist of mine who is as cool a person as he is an artist.

It was a great night overall and I was happy to have been a part of it!

Works in progress…

These are small art books that I started creating recently. I just take old newspapers or magazines and cut them to make them smaller. Then I staple, paint, glue, write, etc.

They are like tiny journals for me.

These are also a few new things that I have been working on. I have been doing a lot of mixed media paintings where I add text and focus on texture.

I love art that makes you want to touch it; where you can feel it just by looking at it.

That’s what I’m going for!

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This one might be hard to see but this is a painting, probably the biggest I’ve done, that was motivated by all of the shootings of black men by police officers that has been going on. It is in it’s very beginning stages…

The Risky Business of Making Yourself Vulnerable

Being vulnerable is scary and it feels unsafe. Especially now in our society. It’s easier to be tough and to be defensive and shut down any open feelings.

But that honestly gets exhausting and feels unnatural.

And the thing is, men protect women who are vulnerable.

I have experienced a few situations where I made myself vulnerable and the men around me honored and protected that vulnerability. One even did in spite of his aggressive girlfriend.

One time, I had just started working at a restaurant as a cashier. I was still training and the woman training me started letting me complete some transactions on my own. A man and woman, his girlfriend I assume, came to order and pay for their food. I was trying to figure out where one of the items was on the register when the woman repeated the order, but in a rude tone. She said something else (can’t recall) but it seemed like she was trying to make me feel and look stupid. I told them that I was new and was still trying to learn the register and was looking for what it was they wanted. The boyfriend then said to her “Chill out. She’s trying to find it….” something like that.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I would hope that most, if not all men, would say something to their significant other in this type of situation if they were being rude. I’ve even had men I was with look at me like, “WTF?” when I was being bratty to another woman, for no real reason, or because I was making a big deal out of something that was small. The point is, I believe that truly masculine men want to protect femininity and vulnerability when they are around it and especially when it is being attacked.

Another example comes from a time when I worked at another restaurant. (I have quite the resume.)  🙂  As servers, we had to go to whoever was doing salads and sandwiches to get side salads. Sometimes they had several ready in a cooler and we could just grab them. Sometimes they didn’t and we had to ask for them. So one time, there was a guy and a girl, both doing that particular station. I was fairly new and didn’t know anyone yet. I asked the girl for a side salad. The girl said something about new people not knowing how things work and how some people didn’t know how to say please. Then, another coworker came and asked for a side salad, but she needed it a specific way. The girl making salads said something about liking this coworker and proceeded to make her salad before mine and then she turned around and walked away! I was standing there confused. The guy then came to where we were asked what I needed and I said a side salad. The girl yelled that she was getting to it. I told the guy that I had been waiting and he made it for me. Even after she came back and said that she’d make it, he was like, “Nope, I got it.” He knew what was going on. Later I told him the situation.

The entire time I worked there, he treated me with respect, even joking with me when that girl was around. She wasn’t rude to me after that. She wasn’t nice either, just indifferent. What I like most about how he handled the situation is that he wasn’t mean to her either. Some men would choose one woman’s side and be mean to the other but he didn’t. Strong man, that one.

Those examples aren’t like, mind blowing, but I think it’s important to note how I felt. I could have automatically become defensive and yelled at these women, and if it came down to it, I would have stood up for myself. Luckily there was true masculine energy there to stand up for me. And that’s really what women need, is to know that there are men and even other women who won’t rip them to shreds or let them be attacked should they let their guard down. The thing is, sometimes we have to let our guard down in order to learn who we can be open around. A sort of jumping right in, if you will.

Lately I have been purposely pushing myself to be vulnerable and take risks. I have gotten far and reverted back to old ways but it is something I am keen on continuing because I’d rather live openly and risk getting hurt a few times.

I want to feel it all.

Know Your Past, Change Your Future

Lately I think a lot about how much of my own thoughts and beliefs are actually really mine. I come across so many people who are almost exact replicas of their parents. They believe the same things without even questioning them or asking themselves if the beliefs of those whose lives have influenced them are actually helpful to them or necessary in their own adult lives.

We are automatically born into families with people who have their own history of neurosis, abuse and all kinds of other things, most of which they were born into. Among the many things passed down, abuse seems to be the most prominent.

There are things that are specific to families and then there are things that are universal. Slavery, for example, still affects so many people; black, white, mixed, blue, purple…human. Being Black, White (and a teeny bit Native American), I have seen racism and prejudice from either side (really only black and white). Sometimes it has been direct, but mostly I’ve seen/heard/felt the stinging undertones.

I think that when people don’t really know about their past or when they can’t separate themselves from their primary family, they are unable to change and grow. Oddly, it seems like it’s harder to change a pattern when you are engulfed in the situation where the pattern was first created. Like trying to heal your anger while still living with family who never had healthy ways of expressing anger. Or trying to resolve racist feelings while still living with a racist parent instead of being around said race to determine for yourself how you feel about someone. It seems like the best time to heal it is when you are in a situation that triggers past emotions that you weren’t able to fully express before, just not the situation that first caused the emotion.

So many people don’t ever really separate from their families to become their own person which doesn’t exactly promote self growth. Things will just be passed down to their children and so on and so forth.

In one of my favorite books, “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peck, he says that in order to grow, we have to constantly revise our “Maps” (the things we live by).

It is hard and sometimes it is extremely lonely.

How much pain are you willing to deal with to grow?