So, I did it. I reserved an art gallery space for my first art show. It is going to be on Thursday night July 25th. I researched and found the perfect spot that will let me have the whole space. The gallery will make it official and put my name on the wall like a real art show. They will also let me play my own music, which is very important to me, as music is a constant in my life and helps me to be creative. They will let me bring in my own lighting. For those that want a glass of wine or beer, the gallery has a bar and will provide a bartender and server. I will bring in small plates of food. It is a great location, making it easy for my guests to find without going too far out of downtown. I asked them a multitude of questions, and they checked every box, and they did it with a smile and great attitude. I knew this was going to be my space.
But even though I knew it was the perfect spot, it still took me a week to call and officially reserve it. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time, it was that every time I went to call them my mind would cloud over and I felt like I was moving in slow motion. The voices in my head would question me “Do you really want to do this? Don’t you need to think about it more? Are you ready for this?” My mind would repeatedly list the pros and cons for me, but mostly the cons. But it didn’t need to list the cons, I already knew them. The cons have been haunting me my whole life. The cons come in many forms and many ways of saying the same thing which is that I am not good enough. Since I am not good enough, that makes my art not good enough, and so no one will want to come and see it. My husband, daughter and good friends may come and see it and smile and congratulate me, and then talk about me behind my back and laugh. This is how my mind works. My mind likes to humiliate me for even thinking about taking a chance. It shows me a vision where I am standing in an empty gallery staring at the door that no one is walking through. Then my mind starts beating me up with ‘I told you this wasn’t going to work’ or ‘What a waste of money!’ My mind has already showed me the ‘future’ and already punished me, and I haven’t even committed to do it yet.
But in spite of all my negative self talk, I made the call and reserved the space. I did it! I don’t have one single piece of art to hang on the walls yet. I am going to create it. I have it all in my head. The weird thing is, as soon as I got the email back from the Art Gallery owner saying that they are booked through 2021 but that they have a few evenings available and that I can have my show July 25th 2019, a calmness came over me. I wasn’t nervous anymore. It was like I stepped into another space. As soon as I made the commitment to do the show, my negative voices stared at me and said, “Well, if we are doing this then, who are we going to invite?” And I started writing out a list of people who I thought would be interested in coming.
It was amazing that once I committed to a date, and started writing ideas, they started to naturally flow. The more ideas I wrote down, the more ideas came to me. In committing and moving forward, my vision of standing alone in an empty gallery slowly started to transform into a vision of people looking at my art and enjoying the evening. My intent of the show started crystalizing and forming into a cohesive message. Because even though the creation of my art is important, it is the message behind my art that is more important.
My message is that women are beautifully powerful. Even at our weakest moments in our lives, we rise up, we defend ourselves, we defend our children, we defend what is right and fair in society. I grew up in an abusive household. I have connected with many women since I have been writing this blog that either grew up in a similar situation to mine, had abusive relationships, or have otherwise experienced abuse and neglect in their lives. We all managed to rise up within ourselves and get away from a situation that was limiting our power.
I ‘escaped’ through sheer determination, grit and resourcefulness. I am in a better place now. But I will never really fully escape. The abuse I suffered in my past will always be with me. Memories will surface at the worst times, like when I am tired or feel threatened. I will have dreams of being chased and tormented even when everything is going well in my life. I used to get angry at myself when the memories would come to me. I wanted to ‘get over it’ and never think about it again. But why? Why would I want to forget the little girl who survived what many don’t survive? In forgetting those memories, I am forgetting her. She doesn’t deserve that. Our society honors heroes, and she is a hero. She deserves to be celebrated. So, that is why in every word I write and every piece of art I create I pay respect to the beautiful girl that showed me the way.
I honor the beautiful girl in every woman who ‘feels’ a better future before seeing it. I honor the woman that came from a place that didn’t show her love and compassion, but that shows love and compassion to every person that she meets. I honor every woman that moves forward with blind faith that she will find a better place for herself. This is no small accomplishment.
My art show will be a display of respect and honor to all women. I don’t want us to forget where we came from, because when we forget that, we forget ourselves. There is no shame in overcoming situations that could have destroyed us. This should be celebrated. It should be remembered, it should be honored.
I hope that people come to see my art show, but even if I am the only one there I will feel a sense of pride. When this show is over I will know that I walked forward with blind faith in search of a better place for myself, I will know that I ‘felt’ a better future before I saw it, and I will know that even though I came from a place that didn’t show me love or compassion, I am trying to create it. And that is no small accomplishment.