Not sure I would have had the guts to make either the collage or the post that follows if I hadn't been so moved and inspired by Joanne's collage right here.
Originally I didn't plan to engage with this prompt because I figured I'd evoked all the Empress of Everything energy I could reasonably expect myself to express during the Care Package prompt. But then I realized I was also avoiding something really important that I didn't want to deal with in an active way until after this challenge was complete. Felt it wasn't "necessary" or "proper" for me to include what I wound up creating as part of my personal responses to the prompts. Nonetheless here we are.
My collage for today is in large part a delayed reaction follow-up to the real-life results of a collage I made the summer before last as part of year-long art journaling project. Within that context the image spoke to my ongoing experience(s) being silenced by white culture in general and within my specific family of origin. I allowed myself to visually specify what this felt like for the first time: to be enmeshed within a solely white upbringing in a 90% white town (all Others neatly collected in slim enclaves with protestations that the Others wanted it that way ....) while being bi-racial and utterly estranged from my other half.
The latter fact was routinely dismissed as a mere detail which shouldn't be encouraged "to fester" because my inherently insufficient* environment was supposed to render me too grateful by my good fortune to be able to "pass" if I just applied myself to the goal with true will to succeed at it.
*I'm defining insufficiency in terms of knowing who I really was at a basic genetic level since it was glaringly apparent to me I was indeed half Other. And consistently feeling myself as lacking any viable guidance towards developing life skills that were relational to my ongoing experience both at home and in the larger world.
As a direct result of making that collage I subsequently ripped the metaphorical tape away from my very literal mouth and began expressing what felt the safest within an inherently troublesome aspect of my life : the white-centric way in which my small but mighty family has lived since we moved away from a diverse urban hub of great meaning and empowerment to me. And what that experience has led me to conclude without a shade of doubt:
Hypocrisy is a crippling by-product of all human nature, no doubt. But the specifically white version of it insures nobody anywhere ever really gets very far with race relations.
entirely true for me without doubt. But I went about expressing it in the dogmatic emotionally charged manner of somebody who's been honing their rage as well as their ability to sit quietly with a thing I cannot fix by myself or by summoning my own white mojo intent to have it be otherwise. And I regret that very much. THAT isn't just something I can fix - it's something I must fix because nobody else can do it for me.
To illustrate my re-considered intentions moving forward - I began with a healthy dose of self-accountability that focused on an ability I actively hold here in the everyday world that I can apply within experiences involving my linear human landscape - starting with a photocopy of the lede collage. I pasted in a dedicated journal I'll probably wind up sharing a bit on this blog once this challenge is in the past tense long enough to have reclaimed one or two planned winter learning projects first.
I also photocopied two other elements of the same art journal where I made the original collage - tracings of my left and right hand decorated with off-world tatoos what have been re-configured so they might attend to my silenced past-tense self. In this collage they embody the wise and seasoned touch of my highest self and all her cumulative experiences and observations. Thus the hands work slowly and with gentle patience to loosen the powerful adhesive that's kept me 95% quiet about this pivotal aspects of my ongoing life experience for more than half a century.
- notice they are using flower medicine to loosen the adhesive and heal the wounds it caused -
My right hand takes command of the evolved objective - to liberate by way of accrued finesse and empathy. My other - receptive and empathetic - hand cradles my forehead to steady me for the shock and abrupt shift that will come when the tape's finally removed and I now hold sole responsibility for whatever I elect to say or not. In acknowledgement of this - through the process of making the collage - I've given myself a sovereign power - the power of gentleness - I already had without knowing how to claim or implement it.
This collage that I almost didn't think it was 'necessary' to let myself make at this time and in this specific venue is probably the most personally meaningful and healing response I've had in the process. It's a visual pact with myself as a writer and activist.
far more importantly - from now on making the commitment to deliver myself from the idea there's only one way to get a thing done. Or that there's a BEST way and for some reason I'm the one who knows it. And that if I'm not heard or remotely 'accepted' in that one-way's cadence and tone then I have failed The Cause and myself.
failed to grow, maybe.
but I'm pretty much done with that too.
(tomorrow begins the final third of the challenge. We'll be downshifting the intensity of the prompts' self-exploration curve in order to discover what might want to grow in all the fresh inner space we've made through better understanding who we are creatively and what we're making of and for ourSelves through making art of whatever form.)