Sunday, March 18, 2007
I struggle lately and do not seem to be able to handle a big canvas this weekend. Instead I paint more emotions abstract in few colours using Aceo size 2.5x3.5in watercolour paper and watercolours. This journey of mine painting or drawing every day is also a journey into and with myself into the future.
Fighting the Bars of Shame
One of the things I have been thinking of lately is how women, my age and older especially, tend to be filled with shame, not the old sexually related shame but the one more connected with "eat up, think about the starving children in Africa"-kind. Concretely we overeat , we are good girls and finish our plates, but more importantly we get unsure about what feelings we should allow ourself to have.
As we were told to ignore feelings of fullness foodwise because of the need of starving children, we also ignore our own feelings when we are on mum-duty; when the whole family is down in flu, who is taking care of everyone? "Was the holidays/Cristmas/ the trip successful? ""Oh yes, hubby was happy and kids were happy and behaved reasonably. Sure, a wonderful holiday /Christmas etc etc. " We're happy when our people are happy. Or at least that is what we tell ourself and if not - Shame.
Add then the fact that many women in that age group get health problems like fibromyalgia, low thyroid, fatigue syndrom, burn out syndroms, menopause or depression. Problem is that all these diagnoses has depression-like symptoms too. What do women do? All of these health issues also carry some kind of Shame. "Get a grip, pull yourself together, don't be so lazy, think about how fortunate you are, think about those that has worse problems". That doctors has called many of these problems "just nerves" for ages adds to the problem. It is kind of more status to have the historical male middle age problems; heart and ruined backs after heavy manual work. These days the double working women has these too.
These kind of philosophical thought and discussions inspired this watercolour: "Fighting the Bars of Shame" It could equally be the poor African Mum having got HIV/AIDS from her cheating husband knowing that their kids would soon be without help. That too and similar situations is known to women. I did not want the face to be weak in shame but hurt and angry fighting it.
I do wish I was a better artist so that I could really explore emotional and philosophical issues like this and one day I am sure I will be able to to that in a manner that satisfies me. Untill then I will have to fight and break down the internalized "good girls do paint inside the lines"- socialization I have grown up with. I am amazed on how tough that is to break down. That is one reason I do not paint very tidy detailed works - I do not want to wake that monster. My dream and goals are quite other styles of drawing and paintings.
Well, the journey has only just begun - keep following me and who knows where it will all end.