The last few months I have been able to explore experiences in my life that I think I had inadvertently escaped from for so long. When you live your life day to day you tend to continue on as you have always known. I guess what I am trying to say is that what seems normal to you...is normal. If you were born with black hair, that's normal to you. If you speak a certain language that is normal to you. If you like your sandwiches with the crust cut off... that is normal to you (apparently this is my kids normal too).
My normal was that I was raised by a single mom to the age of 7. Even though this is only a little over a quarter of my life, the reality of it is that these seven years have played a huge part of who I am now and what I value. Both me and my brother John were raised in my grandparents home and shared a room with my mother. My mother being the oldest of the 9 children in her family was the first of her siblings to have children. So this meant that my grandparents household was well... bursting at the seems with kids. Funny thing is that I only remember being surrounded by my family which was such a comfort. I grew up influenced by my 8 aunts and uncles in anything from music, fashion, beliefs and language/slang (☺). This has really helped me through the years to remain open minded with my experiences.
The one thing that I didn't have during these years was a prevalent male figure. As a girl, you wouldn't think this to be such a major factor but as I look back at my life and journey I have realized the tremendous benefit of security, confidence and guidance that a male figure provides. But my life has been in Gods hands since day one and even though my paternal father has never been a part of my life... I have been gifted with a loving supportive and protective father figure unit of men that through out various points in my life have served this role. The main men that I can thank for this are my Grandfather, my uncles (Tony and Eddie), my mothers boss Kevin and my stepfather Cecil.
I can look back and see now how these men have stepped in as my protectors, providers, my truth tellers, my comfort. My Grandfather was my first father figure. I am precious to him and he has continued even to this day to remain a comfort to me. It seems odd to think that he still provides me comfort, as he passed away in February of 2005 but those first 7 years of my life, living in his home I still remember the warmth of his embrace. The tenderness of his comforting words. They are words that still ring true to me now. Having these experiences to hold on to have built me up to who I am now. They have helped to give me the strength that I need in my hardest battles. I am so very grateful to have this knowledge to hold on to and think if I didn't have these experiences to hold true to, what kind of women would I have become. Could I still have the same boldness that I sometimes have to dig deep into. I don't know if I could. Now this is just me, this is not the norm, this just happens to be my norm. Like I said before the norm is only what we know to be true. Could I have still been the same person I am today even with out these experiences... possibly, but I am truly glad that I don't have to know.
This last week the memory of my grandfather has been stirring in my heart. I loved him so. I still remember the strong quiet man that he was, hoisting me over his shoulders and walking me down to the corner store to buy 25 cents worth of candy. I am sad that my children do not have vivid memories of him, our daughter never even had a chance to meet him. But I know that a part of me is a part of him, and that is where the legacy can continue, and even thrive.
Day 8- Art
This is a little tough for me, especially after first part of this post but it ties in together. Sunday I found out that a dear friend of mine back in California lost her father. We have similar upbringings and both had step fathers that we considered our fathers so I knew the amount of love she had for her father. Even now I can't help but cry, not only because we are 1500 miles apart and the only comfort I can give her is over the phone, but also just because of the pain I know that she is dealing with while trying to make sense of what is left. It is sometimes hard for me to express what is in my heart... so I do it with art. After I got off the phone with her yesterday... I felt the urge to create something for her. This is also the way I can re-group and gather myself. Art is a HUGE healing tool. Even just to sit and write in a book with nothing more than a pen... IT IS HUGE. Your mind knows that you need to process and sometimes just trying to sort through your thoughts is much to large of a task for your body to handle. Allowing your thoughts to manifest through your hands helps to join those two parts of who you are (mind and body) into making sense of all that is around you.
SHE KNEW HER HEART WAS IN HIS HANDS
products used: Paper- Prima Marketing Inc, Adhesive-Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L, oil pastels, mod podge, gems, tulle and crayons.
Day 9- Healing
So yesterday I created... in an effort to heal not only my pain for my friend but in hopes to find the right words to share with my friend and assist her in her healing. Like I said before, it is hard sometimes for me to find the right words to express what my heart is feeling. I find comfort in scripture, quotes and especially music. Not always do the words of comfort have to come from my mouth, but perhaps I just need to be the one to pass them on. So with this being, I want to share my inspiration for this art piece.
"Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
I am a firm believer of affirmation of words for healing. With this in mind I prayed for what the right words would be for healing (Now, not only for my friend but for me as the loss of my friends father erupted my own emotions of losing my grandfather). And through this I kept imagining a heart, protected, secure and held. So the scripture became my starting point for what I painted.
Along with this a song came to my thoughts. This is a song from Natalie Grant. I was fortunate enough to see Natalie in concert a few times at our old church Cottonwood Christian Center in Ca. One of her concerts, she explained the background of this song and how the women who wrote it, wrote it for her friend after her friend had lost their young child to SIDS.
(To view video, make sure to pause my music player below before you start)
You can see that in this tragedy the women felt the need to create. Create something that could most likely assist her with the emotions of it all, but more than anything assist her friend with her loss. Through her faithfulness to herself, in allowing herself to take this moment to create this song this women has brought peace and understanding to so many.
You never know, what you create may be the only thing that someone out there needs to make it through. So get it out there, when you need it. Share it, don't be selfish with the gift you have to give. Give it to those who may need exactly what you have to share.
Healing is a part of life. It is a process that we will always have to deal with. How we deal with it is unique and individual and only we know how to find the peace in chaos. My hope is that this little insight into my creative reasoning/healing will encourage you to find some sort of healing tool (Creative or not) that can help you make sense of the things that your body and mind go through during these times of need. ♥