Hearts Flourish : an artwork for Domestic Violence
Trigger Alert : this post addresses domestic violence.
"So you grew up in a home of domestic violence then," said the therapist matter of fact.
I stared at her in disbelief. NO I DID NOT.
"What do you mean? I did not ever see my dad hit my mother and even though he tried to hit me he never succeeded. I was too fast for him," I said with a slight giggle to my tone making light of what was clearly a messed up situation.
"You just described a home where as a child you were subjected to emotional and verbal abuse on a regular basis. Domestic violence does not always mean physical violence, You have just described emotional and verbal violence."
I sat there stunned. Here I was a woman in my fifties having this therapist shine a spotlight on my upbringing. I was in a state of utter disbelief and denial.
Sure, my dad could be an asshole and sure, my dad said cruel words that scarred me in ways that still affect me ... and sure my dad would belittle and humiliate me at times in public to such a degree that total strangers would pity me... and sure there were those times it almost became physical.... and yeah, there was a couple of isolated times he threatened my life... there was that gun incident when I was 14...
But no, I did not grow up in a home with a terror of a father. He was just.... cranky. Right?
It has taken me a lifetime to accept that how my father treated me and our family is text book domestic abuse. It was the secret behind the closed doors of our middle-class family.
In the last several years I have been in an extraordinary season of profound transformation and healing, much of my most authentic self has been recovered as lies and distortions encoded in my inner being have been broken.
I have felt reluctant yet compelled to disclose the dirty laundry of my family. Maya Angelou said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." This has been one of the stories that has been mine to bear, and I am now able to honor that it is my right to tell the untold-ness of what are my stories to tell. Not to harm others, no, only to empower my inner little girl who had no voice growing up, who had no safe space or safe adults to Tell. My telling is for me most of all.
As a result of confronting this hard truth about my childhood, I have decided to make intentional efforts to contribute and support programs that serve families breaking free from domestic violence.
So this weekend I had visitors to my studio party help create a community artwork. I finished up the vibrant artwork that many hands made late last night. I have titled it, Hearts Flourish.
The message on the art reads,
Despite it all, Flourish.
One young woman who came to my studio was unfamiliar to me. She had heard about my studio party open to all and came by. As we became acquainted I invited her to add some paint to the artwork which she readily did. I then told her I would be selling it with 100% of the proceeds going to Safe Choice, a program from the YWCA of Clark County that serves people in crisis from domestic violence.
"I know Safe Choice," she said. "They've helped me. They are good."
"I'm glad you called them," I said. It was a bit of a poignant moment for me as this young woman contributed to the artwork intended to raise money for Safe Choice that helped her. I do not know her story. I just know that Safe Choice was a part of it.
Here are the details for the artwork :
Acrylic painting on 16x20 studio canvas. Sealed and wired, ready to display.
EVERY dollar for Hearts Flourish will go to Safe Choice.
If this painting resonates with you message me HERE. Shipping available in the United States. Rates TBD.
Despite the hard things that happen, we each can still flourish and inspire one another toward living a fulfilling and wholehearted life.
I look forward to seeing who will welcome HEARTS FLOURISH into their world!
>>>> If you would like to make a contribution to Safe Choice, visit their website and click on the dropdown menu to designate your donation to this program.