Hail The Wild Woman Within!

No. 48 #ShePersisted
Mixed Media on watercolour paper
2019 Louise Gallagher
“I Am Worthy”

Yesterday, I painted and breathed into the truth of art as Pablo Picasso once described it, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

After four days of grandson time, my heart-felt light and breezy. My senses alive.

I’d given myself a day of relaxation before returning to my office. A day to breathe into the open spaces of time unplanned. When the muse called and invited me to explore my creative essence, I stepped into my studio, picked up a paintbrush and began to express myself freely.

In March 2017, I began a series of paintings titled, “The #ShePersisted” Series. Inspired by the events in the US congress that lead to Senator Mitch McConnell stating, “She was warned… Nevertheless, she persisted,” about fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren, I heard the call of the wild woman within me; the one who stands tall when told to sit down, who speaks up when told to be quiet. I began to paint the series, got to No. 47 and then… we moved, my studio was packed up and the series went into hibernation with the wild woman’s silence.

Yesterday, the wild woman within returned. This painting is No. 48 in the series. “I am worthy.”

In everyone’s life there is a place where we fear or believe someone else determines our worth.

As a teenager, I remember desperately wanting to fit in while fearing the price of doing so. I bought the latest styles. Danced the latest steps and gushed over the latest Hollywood heart-throb, juggling school and extracurricular activities and a parttime job while struggling to figure out what to do with my future. University. Job. What next?

In my twenties, I railed against conforming as I donned the wardrobe of a working woman. I wore suits and carried a briefcase and told myself my worth was made up in the things I carried and the height of the ladder I climbed.

In my thirties I became a mother. I was struggling in the ‘wife’ role, but I could do the mother thing to perfection. Or so I thought. The pressure to do it all, have it all, be it all became a daily treadmill of workdays spent rushing from meeting to meeting and weekends chasing my husband up rocky screeslopes and glacial expanses or hurrying my daughters from birthday party to dance class to sleepovers and playdates. And did I mention I was always training for half and full marathons, throwing elegant dinner parties and learning to cook in the latest craze?

My forties brought an abrupt end to much of my life as I knew it. I failed completely (or at least that’s what I called it) as a wife and became a single mother of two pre-teen girls. Briefcase in one hand, dance outfits and bobbypins in the other, the treadmill picked up speed until I ran full tilt into a man who professed he would love me until death do us part, and wound up taking the death part way too seriously.

It was that painful encounter that opened the doors to my freedom from believing my worth was determined somewhere ‘out there’. Healing from the devestation of that relationship meant taking a deep dive into my psyche, rotor-rooting into the bedrock of my being to find who I truly am. It was there, in the broken pieces of my feminine soul that I found myself waiting where I’d always been. Grounded in the brilliance and magnificence of my inherent human condition, I discovered, I am worthy. Period. No explanation needed. No caveats. No designer clothes or big titled job to prove it. I am worthy.

We are all worthy. Period. No explanation needed.

As I journey through my sixties towards this place called ‘retirement’, I hold steadfast in my belief of my human worth. It is irrevocable. It is priceless. It is undefeatable.

I may struggle with letting go of my working identity, or rail against falling into the ease of unstructured days, the truth is, nothing and no one can change my worth, my worthiness.

I am worthy.

You are worthy.

We are worthy.

Grounded in that truth, the open fields of possibility planted within the seeds of my creative passions, are calling me to explore what it means to express myself in freedom.

I am excited. It promises to be a fascinating journey. Hail the Wild Woman Within!

10 thoughts on “Hail The Wild Woman Within!”

    1. Thank you. ❤ I came to painting in my mid forties as a means of spending time with my eldest daughter who is an incredible artist. Through that decision I discovered I had a passion for something I'd always told myself I had no talent for — it was a wonderful discovery!

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