There was a time when it was easy (read unconsciously acceptable) for me to
believe others knew what was best for me.
I didn’t know my own heart.
With time, patience, deep, deep inner listening, I have come to recognize
what my heart knows.
The challenge is always, will I listen? Will I heed its calling? Or, will I
succumb to the pressures of the world ‘out there’ and listen to someone else’s
heartbeat telling me how to dance?
The original quote for No. 70 in this #ShePersisted Series painting was,
They said, You need to
back off and give us a break.
We’re doing our best.
She said, doing what you think
is best for me breaks my heart. You need
to back off so I can do what is
best for me.
When I showed C.C. the original version his comment was, “Oh. That seems a little aggressive.”
“Which part?” I asked. “What they said or her response?”
“What she said,” he replied.
“Isn’t that interesting,” I replied. “She’s just repeating his words back yet you think her words are aggressive.”
C.C. is a wise man. When he recognizes I’m going in for ‘the kill’ he knows it’s time to hear me. Deeply. He smiled. Nodded his head and said, “Hmmm… Interesting observation.”
Fact is. I don’t believe C.C. would be alone in his observations. I think many of us might think what she said was aggressive without realizing our biases. Even when I first wrote the quote I felt a tingle of discomfort as my critter-mind whispered, “She’s coming on a bit strong Louise.”
And here’s the thing. The #ShePersisted Series isn’t about ‘hitting people over the head with a bludgeon of truth’. It’s about cracking open minds and hearts, even just a little bit, with the obvious clarity of #ShePersisted truths so that new ways, new norms can blossom.
Just because ‘a body of power’ has always dictated someone/some cultural group/some body of colour behave in a certain way, does not mean it’s right or that it works. And, just because a body of power declares they know best how to fix it doesn’t mean that’s what needs to happen.
A body of power only holds power because historically, they’ve claimed it, owned it, preached it, ruled over it.
Shifting that body of power, or expanding it to include everyone, as the case may be, isn’t an easy task. It’s hard to give up what you’ve always had.
But, to create real and lasting change, to accede self-efficacy to the disadvantaged and disenfranchised requires a realization that ‘we’ don’t know what is best for others. Only they know what is on their heart, what they need, what they can do to create better in their world. For change to happen, an existing body of power must let go of believing they know best and let those whose lives have been limited by the rules of prevailing bodies of power for generation after generation find their own paths.
Which brings me to why I change the original version of this painting.
Firstly, I was very unhappy with her face. Faces are hard to paint — for me. I originally created this painting on Friday. I let it sit all weekend until late yesterday when I finally decided I needed to go back in and ‘fix’ it.
In the fixing, I reflected back on C.C.’s comments and decided he had a point. Being aggressive isn’t my style, nor the purpose of the Series. Being assertive. Making my point without name calling or naming names is also part of my vision for the Series.
So… I reworked her face (I’m much happier now). And, I reworked the quote.
And that’s where you come in. I am torn between the two quotes. I’d love your help in figuring out which one works best — sometimes my heart needs a little help to find its right beat.
So… please. Give me your feedback. What do you think? Anyone who comments (either here or on the thread on Facebook) will have their name put in a draw for… The prize… an 11 x 14″ print of No. 11 of the Series OR – 2 cards from available cards on my Etsy Shop – DareBoldlyArt (Winner’s preference.)
Thanks everyone for your help!