Strong of back. Soft of heart. #shepersisted No 75

No. 75 #ShePersisted Series – They said, you gotta be strong like us to change the world. She said, being strong like you won’t change the world for the better. We all need to be strong of back, soft of heart to create a better world together.

It is something I find fascinating about this dance with the muse I enter into every time I step into my studio, or sit at my desk, or go for a walk, or lie in the bath… OK. Maybe that should read, this dance with the muse I live everyday.

I don’t ask for her presence. She just is. There. Here. Everywhere. Within and all around me.

I also don’t ‘ask’ for ‘the words’ for the #shepersisted series to come. They simply appear. Sometimes, they come without need of editing. Sometimes, they form as a sentiment calling to be expressed, asking me to massage the words into deeper meaning. To find that meaning, I often have to go through the journey of creating the visual message first.

And then, there are days like yesterday when the words appear before I even enter the studio. They arrive in my mind, full of fleshy substance, carrying with them a deep compelling desire to be brought into visual being.

On those days, like yesterday, there is nothing I can do to dissuade or convince the muse I have other things to do.

I must heed her urgings. I must create.

And here’s the thing. While I don’t intentionally ask for or summon up the words, there is an intentionality to the creation of the artwork.

For example, beneath the layers of paint, the foundational background of No. 75 was created by using a rubber mat, the kind you put in the bottom of a sink to protect dishes. It’s all flowers and butterflies. To begin, I placed it on the blank white page and sprayed purple ink over it. When lifted, the page was covered in white flowers and butterflies between purple splotches.

The use of a kitchen sink mat is intentional.

It signifies that moniker I keep grating against yet still succumb to thinking is mine to take care of. That ubiquitous thing called…’women’s work’.

Yeah. I know. Division of labour and all that but the fact remains, while advances have been made over the past 40 years, women continue to do the majority of unpaid household work and continue to spend more time at it than men. Even more significant, COVID has caused many of women’s advancements to be lost, pushing women out of the workfoce, back into the home.

From kitchen mat to boardroom table, women continue to face obstacles that impede their rights, their opportunities, their independence, their health, wealth and well-being.

For me, the #shepersisted Series is my personal statement of ‘ENOUGH’.

Enough of playing by the rules. Of being, polite not forthright, assertive not aggressive, ladylike not badass girl-power running wild at the frontlines of making change happen now.

Seriously. Do men ever get told it’s not ‘manlike’ to ask for what they want? To be assertive, yes. Aggressive no. (watch for a yet to be created No. 76 on that one!)

The muse is not done with the #ShePersisted Series.

Neither am I.

But then, I’m not done with changing the world either.

How about you?

Have you had enough? No matter your gender identification, are you willing to stand up, give voice and make change happen for everyone?

None of us can do it alone. But together? We are a mighty voice. A powerful force. An unstoppable collective.

#choosetochallenge #speakupforinclusion #weareallinthistogether #strongtogether #womensvoicesmatter #girlpower

I have tolerated bad behaviour. It’s time to change. #BeBoldforChange

I have tolerated a lot of bad behaviour in my life.

I have had men hit on me with the promise to support my career if I slept with them.

I have had men offer money for sex, because I was standing in a hotel lobby by myself or walking down the street at night.

I have had men ask me to take notes at a meeting, not because that was my role, but because I was a woman.

I have had men ask me to grab them a coffee, again, not because that was my job, but because I was a woman.

And, I have had men tell me crude jokes, or make suggestive comments on the phone, confident they will not be corrected, abraded, or called out.

Sure, it may seem small potatoes in the big picture of the pressing dangers women face all over the world, everyday. Rape, war, violence against women and  female genitalia disfiguration and so many other inhumane practices that do not serve our humanity well.

But, gender based biases where I allow bad behaviour to be the norm, or laugh them off with a wave of my prettily manicured hand and shrug as if to say, “Oh well. Boys will be boys,” does not change anything.

Boys will be boys and they deserve so much more than being the target of women’s ire and disdain.

Thank you Ghandi. We need to BE the change we want to see in the world.

Change depends on our doing the small things and the big things.

Change depends on our not tolerating the innuendoes and the sexual assaults.

Change needs us to speak up in the face of discriminatory practices and to yell out, loud and strong, when faced with attacks on our sex, gender preferences, race and faith.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is:  Be Bold for Change!

My #ShePersisted painting for this day is about being brash, loud and bold.

It’s about wearing whatever we want, without fearing reprisal.

It’s about speaking up, without fearing being shut down.

It’s about being bold, without fearing being emblazoned with labels that denigrate our femininity, sexuality and humanity.

Let’s each of us, men and women, rise up in support of our sisters (and brothers too) for whom real life dangers continue to threaten their rights and lives, everyday.

And let’s each of us, men and women, do the small things today that create positive change in our lives, everyday, for everyone.

Let’s stop tolerating bad behaviours. Let’s start doing the right things for one another.