Rejection of the Feminine
My art has become so much more than me finding peace with my physical body. It is my way of figuring out the feminine. When I started seeing my psychologist she said she’d had a look at my work and suggested that there was clearly some wounding there. At the time I didn’t understand the depths of what she meant, but years later I do.
For a long time, I’ve had some deep-seated body image issues and to me, that's what my art was about. I’d noticed (as I’ve spoken about before) the disconnect between how I see other bodies as beautiful and mine as never good enough. Many can relate, of course. We’ve been taught to dislike this physical part of ourselves. I began painting self-portraits as a way to honour and accept my body. This is how my Body Portrait offering came about. I’d created a way of getting vulnerable enough to face some hard stuff and turned it into a piece of art for myself. So, I began to do this for others, offering them a safe space to feel seen, work through things and celebrate themselves. Everyone comes with different challenges or ideas but in the end, the Body Portrait practice is an honouring of the vessel which allows us to experience this world.
I hadn’t realised but I’d rejected so much more than the physical feminine. I’d made it wrong to be a woman in the world and who can blame me? This is a world made for men. More personally though I come from a “broken” family; when I was little Dad left, leaving behind three women. That was my perspective and I decided that he must not like women so in seeking his acceptance and love, I distanced myself from the things I associated with womanhood. Add this to being the youngest in a house where Mum was angry as fuck and I had a sister who was developing way ahead of her years, physically, emotionally and sexually. I was so confused. I saw women use what they could to get by, to survive. I heard them say things I knew they didn’t mean. I learned that life as a woman was hard, and I’d better look after myself because no one else would. I observed their manipulation and feared being used. I saw women struggle.
My rejection of the feminine was and still is in some ways so much deeper than I had realised. I was asked a little while back, “Is there an event in your life that defines you, that affects how you are in the world?” I realised it was still my Dad leaving 25 years ago. I need to let this go, to move from this way of being into one which allows all aspects of the feminine to be present. There’s no one way of being or expressing “her” but I’m here for all of it.