I have been exploring what inspires me and I found women to be the number one inspiration. I look at the work I have done and I always feel like it is overwhelmingly feminine. I find myself saying that I need to do some men to balance out what I have. One day I was watching this video of Bisa Butler talking about why she is drawn to work with men images.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFY0KOgmu_U&t=214s As I listened to her, I realized that I am drawn to work with women.
Why? The first thought I had was because my mother died when I was young and I was internally seeking to fill that void. I think that is true. The second thought I had was that so many really great women have been in my life and influenced my thoughts and actions. That is very true as well. Lastly, I thought that women are the largest subject of my work because I can relate so wholeheartedly to their pain. And that is the biggest reason of all that I am inspired to create work that gives women a voice that I think we so desperately need.
We seemed to be hard wired to fall down and get back up, while making very little fuss about it. I remember hearing someone say about Mammograms that if men had to suffer something as uncomfortable as that - another method would be quickly devised. Then I heard much talk circulating about how uncomfortable a prostate exam was. I stress WAS. Now men can get a prostate check through a simple blood test. No more probing. Wow, we are still being pressed into a flat iron without the heat.
I explored some of that inspiration in the book "Inspired by Her". I talk about many of the great women who inspired my life from my friends mothers, my sisters, my teachers and my cousins. I realized that their stories and my stories merged. I have felt their pain along with my own. I have felt their complexity along with my own. I have rejoiced and cried along side so many of them.
Janice Liddell wrote a beautiful play called "Who Will Cry For Lena." When I saw that play I realized that it is so important that we tell our stories. No one can do it for us and we are the best ones to do it. Our stories are important. If we don't tell our stories the younger generations will think that what they are experiencing is new and special to them and their circumstances. They will wrongly think that they are the only ones that have ever gone through what they are going through. They will think that there are no answers for us. We have not been taught to share our stories but that has to change. Otherwise others will think that nothing can change and it can. That change starts with us, speaking up telling our stories whether it be in prose, short stories, plays, novels and of course pictorial art.
I first started with my hat ladies. It must have been because those were some of my earliest memories of strong women in the church. Women who dressed so lovely and wore awesome hats that I looked up at as a young child.
That brought me to the next book "The Women Who Fly" which gave me the chance to talk seriously about some of our falling down and getting back up. I encourage women to first acknowledge that your story is important, to you, to me, to young women, to men and believe it or not to the world.
Let's tell those stories ladies!!!! Let's inspire each other!!!! Let's hold each other close!!!!