It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been in the studio. It feels good to be in sacred space and stretch my spirit and allow creativity to flow.
I like to read, like everyday. If it’s not news articles then it’s books about art, society, and culture. I’ll let you in on a secret, I was functionally illiterate until I was discovered by a 7th grade remedial reading teacher. My life long secret (13 yrs at that time) was up. I was found out. That woman, Ms Mobly stood before me and saw me. It was at that moment that she crafted her medicine, created safe space and held me. After school she tutored me for an entire school year and taught me not only to read but to comprehend what I was reading. She ignited my mind. It was on fire!
How the f&ck can that happen? How could you go so long, be passed from grade to grade and no one knew?
They knew I was a D & F student. They were more concerned that I attend speech therapy because my southern, Creole, Native American speech, vernacular and sound was not like the other children. They passed me along anyway.
I’m was a biracial child in a suburban schools system. You see, my father was a Creole Arcadian Frenchmen and my mother was Scottish & Norwegian. My ancestors roots run deep in Louisiana & Texas. The Creole term,originally, meant Arcadian French and Spanish mixed people. Now it’s evoked to mean French and mixed. Well, through the generations of my family tree let’s add genetic inheritance of Italian, Portuguese, African and Native American. Modern technology, ancestors DNA and a couple of decades of genealogy research has revealed a great deal.
However, in the 60’s when my parents married in Texas and left the south due to racial discrimination and tensions to Omaha, they faced discrimination their entire lives together and so too did us kids.
I do believe it was a combination of discrimination, school policy and practices that delayed my academics. I had an academic advisor once tell me I was only bred for manual labor and not to bother with college.
Now fast forward not only can I read and not only did I pass 7th grade with A’s and B’s but I went on in life and earned my Bachelors degree & Masters. What I find most intriguing, it was in Adult Education and Instructional Design. It’s the fascination in how we learn and how we develop strategies for learning that inspires me.
So back to today, back in the studio painting.
I am working on a portrait of my daughter Lily. As I’m painting, mixing colors, I am contemplating the messages of inclusion, equality, justice, education, hold space for each other, love humans that I gave her throughout her life… all the experiences of subtle and explicit hate, discrimination and being marginalized that I experienced and the hope she nor anyone else has to experience through sharing my stories, sharing the stories of her grandparents and ancestors.
Share your stories. Hold space for each other. Hold one another in love and acceptance. See each other.
Lily helped me paint her face. However, it’s not her we see. Is this an ancestor coming forward through paint? Who is she? Has she been hidden out of sight and unseen? Time will tell what spirit came forward.
I see you. I hold space for you. I love you. BLM