Today is International Women’s Day. I have been considering how I wanted to celebrate women and womanhood for the last couple of months. And when I looked up today, I felt like I got here empty handed. I have no big events, no special works of art, no videos. But recognizing the day here on my blog felt important to me. Sure there are other places I can recognize it, on Facebook or by doing something profound for a girl or woman, but I kept feeling called to my blog because I know it is viewed by people all over the world. And so, in a way, it is a portal to countries and cultures that I could never reach otherwise.
So, I have been sitting quietly in my studio thinking of the web of women who find their ways here and to the men who connect with us as well. We all have a story of some female who has inspired us. Perhaps an encounter or series of encounters that formed some beautiful part of ourselves, that inspired us to love woman-kind with a bit more depth and sincerity.
It may not be surprising, but my mother was one of those women for me. Her name was Charlotte, and she taught me a great deal about creativity. She always had a project she was working on, something she was cooking, sewing, arranging, or planting. And at one point in her life, she even took up painting.
Painting wasn’t easy for my mom. She had not been brought up with lots of praise or a foundation of can-do thinking. But, she had a dream to be a painter. I remember feeling amazed with her courage. I knew, even though I was quite young, that what she was doing, making marks on the canvas in hopes that they might resemble something of the physical world, was one of the most brave things she had ever done. She was jumping out onto the nakedness of the paper and creating something out of absolutely nothing. It was magic!
And I saw it transform her. There was generally an air of stress around my mother. She suffered from intense migraines that nearly debilitated her. But when she painted, it seemed as if a valve opened up which allowed her to breath with a bit more ease. Her confidence began growing, joy seemed to bloom in her life. She hung her paintings on the walls of our home and began giving them to friends and family. So many people were touched by her willingness to reach within and share herself with the world.
Her paintings were Texas landscapes and seascapes. She loved the outdoors, so her art expressed her passions. Somehow, she felt more alive. I knew I was witnessing something out of the ordinary. It felt like I was witnessing a healing of my mother.
After her passing, I felt lost for several years. I had been in theatre for most of my life, but moved away from that for more serious studies. I remember feeling that I was experiencing something close to writers block without my expressive outlet. I felt cut off from my creative spirit and longed to return to a time of peace in my life.
I found myself in a women’s healing circle soon after my realization. I asked that day to be connected with my creativity. I felt like I needed it desperately, because I needed that same kind of healing I had witnessed in my mother. As the next several weeks passed, I felt the block melting away.
I began indulging my creativity. I explored drawing and sculpting, dancing and writing. Eventually I started sharing my story with others. I noticed quickly that when others found out that I had resurrected creativity in my life, they often began doing the same for themselves. Creativity was contagious.
I began facilitating women’s healing circles and enjoyed holding a space for others to experience transformation in their lives. This blog has become an extension of those circles, a safe space where women and men can connect with the creative spirit within and with like-minded souls who value the exquisite journey creativity has to offer.
And so today, I celebrate International Women’s Day by remembering my mother and the courage she had to express herself even when so many messages growing up told her she shouldn’t. I am grateful for having witnessed the shift it created in her life so that I could begin my own personal transformation and go on to create a space that upholds the curative qualities of art and creative community.
I hope my story encourages you to think of the many women who have touched your path. I would be honored if you would consider sharing about them in the comments so that we can be blessed by them as well.