It is so interesting to reflect upon journal entries from years gone by, to rediscover that which one values and perhaps has lost sight of. Perspective is everything..maybe timing is too. This journal entry was written while I was in the hospital and immobilized on the eve of a new year and also a new collection. Which one? The Forgotten Project. In January 2006, with cast still on, I remember wobbling around the studio (despite doctor's orders), and beginning the first six of sixty-nine 8'x10' portraits of the missing and murdered women from the downtown Eastside of Vancouver- an area covering a six block radius just east of the financial district. Known as the 'poorest postal code', the DTES, comprised of a marginalized community that was (and perhaps still is), largely viewed as inconsequential and disposable over the course of time when women would disappear and authorities continued to ignore the issue.
Well, I can continue down this road and share with you in detail, the atrocity in which I believe we as a society were ultimately the cause of, however, this post is more about having the courage and desire to say something about it, confronting society with our role in the tragedy. Having found the courage to do so wasn't easy. At the time I began sharing this idea, discussing the project with my mentor, friends, collectors and public figures, I was generally told that in doing so, creating this collection, I would hurt my reputation. Well, that was 2006--its now 2017--and I can say most people were correct, but at the onset and throughout the creation of this collection, I held steadfast to my reasons for doing so, and ultimately broke down over the five year period with the final scene, the crescendo, being my first major museum show censored and finally cancelled. There was deliberate bullying and threats, conferences and speaking opportunities overturned, to a point I required a security guard AND my son- on the advice of the police, was to stay away from the studio.In addition, the program I had started at a shelter in the area, removed my name from it and changed the course title, as women in the program were given a message to me that if I was to venture in the area that I would get beat up. It was a very stressful time, my heart ached, I was shamed and eventually, I crashed and burned.
BUT this journal entry in particular, was so pure of heart and very much naive to all of what I experienced. These were my thoughts and words that describe a very courageous time and I guess the reason I am sharing it is because of the last two entries and what I currently seek. I realized I have once known what it is to love oneself and it is something I endeavour to find once again. There is hope!
And she writes:
:: 12.31.2005 ::
It is of a timely manner to walk a thousand steps until one cannot walk any further. As I lay in bed in the eve of a new year, I truly am immobilized to some extend, for a good six weeks. I have been on these feet so many hours that I am afraid my last trip to Europe has caused me to walk until I could no longer do so without pain. Somehow the physical manifestation that tells me' slow down' is just what I need to digest what I have learned in a year.
..to finally realize a vision of painting so freely before an expansive canvas without a glimpse of fear, to have the courage to find one's voice in private and prepare it to share with the world...to affect change in another. To realize what is important to me and what fades to grey and how deep an ocean of possibilities can be. It is in choosing to dive, in choosing to try, to expand and realize that all you ever wanted is yours for the wanting. That self-worth is as necessary as self-esteem. That trusting oneself leads to an ability to trust another and no advice is better than your own, for it is your life and somehow you are involved in that creation. That accepting things you cannot change as they are and having the courage to change what you can. To forgive and to love..yourself.
..and life, with all of its pain and suffering guides us to a way through. It is through love.