This is one of my new series on Enlightenment called Speaker. This uniquely feminine organ is a part of me I used to give a bad rap and politely disregarded. Well, no more. When I was very little, my first wish was to be a movie star - and a voluptuous one at that. I loved the lingerie, the makeup, the high heeled shoes. And somewhere along the line (in several places), I learned to become ashamed of my femininity.
Going to art school really sealed the lid shut. It just wasn't cool to paint anything feminine, especially if you were a female. And I bought that line and stayed that way for a very long time. It wasn't until a year ago that I had the courage to open the lid on that coffin and begin to let the female within me really glow.
Every male professor I had said the most outrageous things to me about my "decorative subject matter."
"Every young female painter is attracted to Egon Schiele's and Gustav Klimt's work. It's typical. Move beyond your cliché impulses."
"Your paintings look like pot holders."
"You can't see beyond your own navel."
Only one female visiting instructor was wise enough to look at my paintings as a whole, then went to each one and said, "This is you. This one's not you. This one's you., etc."
And there was only one male professor who looked at me and told me I was going to be a great mother someday. I think he meant it as a compliment and I took it that way.
But it was the most off-based comments given to me by my male instructors that I decided to shape myself towards.
For the next 20 years, painting was painful, brought back bad memories and enraged me. It was safer for me not to paint, because then I didn't have to hear those awful voices in my head. This was my choice.
She speaks now. She's aware of her gifts and abilities and nurtures them in gentle love. She's all girl. She's a superstar. This speaker's voice fertilizes herself over and over and over again.