If your new here, Welcome! If you’ve been around a while you’ll notice there hasn’t been much posted as of late. I’ve relocated three times in the past 8 months alone and I’m preparing for my fourth and final move for what I hope to be the last for a few years. This has caused a plethora of logistical issues when it comes to producing my works of art. The pandemic forced to make some hard choices to move from my beach home in Mexico back to my country of origin in Canada for more security. Since 2020 it’s been a nightmare securing safe/stable housing. From quarantining for 2 weeks upon my return to Canada, then moving in with some less than desirable roommates due to quarantine preventing me to view apartments. Then I had some pretty insane experiences renting my own apartment in Montreal from Slumlords. Laying roots in Canada, as a Canadian, was not as easy as it had been in all my previous pre-pandemic moves. I think this can show us all just how much the turbulence of the past few years has impacted every aspect of our lives in/out of our homelands. Most especially to those of us who rent instead of own property during the pandemic. Things that used to be simple/straightforward are now much more complicated and more expensive for far less quality due to un-sustainable ever expanding inflation rates.
I’ll share a bit more of my personal life with you today. In February of 2022 I moved from Montreal, Quebec to a rural area in Kananaskis Country where I grew up from 11-18. This is the longest I have ever lived in one place in my lifetime to date. My reason behind my move back to this property was to simply try to re-connect with a very broken family I came from. A Mother, Stepfather and Half Brother. Over the past 2 years I opened up a line of communication with my Mother long distance over the phone due to the restrictions around travel. I had been estranged from my entire family for the past 20 years and I wanted to test the temperature to see if they had changed their toxic ways. Isolation/Lockdowns gave me a lot of time to take heed and see things from a different perspective as an adult and no longer a child. I believe that if your family is still alive then it’s worth it to try to mend fences as well as you can. Do not seek perfection but try to find peace in your own way. Then you can truly know you personally left no stones unturned in your adult life. I had no idea what my birth Mother even looked like anymore, aside from a faded memory of her as a teen, I had no real concept of her likeness. I had a Stepfather (her husband) with whom I wanted to try to mend fences with as well to see if I could in fact be part of a traditional family nucleus for once in my life. I knew that if I could not make peace with her husband that this would put a strain on our relationship. They are a unit whether I ever liked this man or not and I have to find some way to respect that while also standing strong in my boundaries and morals.
The issues I had with my parents as a child where verbal/emotional abuse from my Stepfather and physical abuse inflicted onto me by my Mother. My Stepfather would tell me things like “Women are only good for three holes”. The physical abuse from my Mother was much more than a light spanking. It consisted of throwing pots, pans, hair pulling, and head slamming into cabinets from time to time. Whenever I wasn’t performing well in school I would receive disciplinary action. None of this discipline changed the fact that I only excelled at Art, often getting A’s or A+, and remained a very average pupil on all my other studies where I was passing but nothing extra. I ran away from home in my final year of High School to get away from that toxic home environment. When I wasn’t getting disciplined by my Mother I was getting screamed at by my Stepfather. I was getting screamed/threatened by my Stepfather much more than disciplined by my Mother and the words my Stepfather would use quite honestly started to hurt me more than the physical abuse. It became too much for me to take on alone and put me at a high risk for suicide which is why I left and never looked back… until now.
After decades past and a lot of therapy I came to the realization that I was no longer a helpless child anymore. I’d become a Woman somewhere along the line and I could face my demons head on and no longer hide from people that used to be toxic for me. Coming back to my childhood home in the country and confronting my parents was really important work I needed to do for me and for them to see that if I could change, then so could they. Or, so I’d hoped. I truly hoped that my growth and gesture to come back to The Ranch would inspire them to change for the better. By leading by example I could somehow help heal them and heal all of us together. This was incredibly un-realistic on my behalf and I’ve learned this the hard way over the course of this Summer. I find this important to share of anyone else going through similar conflicts in their lives.
Fate has reared it’s ugly head once again 7 months into my stay here. I am now in the process of relocating from the Ranch to the city of Calgary. A watershed and full circle moment for me in life. I have taken over a secondary house on my parents property since I came back home to reconnect. It’s beautiful but it’s quickly become a beautiful nightmare to live in each day. The situation here is grim and draining emotionally at present.
My Stepfather claims to be a proud “Male Chauvinistic Pig” , makes rape jokes in front of me (knowing I am a survivor of sexual assault which was the reason I created the “What is a Woman” art exhibition), yells, screams, threatens and bullies me into submission when I don’t do as he says around the Ranch. I’m not allowed to ask questions here, I’m expected to shut up and do as I’m told. This is no different to how I was raised by him. The problem is, I’m not submissive, weak and am 37 year old Woman, not a 7 year old girl. When my Stepfather tries to verbally/mentally abuse me now, I push back and don’t allow it, I disengage. This has caused a huge rift on the property between my Mother whom I tried very hard to get close to as this is her still husband that she chooses as her life partner and his behaviour has become somewhat normal for her to put up with. Me, on the other hand, cannot put up with any Man doing anything but being supportive to Women.
There is so much more but this would be a novel and not a blog if I where to continue further down the line. I’ll save the rest of this story for if/when I write a book one day and after I’ve had more time in therapy to heal from these recent events so I can speak on it from a less emotional place. It’s truly impossible to get to the bottom of anything when your in the middle of it. Right now, I’m in the middle of it all so I only see what’s in front of me. For the time being I wanted to share this post to show people that you really don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life unless you really know them. Assuming you know someone without knowing them from day to day is a façade. Even worse, to use Social Media images as a barometer to measure someone’s success in life is incredibly regressive in thought. Your assumptions in life will be the death of you. To truly know a situation is not to assume.
There are four things that have been getting me through one of the hardest emotional and artistic processes of my life. My dogs unwavering loyalty, my friends who have proven themselves to be my family time and time again, Art and my creativity. For without fostering my creativity over the past 2 years, using the negative I’ve been handed and turning it into my next art story I would truly have no hope and lost all my inspiration. Art gives me hope, it should give you hope as well. Hold onto that hope dearly. If it seems like your creativity (or the appreciation of creativity) is all that’s all you have in life, hold onto it even more dearly because that means you have found some semblance of value. There is something waiting to be discovered and it’s up to you to make sense of it all your own way, by sharing your vision with the world and leaving a mark, no matter how small/big. One mark is all that it takes to leave an impression.
For anyone else dealing with toxic parents (adolescent/adult) this video by Kati Morton has really helped me find sanity by making sense of madness as my therapist isn’t available 24/7. It’s helped me become more realistic in my choices and expectations moving forward when it comes to how I proceed with my parents.
“What is a Woman” Art Exhibition is coming soon, the full 20 piece mixed media exhibition will go live on the site in September of 2022. To prove to all the Male chauvinists out there that Women are in fact more useful than the holes in their bodies and should not solely be valued by their bodies or stroking the Male ego.