The Cultural Center of Wyoming
ABOUT THE ARTIST
When I was first presented with the title for this show “Turning Point”, I was looking for the flashy, big, ah-ha moment. Some big event that changed everything. Something I could point to and be like “There, that was the turning point. That was the moment everything changed.” So, I started looking for that moment. I mean, there have been a lot of life changing big moments in the last year and a half of my life. Like a lot. There was the moment that he pulled me out of my car by my hair and hit me. That moment certainly changed everything. But we were broken for a long time before that moment. And I don’t want to be defined by that moment. Then there was the day I found the courage to tell another human being what had happened to me. That I was planning on leaving. That moment changed everything. But I had already made up my mind at that point. I would like to think I would have done it with or without the support of that person. And then there was the day we packed up all our things and left. That day certainly changed everything. Or the day I got my first job after leaving. Or the day I filed for divorce. The day I moved into my own apartment. The day just last month that my divorce was finalized. These were all big, life changing, critical moments. And yes, they were important, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that the real turning points were the small, seemingly insignificant moments that added up to big things. There never was that single big life changing moment. One turning point. Rather, the real turning points I want this show to be about are the ones that have happened inside of me.
Change is a funny thing. In my experience it happens slowly. One step, one little shift at a time. Sometimes it is hard to recognize. I’ve been on this healing journey for the last 3 years. It started fairly innocently when I started seeing an energy healer for help with PPD. I just wanted to sleep and get help with my anxiety. It sounded kooky, but I was willing to try anything at that point. I liked how it made me feel and I kept going. I still remember the moment she looked at me gently, but firmly and told me something in my life needed to change. “Most days you don’t even like yourself.” She said. I still remember those words so clearly. I wanted to tell her she was a liar. I wanted to tell her I loved myself. Of course, I did. You’re supposed to love yourself, right? But I realized sitting on that reiki table in my friend’s house that she was right. I didn’t like myself. I didn’t put myself first or take good care of myself because I didn’t think I was worthy of that. That was the moment I decided to take this healing thing seriously. That was one of those turning points for me. Since then I have done so much internal work. I struggle to find the words to tell you what it has been like because it’s been years in the making. Years of tiny little changes. They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And it does. So I started taking small, unsure steps. I started meditating regularly. I started paying attention to the things I said to and about myself, making sure they were the messages I wanted my brain to believe. I started making myself a priority. I started carving out time every day to do something just for me. With a young child at home, it wasn’t easy. But I kept working at it. I started finding the things I loved about myself and started focusing on them instead of the things that bothered me. And then I went deeper. With the help of an EMDR therapist, I started exploring the traumas that made me who I am. It was almost like getting to know myself after being strangers with the woman in the mirror for so long. This has been my focus especially in the last year. Finding and sitting with these pieces of me and integrating them into a whole, complete me. Again, these changes happened slowly, over the course of years. But I look back and I can’t even begin to tell you the many ways I’ve shifted and changed and grown. I want you to look at the title piece of this show for a minute. When I started this journey, it was like my whole life was black and white. It lacked fulfillment. It lacked joy. It lacked color. Which as an artist, I find that completely devastating. Over the last 3 years I have started intentionally adding the colors I want to be. Or maybe in some ways I started to discover colors that were already there. That maybe I had become blind to. It was like building myself from scratch while also learning who I’ve always been. There’s still some black and gray in this painting. Pieces that are still missing. I’m still working on that woman and maybe it’s something I’ll be working on for the rest of my life. But I can tell you with everything in me that I genuinely like myself now. I’m slowly learning to love myself and that’s the real turning point.
A friend recently asked me what this show really means to me. This show is everything. This show is me. It’s all those little shifts that have happened inside of me. It’s me processing where I’ve been and where I’m going. It’s the last year and a half of my life. Coming out of an abusive relationship, going through a messy divorce, learning how to function as a single mom. This show is me exploring who I let myself become, who I worked hard to become, and who I want to be. It’s me learning to love every single piece and part of me, especially the difficult pieces. This is me, holding space for myself. Giving myself a place to be honest, and real, and vulnerable. A place to say things that there aren’t words for. This is me finding my voice, taking my power back. This is my turning point.