T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. Part III: A Year Later

An old post of mine has been getting traffic the last couple of days. It is the worst time in the world for people to be reading that post. T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. Part I I deleted, but I kept Part II because I made the clarification that I was specifically talking about the phrase itself not the issue.

You guys, I messed up. Part I was so stupid and oblivious I deleted it a while ago, but Part II being read right now in this context makes me want to cry. For those of you who haven’t read it, I talk about how the phrase The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody made me think about abortion. It’s true that that is what I thought when I heard it, and that there is something powerful and universal about the statement. Right now though, that is the worst possible thing out of anything i have ever written that anyone could read.

Last week, a man died, and it was filmed. Still, the murderer did not get charged for two days at least? Then, when he did get charged, it was for third degree, and we all saw that it was not third degree. The sad thing is it was almost not surprising that this would happen! It is monstrous, and yet, it happens every couple months again.

Now, there is rioting in the streets, peaceful protestors getting injured by police officers, and people throwing hate at each other like candy at Christmas time. All because this small percent of the population doesn’t think this needs to stop.

I just want to scream, WHAT THE F*** IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE???!!!

I got accused of white shaming because I said I have white privilege and the same person has been commenting on half my posts complaining about how we need to trust our police officers. NO. When our police officers are committing murder on film and almost getting away with it, we do not have to trust them.

When our freaking president thinks it’s ok to use violence for a photo op, we do not have to accept that.

When babies are growing up in a world where they don’t know if they will survive until their eighteenth birthday, WE DO NOT HAVE TO TRUST THE PEOPLE HURTING THEM!

What I should have said when I saw The Hate U Give is that this movie wrecked me. I sat in silence and horror for an hour afterwards. A million thoughts were rushing through my head. Accusations toward myself about ways I had been racist without knowing it, questions about whether things were racist or not, fear because I don’t know many black people so I didn’t even know where to start to learn how to help.

What I can say now, is that I didn’t hide. I spoke up, and I was stupid in the way I said it. I’m not going to take down Part II now because it’s part of my story, and this furthers it, but I am going to say I didn’t get what I was doing. I get it now. I was an idiot. I spent time this year watching movies, listening to music, reading stories to help me understand, and meditating on what I heard. I did not hide from what The Hate U Give did to me. I leaned into it and learned from it. I am still learning from it.

I am sorry for every single time I did not get it. I am sorry for the times I made this worse. I am sorry for all the times that I am not responsible for, but that still happened and are monstrous and evil. What I should have said when I saw The Hate U Give is I am so sorry that this is your reality and I cannot even comprehend the amount of pain that I am in over this, let alone what you must live with every single day. I am so, so, so, sorry that this is your life, and I want to help. I can’t fix it alone, but I wish I could. What I can do is stand here with you, educate myself, and scream out that what is happening to you is wrong, and do everything I can to help make the change. I am so so sorry.

With love,

SG

The Tapestries(from PEACEWEAVER)

While I was practicing yoga regularly, I redecorated my home. My tastes were bohemian, but I was concerned about surrounding myself with tapestries made in India about gods I do not understand. I searched for Catholic art, but I could not find anything that even remotely hit the style I was seeking. What’s more is that everything was the traditional Catholic paintings that I had grown up surrounded by, the ones that embraced suffering so fully that it was all I could feel when I saw them. Other people may not have the history I have with them, but there is a lot of pain and confusion for me in the typical Catholic art. As I continued to search I eventually found a few pieces I really loved, but they were so expensive I had no hope that I could afford them within the next century. I was so angry at how expensive everything was, and so frustrated that I finally decided to just get the Indian tapestries, but I would only get the ones that had a strong Christian spiritual meaning for me.

I chose a popular yellow tapestry with the symbol for Aum in the center because of how God had revealed Himself to me in their philosophy, a tapestry of elephants-which God had used to help me pray about some issues in my life, and a peacock tapestry that as far as I could tell was not associated with any deities. I treasured these tapestries. I took every picture in front of them, I planned which one I was going to use in the baby’s room, when I hopefully someday got a nursery. I laid them on the bed gingerly when I needed color in my room during long periods of stress. I designed my bedroom around them when I was pregnant with my first child.

As my two babies grew into toddlers, they used to love to play with the tapestries. During a time of particularly difficult post partum depression and hormone balance aggravated by what I can only ascribe to spiritual warfare, my oldest pulled on the corner of one that I had awkwardly hanging from the curtain rod in our basement apartment. It shredded down the whole side. She had pulled on it before leaving little rips, but this time the whole thing was shredded. A postpartum rage rippled over me and a she ran giggling to the other room, I ripped the tapestry in half, holding my breath while I cried so she wouldn’t hear me.

It occurred to me that that particular tapestry was probably not a great one to have around kids. My husband and I knew and understood the reason I had it and what it meant, but my girls would not for a long time. I threw the remains of it away mourning the independence I had lost. I cried too about how in motherhood the pretty pieces of art I loved were getting destroyed, the worst was a painted bowl I ate from for practically every meal. It was a bag of chunks of ceramic now, and it broke my heart.

The thought that the girls would not understand the tapestries stuck with me. For about a month I prayed and thought about it until in a progesterone and anxiety and spiritual dark night induced haze I pulled them all down and threw them all out. I kept the peacock one a little longer because it didn’t have a deity, but one day in another of these turbulent days I read on google there was a cult that worshipped Satan in a dark blue peacock, so I threw everything in my house that had a peacock on it away. (I found out later that the peacock is a symbol for Jesus so take that for what it’s worth.)

I honestly don’t know if it was wrong for me to have the tapestries in the first place or not, God knew it was about Him. I think maybe it was ok for me, but not my kids who were too young to understand and impressionable. As I began to do yoga and decorate again, I got alternating answers from God, yes yoga, no idols, yes art, no misleading art. I began to pray that God would help me create art that would meet that desire for color I had, and that He would help me to help others with the same struggle.

At first I thought maybe His answer was no. I started finding all these Catholic artists who were amazing. Plus, what I was trying to do with tapestries wasn’t working. I was painting, and when I did I prayed beforehand. When I work on any art, it is a prayer with the Holy Spirit, I ask Him for help and sometimes I can feel His guidance, sometimes I can’t, but the best is when I dive see the plan and it suddenly turns into something amazing and I can’t take credit for it. I went through a phase where nothing was working, these weird amalgamations of color sort of happened and took over everything I tried to make.

I hated them, and I felt so down on my work, Until a few months later, when I realized that the paintings resemble the crystals and nature art I love so much, but are all actually connected to God. I could not wait to buy every single one(but I had to because we were on a low income budget with toddlers. 🤦🏽‍♀️) What’s more is I already had them available to buy as tapestries. When I built my page on a website I didn’t even know had tapestries, I allowed them but it did not even occur to me that this was an answered prayer. Months later, in the middle of the night I woke up and realized I had created a line of bohemian tapestries that were rooted in God and not gods. The tapestries I needed 5 years ago. I laughed to myself once again about how the Holy Spirit works, and wrote this out for Him.

Selah

Note: This post is not meant to be a promotional post, but if you are interested in my tapestries they are available at https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/julia-odonnell

Festivals and Contests

Do you know of any festivals or contests that artists can enter right now? Let me know so I can add them!

ENGAGE Art Contest Deadline June 30

This contest was in place before COVID but it’s theme from Ephesians is so fitting for the strange time we are in. Thousands of dollars in prizes are being given out. Submissions are free, and they have an app that sends you Scripture verses of encouragement every day

Home

Kataro Festival Deadline May 21

Kataro is unique in that every artist that submits is going to get the same percentage of the profits. This is not about competing it is about collaboration.

The theme of Kataro is “waiting” and it was made in response to the time of waiting we all seem to be in now. Submissions are free!

https://facebook.com/events/s/kataro-a-virtual-creative-fest/3433392876690752/?ti=icl

#Throughfire

As Quarantine began, the community led by Catholic Creatives exploded with innovators inspired to help others through their struggles. We faced our own giants of fear and trepidation, but something in us drove us to community and fellowship. My desire was to fill social media with art to help with the constant deluge of news all over our feeds. I went to Catholic Creatives who had a similar desire and together we launched the #throughfire.

We asked that you create art and share it on every form of social media. Now, the quarantine is at an awkward point of being kind of over but not really, and #throughfire is changing. Catholic Creatives must get back to their daily projects, so suzannagoretti.com will be the new home for the project. I will be sharing your art and hopefully getting to talk to you as you create it. I hope to get all kinds of projects involved so we can all see how many of us are joining together to walk through fire hand in hand.

Please continue to share your amazing works, so that we can keep this fire going. Thank you for all you are doing to bring Beauty to the darkness.

For the Jen Fulweiler’s of the Quarantine

Dear Jen Fulweiler’s of the Quarantine,

You all requested that if we are living our best life in quarantine you need us to lie, because you are struggling.

Here’s some truth, I’m not doing well. Not today. I was living my best life in quarantine, but the end of it is coming and I am falling apart. I suck at everything about capitalism and the type of motherhood that comes with it. I may have thrived with my husband home, but my thriving is about to be done. In approximately three and a half days, I go back to sucking at life.

The truth is, I do not have it all together, not even a little bit. I had it all together for a little while because I wasn’t alone. I had someone to bounce my crazy thoughts off, someone to encourage me when I was feeling low, or take over when I need to tap out. In those conditions, I can be a rockstar, I can soar and touch the clouds.

Alone? Alone I have a patience gene the size of non existence. Alone I make it through the day with desperate prayers and tv cuddles. Alone I am at the mercy of the toddlers and my own physical well-being that day. There’s no one to tap out to if my head feels like it is splitting open if it’s own accord, or if all I can do is grit my teeth to not scream at the 100th toddler shriek.

In three days, my darkness begins again. I’ll be ok because Jesus will be with me, but it is so freaking hard to be alone with toddlers all the time. I can’t go to my car to find the quiet, I can’t stop. I just keep going.

So yeah, I may have lived my best life in quarantine, but in the grand scheme of things quarantine was only a few weeks, and I really needed that win.

Love,

Me

The Man in the Moon

What if God is the man in the moon?

What if He loved us so much that His Son’s

Presence was not enough of a present.

What if He wanted to send His own face,

To watch over us, mourning our grief from above.

Write Where it Hurts: Quarantine

Quarantine.

For some of you it’s a dirty word.

For some it’s despair.

For some it’s loss and grief incomparable.

For me? It’s life.

For me, it was hope.

For me, it was a home

With incandescent joy and bliss.

Published piece: Threads of Hope

Hey faithful readers,

I got published! I wrote a piece for Radiant on hope, and I also got to read it on an open mic night for them and Ever Eden. Here’s a little teaser and a link to read it.

I woke in a puddle of blood. As I rushed to the bathroom, tendrils curling around my legs, I felt my fear coming into stark reality. She was gone. We had lost Emma three years before, and this pregnancy was just long enough (31 weeks) for the process to be my worst nightmare. Shaking uncontrollably at what was to come, I woke my husband. We haphazardly gathered our belongings and rushed to the hospital

Read the rest at: https://radiantmagazine.com/2020/04/22/threads-of-hope/

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