The Child Venus – Giving permission to run

This is part of my project Venus is Rising, which include selected thoughts on acknowledgement and separation from the patriarch, and the emergence of the acceptance of my feminine self:

One of the focuses in my life has been that of perception.  I am continually questioning what I see and understand, because the mind is a very powerful thing. I’ve always done that, but am now doing it with conscious purpose.

The latest artwork has to do with perception, how I experienced life as a young child, how I saw the world around me, how could I change it?

I think I’ve grown a lot. I am not longer the subservient-insecure-afraid-of-her-own-shadow-please-love-me-I’ll-do-anything-you-ask-how-can-I-please-you kind of person. In a recent email, my sister, who is eight years older, called that “respect” and wishes that person would return.

I do not.

The latest artwork explores me as a child. As I was painting it, I thought it was self-indulgent. I have never painted myself specifically before, never really gave my own self obvious attention. It was necessary however, as I tried to talk to that little girl of about two years old staring out at me from the old photograph. That photograph was a photo of the original and was starting to fade, like the memories it inspired.

The particular photograph I used has a story on it which involves my father telling me that I ruined it, because I would not smile like my brother and sister. It was the only picture that was ever displayed in the house of us three together, besides those yearly school pictures – it was a continual reminder of how I failed as a member of the family, failed to conform.

I was very sensitive as a child, some said overly so, but I did take to heart very seriously what people felt or thought. I took on the responsibility for others’ feelings and actions, and trembled at any sort of discord.

I don’t think I am alone in these feelings. I think there are others who are looking to find and connect with their own child.

I spoke to that little girl as I was painting her. Many times I almost quit, but I recognized there was a symbolic act in giving her this attention. Her face through the process went from sad, to insecure and scared, to angry to as she is now, I feel her being calm and confident.

The Child Venus, acrylic and charcoal painting on board 4'x4'
I told her there will always be others happy to lay blame on anyone else, doesn’t matter who, to avoid taking responsibility for themselves and their feelings. I told her it was not her place to accept that. I told her that things would be okay, that there will always be people in this world who did not appreciate her, and that they were not worth her time or effort. And on the other hand, there were going to be many jewels of personality that she would be thrilled to know and trust. I told her to stand up straight and not to be afraid to be strong, and explained that being strong means doing and saying things that might not be popular. I told her that being popular was over-rated, that being popular meant there was an implied requirement to conform, with the threat of popularity being withdrawn if you didn’t.

I told her no one was perfect, and that that was okay. It wasn’t being perfect that was important, it was being kind. I told her that she was a nice girl, she had a giving heart, and that will always win in the end, because there really are people who prefer truth and honesty.  I gave her all the hugs and smiles she ever wanted.

I told her that there will always be that big sunny field where she could run and play and sing and cry and stare at the sky making animals from the clouds. I told her to go run and play now, that all would be okay.

Upon reflection, I realized that field was always important to me. Whenever I came to a turning point in my life, there was always a big empty field. Many times I contemplated leaving this physical plane, but there was always that field. That field had so much potential, and if nothing else, I love potential; the idea of something new, something that maybe I missed, that maybe could be found. The idea that there is something just beyond the horizon, that I just had to walk to get there. I couldn’t leave without having explored that first.

Looking from the outside in, it makes me sad for opportunities lost for any sort of relationships with my brother and sister, but I understand now that was not my fault and that I shouldn’t personalize it. They had and still have their own troubles to deal with. While my childhood was very confusing because of the expectation I had of safety and security, trusting in the adults to take care, I understand now very clearly that any interaction I had with others was more a reflection of their own lack of understanding of themselves, and I acknowledge this without prejudice. I think a lot of people are experiencing this sort of revelation of their own childhood. Either they are understanding the source of their pain, and recognize it, dealing with it as they do, or they have not yet realized they have the supreme power to relegate it to its proper place in their lives: that of fertilizer for future growth.

Memories can either control us, or be controlled by us. Memories can either inhibit or inspire. It is always one’s own choice. Smile and wish the memories well, as they go on their way.

Even coming to that understanding was an epiphany.  It is very freeing, and there’s that field waiting ….

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