My word for the year was open and, in retrospect, that's exactly what happened; I opened up. To the moment, to life, to all of mySELF. I allowed myself to share more and more of my art, my stories, my truth and my struggles.
girls and women are treated is deplorable. India is where I begin but it's not who I am. And then I struggled to identify solely Canadian culture and values. But the one thing that stands out for me is that Canada is a mosaic; we firmly believe that our strength as a country and people come from our diversity...so I brought that with me. In the end I decided that I was simply going to allow Tara to be herSELF...to let her excel in whatever she wanted to...to not allow her interests to be dictated by any culture...to not put her in any box. So...she loves gymnastics, taking photos, conducting science experiments, Dora and princess Belle... and she's learning how to speak Spanish!! She also wants to be an artist and a United States Marine officer when she grows up...thank you very much:) My deepest wish for her is to live her dreams...whatever they are. As her mom...I want to teach her to dream big...to let know that anything is possible.
new places too. I felt so incredibly lucky to be published as many times as I was this year...and I was proud too, that all my hard work had paid off. For me....it is such an honor being published!Still...I struggled with insecurity, the direction of my art and so many frustrations. We all go through them, I suppose...but it's difficult when you're in the thick of it! What do I have to say, is it important, does it matter, am I good enough. It was all about letting go of the struggle and believing in my work. The more I got published...the braver I became about submitting my work! I took a month off painting during the summer to simply read and it totally inspired my work. A few of my fave books of the year? Sister Outsider, This I Know, Dare Greatly, Writing Down Your Soul and Hard Times Require Furious Dancing (a book of poetry by Alice Walker). These books touched me , changed my art + my life !! Love that!
Through it all...I made a conscious decision to believe in my magic. We all have such unique gifts to contribute to this world...life is short and none of us will pass this way again. So...I took a deep breath decided to get out of my own way (easier said than done!) and...forged ahead. I decided to accept where I was instead of wishing I was somewhere else in my journey...and accept all the blessings that came with it. After re-reading Sister Outsider I decided to not only accept my outsider-ness but to celebrate it as well! I actually made a journal called...the Outsider Journals (more on this soon!!)
We were very fortunate to have road trips, adventures, artsy trips and weekend getaways but the memories that were the most dear to me was going to Canada! I started feeling terribly homesick all of a sudden and when I told Tim...he surprised me with a trip!! My husband is just so thoughtful and giving...I am lucky to have him. Seriously..he has a heart the size of Texas! Anyhoo...it was wonderful just being back there and showing Tim and Tara around. The biggest gift of the entire experience was this ...sure, I missed Canada but my home is right here with these 2. And...I'm raising Tara as an American, albeit a very liberal one:)...because well...she's American!!!
I did a very revealing interview with Rita Banerji this year and, because we had forged a friendship that was based on mutual respect and trust, I was able to open up as much as I did. I firmly believe that our stories matter...deeply and truly I believe this in my heart. Yet... sharing incidents from my past that were/are deeply painful and powerful took a lot of courage. But I knew that sharing my story brought me a step closer to healing and maybe, just maybe, I could inspire others to share their truth as well. This interview is one of the things I am most proud of this past year.
There were two incidents this year that deeply affected us as a nation...and me personally. They both involved guns. The first was Trayvon Martin and the second was the Newtown massacre that just happened...that is still fresh and raw in our hearts and memory. About a week ago I decided that, instead of ranting (like a completely crazy woman) on Twitter about gun control, I am going to become more politically active to that end. I am raising my daughter here and I am shocked and saddened by the gun violence in this country. I'm also terrified for Tara...for children everywhere. I believe that everything is political and this is no exception. I believe that we can hold grief and anger at the very same time. I believe that we can channel that into change and activism. I believe that our children require and deserve us to advocate for them. I believe that we can be patriotic and want common sense gun laws. I believe that this is not a partisan issue. I believe that most Americans want this as well.
And...my word for 2013??? It's this right here...DARE!!! I had been thinking of a word around October and...when I read Dare Greatly by Brene...it just called me. greatly:) And really...the word chose me, I am sure of it! So...I dare mySELF to
*say No! when necessary
*forge my path (even when I can't see ahead...which is always)*trust that things are exactly where they should be
*do my work
I feel as if every single day...is the beginning of everything. I am excited about what the coming year holds.
Also...I am inspired by my art journey in 2013...I feel like it's going in a new direction. It's all about having faith in the journey. Feels good! I want to get in touch with the elemental in me...the raw and the rich. I feel very strongly about it...and a sense of urgency too.
“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.”- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With The Wolves: Contacting The Power Of The Wild Woman
Now...goodbye 2013...you have been so very good to me this past year. You have kept us in grace and given us a sense of home + heart + health. And so, dear friends, as we go forward in magic + light...let us hold each other close. Let us always keep what's truly important in our hearts. And even when grief and sadness are visited upon us...let us still keep the beautiful + true in our souls. Wishing you all the very very best in the coming year...see you on the other side!!! xxx