Inspired by a song called "A Beautiful Noise" by Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile:
Particular lyrics stuck out for me while listening to this duet with a message of inclusion and validation. Like so many of us this past year, there have been many times where I felt scared, invalidated, and nervous.
At the very same time, I started growing my skillset with different mediums like gouache and watercolor. I've been able to experience working with an art brand. I've been able to grow a beautiful community on Twitch.
Through compassion, patience, and understanding, I've been able to transform my mentality on many topics when it comes to social injustices, racism, bigotry, and misogyny. Most of these conversations have happened behind the scenes, but I told myself to start drawing and painting with a diverse eye.
This painting, "A Voice", is the beginning to that journey.
An internal self portrait of my old mentality, the hand and finger silencing me is a reflection of my actual hand.
Although outside forces helped to enforce an ideology that my voice didn't matter, in the end, it was me who kept silence.
The poppies over the eyes symbolize a death to the blindness that I once had; I know now it's not enough to be "non-racist" and am continuing my journey to being anti-racist.
The poppy petals along the side of my head represent breaking down the previous stereotypes built into our society. The biggest poppy is further away and almost out of frame. Listening to other people with diverse backgrounds, understanding why certain "jokes" are not funny, other people's experiences, and why it's okay to admit when something offends you is OKAY. It's not up to me to "police" other people, but it is within my own power to stand up for myself.
Setting my own boundaries has been difficult as I've moved forward since last year, and I have come to accept only what is within my control. That's all I can hope for myself as well as you.
I wish you all clarity and balance as we move forward as best we can. Hopefully you all will be accepting as I learn and go through my journey of discovery, inclusivity, and diversity.