I belong to quite a few art groups and each day I’m amazed at just how much women have to give up in order to be loved, to exist, and to count in their own damn families. Still.
God forbid they be curious, find joy, and use their creativity. They have to live to serve others instead.
The stories I’ve read boil my blood.
—Women who can’t have a craftroom or small area in the house because their husband has a wood shop in the garage and an office in the house. There’s no room for her dreams.
— Women who are shoved down in the basement with no windows and no heat asking if anyone in the group has suggestions in lighting and heating sources so they can see and still craft in the cold. Her comfort doesn’t matter.
— One woman wrote that she and her husband were moving and he wouldn’t “allow her” to take her art supplies. She was in the group asking where they could be donated. And although many of the charities recommended in the group benefitted children and schools, she was heart-broken. Her belongings didn’t matter.
And my favorite: Women who aren’t “allowed” to have craft supplies because their husband’s think it’s a waste of their time and money– while they themselves have elaborate hobbies that involve guns, golf, and huge, expensive machinery, mancaves with popcorn machines, fully stocked bars, and 70-inch flatscreen TV’s…
That would be the mother-fucking day.
I’ve read about husbands who:
*Don’t want things strewn across the kitchen table where they eat.
*Don’t want the added expense from their wallets.
*Don’t want their wives to spend time away from tending to their needs.
*Men who don’t want to put together furniture or help his wife set up a separate room because he can’t fit it into his T-time for a round of golf with his buddies.
One woman took a photo of a large piece of furniture still in the box she bought from IKEA that sat in the garage for six months because her husband refused to help her. When she finally found the gumption to do it herself she discovered it was ruined from water damage.
It all makes me so mad I want to spit.
Oftentimes, if she’s determined enough, she does get a room. And she proudly shows a photo of it saying she did all the heavy lifting and assembly by herself. — You go girl!
I’ve been dabbling at the kitchen table; first painting sweatshirts with puff paints (‘member those?) and later I painted ceramics when my son was little. When my kids were teens and the bedrooms were filled, I sat at the kitchen island and painted and art journaled at the dining room table we rarely used.
Brene Brown says that, “Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow and shame.”
You know what that fuels?
I process some very benign things in my art journal. What typically comes up are flowers, positive quotes and bright colors because that’s who I am at my core. Happy.
But, I also process deep pain there too. Sometimes my art is the colors of a bruise. Sometimes shades of dripping red with black angry messages from gaping wounds that will not heal. They are not pretty pages, but when I’m done, I feel better. It’s up and out of my body, my head… where it can’t hurt me or others. And I just close the book on them when I’m done or rip them out and throw them away.
I’m lucky to have graduated from a kitchen table to an actual room of my own after my kids left the house. But, I didn’t ask. I took.
I’m lucky to have a husband who enjoys seeing me following my joy. And he’s damn lucky he does too. Because I am that kind of bitch who won’t be pushed back in her seat and told she doesn’t matter.
Ladies! If you want a room of your own, don’t ask! Take! Take up space! Stake your claim! Carve out a place for just you! It doesn’t need to be elaborate or even huge. Use old Goodwill furniture, cheap Dollar store supplies and shoebox storage if you have to, but just don’t lose your freedom to create. It’s so important for everybody’s health, but especially for us women who repeatedly squish ourselves up against the walls of small spaces and who already give so much to so many.
Please stop putting yourself on the back burner and begging to exist in your own damn family.