Wednesday, 29 June 2011

What's on the Inside - Midweek Features - 29/06/2011

The longer I am part of this group and the older I get the more I realise that we are masters at dissembling. We show the world a brave face or the party girl, the dedicated mother, the successful career woman, but underneath there’s always so much more, so many emotions hidden away… We are so many things to so many people and fulfill so many needs outside ourselves, but hidden deep inside there’s always another woman, one that has to deal with getting older, with juggling too many things, a lonely one, an angry one, one who wishes she’d done things differently… and the list goes on forever. So these features are dedicated to all those emotions we keep to ourselves until they come out in our art and writing. See for yourself.

Starting us off is Winterwitch. I love the intensity of the painting and the depth of the emotion within her expression. She’s confident and she knows her place exactly.

Winter Witch by © Janelle McKain

Janelle explains:
WINTER WITCH: a period of destruction and transformation, an “obscure” phase corresponding to the black moon, the menstrual phase, the “Witch”.
The symbol above her head is the triple lunar goddess symbol….maiden, mother, crone (waxing, full, waning moon) Symbolizing feminine energy and psychic abilities.
The Triquetra symbol is incorporated as well.

Here is another suppressed emotion. Who never wanted to be a ‘bad girl’, one that has all the fun, because she doesn’t care what others think, who just goes for the things she wants… The hidden desires a good girl never admits to. Even if your desires are different, I am sure you get the idea. :-)

The Things Nice Girls Miss Out On by © Edibl3leper
The feeling of being used,
More so…+liking it+.
Looking up at someone,
Who loves you all consumingly for 30 minutes.
Knowing his girlfriend hates you…
Because he wants you
Or she wants to be you.
Feeling feminine in fish nets
and a dog collar.
Finding euphoria in asphyxia.
Enjoying pink
In all it variations and textures.
Knowing how to tell between a lie and honesty,
then choosing to pretend you don’t.
Digging your nails in so deep,
You know he’ll have “splaining to do“.
Wearing red lips stick,
Just to smear it creatively.
Learning to hold your eyes in ways
That do more than insinuate.
Breathing pure wanton need from pores,
Drinking sweat.
Becoming numb and beautiful for perfect moments,
In perfect intervals between imperfection personified.
Truly living and dying through someone else’s desire.
Mind altering lust.

And here’s the woman who is quietly confident. On the inside and the outside. A wonderful stark photograph.

Quietly Confident by © dansLesprit

Finding one’s centre, inner peace as it were. One of my personal desires…

Intensify by © Vesna VD
Soft, pastel background silence
Black, sharp, ink words sound so dense
Intensifies the hearing
Calm, still, frozen landscapes
Sudden flapping, the photograph escapes
Intensifies the sight
Whirlwind thoughts, emotional nightmare
Tamed by the newborn wisdom flare
Intensifies the smell
Deep dive under the skin
Feeling the waves within
Intensifies the touch
Salmon swims upstream somewhere
Berries are shared with a black bear
Intensifies the taste

However, sometimes we just show the world our confident face to hide the fragility of our being and keep from getting hurt.


Understanding and wisdom are the tools we need to deal with life and achieve inner strength. Definitely not one to throw away.

Throw it away by © msdebbie
Do not hide your eyes
from the ugly truth.
Amid fear and depravity,
you know, it’s utterly uncouth.
Charlotte loves to give,
but has given herself away.
She wanted to heal and comfort,
but instead threw it all away.
Dilated eyes seeking money,
she has fallen through the cracks,
money cannot give what the truth offers,
it’s so ugly, she’s bruised and broken,
like a tattered ragdoll, the world proclaims
Throw it away
Miranda painted her eyes;
ugliness isn’t what she wants to see.
Then she painted her curious mind;
ugly isn’t what she would like to be.
Even so, she lost her mind,
because the bitter truth
does not look that good on her.
She’s so ugly, with weary raccoon eyes,
like a feeble animal in a litter, the world whispers
Throw it away
I begin to think
I don’t really understand.
I can’t see why I’d ever want to either.
Even though it hurts,
I know the truth.
I’ll say it regardless.
The world is
Then realization chimes.
I must not hide my eyes
from the ugly truth.
Hope abides
and insight follows,
which must never
be thrown away.

From my own life experiences there isn’t just one passage but many, and many ways to get there.

passage by © Cynthia Lund Torroll

The outside world will never leave us be. Too many worlds to juggle and only one of us…

Self Portrait by © MoonlightLover

But we convince ourselves that there’s only a little further to go, one more task, one more burden… because that’s what we do. The raw honesty and truth is painful but so necessary and beautiful.

I Have More to Give… by © LauraBroussard
I have more to give,
that’s the PC term.
I hate myself right now.
And I don’t even have energy to reply
to your comments.
I am so stressed.
Yet, my sister in-law,
is dying of cancer.
I am such a drama queen.
Pushing the keystrokes,
of my frustrations.
What is the point.
I am a huge failure.
no no,
I am not ready.
So this sounds like
a hodge podge of emotion…
yes, it is.
You try dealing on a daily basis
with a challenged son, and another son
who feels emotional…
because of all the time
I need to spend with his brother.
Counselors and Psychiatrists……
Oh my God,…………
I want to scream and cry at the same time.
and this story
has no rhyme.

However, sometimes it does all get too much and we hide in a corner of our minds…

In Another Dimension by © ValRose Photography

The final truth. Life’s not fair.

I wish we didn’t by © bjeliMis
Blatancy should be a crime
To blatantly say, do, or find someone
On this map of dots and lines
We make dancers perform in our minds
And for that naked truth
We should burn
And break and bend and take
Whatever these cold morning leave on our skin
Convert and give
And shove away the things that make us better
We drive thoughts into motives like the stitches of a sweater
Gone wrong
Money isn’t currency
People are currency
And we fall in love and fall in debt
Only to wake up to your lonely hand just on that other side
Somewhere between the white hills of your bed sheets
And the unadulterated pound of a lonely heartbeat
So strip
Down to panties and skin
Down to bad memories and childhood friends
That left
Down to nights it was just you and the table
Present the world your bare backbone
Because we are waiting to break it

I hope you enjoyed this journey with me. Please congratulate the artists and writers.

Season of Discovery -- Sunday Features - 26/06/2011

Today’s woman is many things. She’s on a quest for dimensional discovery. She’s climbing out of the boxes and from behind the bars of confinement that could never completely contain her. She’s reaching beyond the dark places where the stars dwell in order to find the scattered fragments of existence. And she’s restless in her pursuits of overcoming the obstacles in this world that keep her from reaching her all.
This week’s features embrace the many dimensions of woman’s pursuit of self discovery and growth. Through every season there is a beauty that reveals one more intricate layer of woman’s strength and perseverance. And this is the season to celebrate such beauty, in all of it’s complexity, simplicity, and/or uniqueness.

With a whole world within reach, it’s time to break free from the chains of captivity in order to reach those new heights.

So Close © by Sandra Bauser Digital Art

It’s a time to accept those lifelong dreams as ones capable of reality. A time to discover all the facets of existence.

I am © by Vesna VD
I am
a droplet
I am
a moment
I am
not here
I am
And what else really matters
except that clouds float through the sky?
Up, above, in the blue,
my dreams are.
(In serbian)
Ja sam
Kap sam
i trenutak samo
Nema me nigde
A svuda sam
I šta je uopste više važno
Sem da oblak nebom plovi?
Gore, u nebesko plavoj boji,
tamo su moji snovi.

It’s not a time to be fit into a cage, or accept that a woman’s spirit could ever be reduced to indefinite captivity.
Captive © by Naomi Downie

“Tis the season for breaking down such walls of bondage, even if the world seems more out of reach to her than ever before, even if the only hand within reach is her own.

Hidden Pain © by Dawn M. B.
She built a wall that is concrete thick
No one can reach her
No one can touch her
No one can hear her
She cries out in silence
She no longer can feel
She trusts no one
Invisible to the world
She hides her heart
She wears a mask
She laughs to hide her pain
When she looks in the mirror,
the person she sees is ME!

There’s a hidden strength woman possesses that defies the logic of existence. She must never lose sight of that.

Stronger than Life © by salena

Whatever it takes, that warrior spirit must traverse the darkness in order to step into the light of being.

Mapping a Life © by Sybille Sterk
yearning for the light
as darkness descends
grabbing the edge of nothing
with a long drop dawning
clawing old wounds
deep vein blood flowing
listening to voices
of ghosts long gone
stoically holding on
for fear of letting go
considering the chasm
between alone and lonely
slowly sinking deeper
into invisibility
in the wind
in the night
glowing treacherously
beckoning ever
deeperone more inch
and then
tillone more
is just one
too much

There’s a time for mourning and a time to dance, a time for remembrance and a time to take a chance.

Drum Me a New Song © by Geraldine (Gezza) Maddrell

Inspiration came in the form of a photo illustrating war children in Kabul, Afghanistan. The reminder came in one word: support. For what tastes sweeter than the sentiments hidden within the heart of another?

Support © by Unique-Mystique
Taste the sweetness
Inhale the dew
See you.
Don’t heckle the single thought
Just keep giving your support.

Authentic beauty makes its dwelling place within the heart.

A woman’s beauty lives in the heart © by Renate Dartois

The flutter of self revelation tickles the heart first in order to test the atmosphere for flight. Today just might be the day to unfold those wings.

time is on your side © by BabyM2
aspirations driving you on
even when behind fear follows..
walking the paths
that are never straight
to reach the house
where silence is found..
even though tired
opening the book
till morning
appears in the sky..
adapting yourself
all the beautiful
creatures around..
streams near by
was the only running
that could be heard..
keeping you warm inside
the thought of turning
pages of faith
where you felt secure..
less intently at the window
the bumble bees
hum persuasive words
the ones
that brought you here..
the gentle words
that rise from the holy book
there seemed
more beauty in them..
and the sound of the sea
with its breeze
cooling the heat
in timeless days..
the fluttering was
still inside
yet eyes were fed
happiness daily
from the One
loved the most…

In every season there is a new discovery of self just waiting to emerge from the miry clay.

Emerging ©by Berns

Will she remember to take time for herself and walk the endless colours of the rainbow? Hopefully she doesn’t miss the view from such refreshed heights.

Did I float before I fell © by SimplyRed
the fluffy cloud hides
and obscures me from view
I peer curiously over
marshmallow edge….
peering with longing
I see me down there
a technicolour reality
in the hustle and bustle
rubbing bloodshot eyes
of disbelief
but the sting I feel
I hear words of colour
words of
hairs standing on edge
words of can you help me….
words words words
a rainbow of requests
spilt in disarray
a hard arc to walk
in it’s splendour
can you do this
can you do that
if you have time
if you wouldn’t mind
…..can you??
my cloud wont drift
refuses to budge
no breeze in Autumn days
stubborn… fluffy whiteness
damn you….
I ask outerspace
and beyond
of course it is…
screaming to STOP
no one hears
in their own tranquility
I see me
no one sees me
drifting closer
to the burning sun
waxed wings
can you hear me
see me
help me
I shall not come down from the clouds today
for the view is mine alone
and one day soon
I shall walk the rainbow
alone and serene
til then a silent tear
falls softly from the cloud
and it looks like rain

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Sunday Features - The Perfect Woman - Our Bodies - Ourselves - 19/06/11

The Perfect Woman.. Our Bodies, Ourselves…
Today’s features are centered around the theme of the perfect body. We take a look at our bodies and ourselves. We look at what we do to them, how we value them and how they are so often presented by the media. The images are a rich tapestry of colour, texture and form, celebrating our differences and our similarities. All are reaching out with love and compassion to our sisters.
Today’s features were inspired by the wonderful image from Venus Oak, whose witty and poignant image draws us into the world of the media, where the quest for the perfect body has turned our young women into skeletal waifs, and yet has convinced so many of us that we need to be size zero and yet have big booby curves. Venus’ image convinces me that I am OK as I am.

The Perfect Woman © VenusOak

Girl With Pea
I love this image by Sybille along with the powerful message that accompanies it.
The young woman, looking innocently seductive, is in fact trying to combat the very stereotypes that the image portrays. She has been brought up to believe in the fairy story role models, as we all were, but is now seeking to find her inner strength. Sybille has also made a link with the thorny issue of mother/daughter relationships. We see the mother in the photo frame at the bottom left of the image, and her expression says it all.
Sybille explains…
“Everyone must know by now how much I love fairy tales and how much I hate the way women are depicted in them – unlikely role models for our daughters. The Princess and the Pea seems to be one of the worst of them – I ask you, a girl chosen to be the future queen because she looks pretty after having been out in a storm and because a pea hidden under her mattresses makes her bruise… Hmmm.
Well, this is her daughter, struck by the same ‘pea affliction’ she decided she was having none of it, so now she’s attempting to desensitise herself by surrounding herself with peas, hoping to cure the disease… Sybille Sterk
However this is also an image about mothers and daughters and the need to rebel against your mother and all she stands for – Princess of the Pea’s portrait can be seen standing in the corner looking with surprise and disapproval at her daughter’s shenanigans."

Girl With Pea © Sybille Sterk

This poignant image speaks volumes about the way in which which we and the media treat our celebrities. We place them on pedestals, knowing almost nothing about who they really are. We revere them for their ‘beauty’ and then subsequently let them fall when another comes along. The poignant expression on the woman’s face reveals the truth of what she is feeling.
“Every day I see idols raised, idols with feet of clay….they stand before us, true identities masked…
We put them there, we heap praise, gold, glory, raise them high, then turn our backs when a new idol arises…“vanished in the sun upon the sands, worshipped a space, then left to be dispraised”…. it’s a hollow life…”
Janis Zroback

Accolade… © Janis Zroback

If you love me – love me whole
Madelines lovely image and accompanying poem speaks to us of the need to be loved for the totality who we are, rather than for what we look like. It adds to the theme that is running throughout the features. We do not want to be idols, princesses, of media models, just simply ourselves.
“if you love me, love me whole
not light or shadow areas …
If you love me, love me black
and white. And gray and green and blond,
and mixed …
Love me day,
love me night …
And early in the open window!

If I want, I do not cut:
Love me all … Or do not love me"

Dulce María Loinaz

If you love me, love me whole…© Madalena Lobao-Tello

The Monstrous Feminine
All of Thelma’s work deals with the way in which women are perceived. Her work is challenging and thought-provoking. She speaks of our bodies being valued for their individual components. This, and the need for us to be valued in our entirety, shines through everything she does.
“In science so called monsters and freaks were identified, used for experiments, explained and controlled through forms of knowledge which normalized ‘correct’ or ‘proper’ bodies.
That natural science defined monsters in this way suggests the final critical link to the construction of the category of woman in traditional western knowledge systems operating through binary divisions of ‘self from ’other’.”
Thelma Van Rensberg


Ready to Start This delightful image from callmejulia, is a heartwarming celebration of what is on the inside, rather than the outside. Here Julia is claiming the right to enjoy and promote her artistic and creative self. There is a real sense of self enlightenment here.
“This represents my willingness to put myself, my artistic self, out there.”callmejulia

Ready to Start © callmejulia


Geisha Tammera’s beautiful image portrays so well the stylised life of a Geisha. In much of the literature, Geishas were romanticised, but the reality of their lives was very different. They were revered for their bodies and appearance, never for themselves. Every action was proscribed for them. They were little more than highly paid sex slaves. Tammera is so strong with her wish to bring important social and feminist issues to our attention. Thank you Tammera.
“For sexual enjoyment and romantic attachment, men did not go to their wives, but to courtesans. Walled-in pleasure quarters were built in the 16th century, and in 1617 the shogunate designated “pleasure quarters”, outside of which prostitution would be illegal, and within which “yūjo” (“play women”) would be classified and licensed”.

Beyond The mask
This haunting image by Edibl3leper makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. You must read the whole commentary as it is a total delight. Wanting to stave off the ageing process and beautify herself, she gave herself a cucumber face mask, and this is the image she saw of herself when she looked in the mirror. I particularly loved the openness and honesty of her words, but also the strength of her final paragraph.
“That is a perfect analogy for my feminism, my personal female identity. Raised with feminine examples I adored while I simultaneously feared becoming some of those same things myself. As an adult, and as a young woman I found myself by embracing something I was unsure and uneasy about becoming, by making it a little prettier to look at. We all get by as we can, one day, one picture, one poem at a time.” edibl3leper

Beyond the Mask © Edibl3leper

Education I love this image, with its bold colours and deliberate simplicty. It is a celebration of all we believe as feminists and women.
“This series deals with the conundrum of trying to simplify life in the Western world where the dominant discourse tells us more is more, not less is more.
This body of work is a homage to diversity, human rights, alternate lifestyles, gender equality, class equality, race equality, equal opportunity and ultimately – life." Kristen Haddon

Education © Kristen Hadden

Extrinsic Silence
This is one of the most shocking and powerful images raging about physical abuse that I have seen. It shouts out that our bodies are our own and that abuse is not acceptable. It speaks of shame and guilt, but ultimately Heather’s strength and courage shine through.
“This is what happens when you bottle up secrets and truths, keeping everything locked within. When one becomes brave enough to ‘speak’ sometimes to others your words appear as hieroglyphics. thus, removing the mouth. As a women, it’s taught from early on to not speak our mind, thoughts, desires, not to rock the boat, not to call the evil doers on their crime. No more.
This photograph is very dear to my heart. i had to keep secrets in for such a long time. this photo was taken directly after physical abuse towards a woman. terrified to ‘speak’ the truth…i faced that fear….eventually."

extrinsic silence © Heather King

Free at Last
I love the exuberance that shines through all of Lis’ art, and this one brought a huge smile to my face. We see the woman celebrating freedom, dancing with joy and rejoicing in being. It is a delight.
’Free at last ,she dances,
no more ties that bind.
no buttons being pushed.
A wild woman now filled with endless joy!

See her leap round and round,
chains are gone,
no thumbs to numb,
she,s free , happy herself she found!

by eoconnor

Free at Last – a woman’s Bliss © eoconnor

Survivor Finally, we celebrate woman as a survivor with this striking image by Rosy H. Rosy’s words say all there is to say…..
For all those who struggle and continue to survive against all odds.
She’s strong, she’s also vulnerable. She’s tough, she’s also tender and been hurt.
She’s ‘Woman’
Rosy H

Survivor © Rosy H

Members supporting members Please take a few minutes to congratulate our artists – it does not take long and it means so much. xx
Anna, Sybille and Jenifer

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Transcendence - The Ways We Change - Midweek Features 15/06/2011

Something that is much on my mind at the moment – the way we transcend our prescribed roles, the labels people use to try and box us in and the mystery we create through the way we change throughout our lives.

Here’s a definition of transcendent from the Free Dictionary
tran·scen·dent (trn-sndnt)
1. Surpassing others; preeminent or supreme.
2. Lying beyond the ordinary range of perception: “fails to achieve a transcendent significance in suffering and squalor” (National Review).
3. Philosophy
a. Transcending the Aristotelian categories.
b. In Kant’s theory of knowledge, being beyond the limits of experience and hence unknowable.
4. Being above and independent of the material universe. Used of the Deity.

All the featured images and writing below reminded me of the ways we’re held in chains and how we transcend them and move on.
From the way we reinvent ourselves physically…

Black Swan by © Cabisha

To the way we change inside…

Being Good, is Boring. by © LauraBroussard
Being good is boring,
I have come to believe.
Knitting in meetings,
going to night clubs
and drinking selzer…..
Drinking tea at sundown.
Being good, is boring.
Being one who feels
freed from good behavior,
is a release ………….
oh, such beauty
is felt now,
in the sunset,
in your laughter,
in your comaraderie…..
Being good, is boring.

The dreams and wishes we have for ourselves…

Nesting by © Naomi Downie

To the fears we have, which simply melt away and allow us to become something or someone we never believed we could be…

I Think I May Be Drunk by © Edibl3leper
I’m asking her things
I swore I wouldn’t
I’m letting down barrier’s
I knew I never could
I’m enjoying the softer parts
of what I once wished was wood
I’m listening
instead of counting the seconds
until I can speak once more
I’m enjoying knowing someone again
Enjoying being with someone
enjoying being a friend
I must be going soft in my old age.

Understanding the labels that hold us back and putting the lie to them…

The Great Big Lie by © Heather King

And the lies we’re told that hold us back and kill us…

left behind by © Sally Omar
a snag, a tear, a sharp jab
left behind
to wander alone
in the realm of darkness
no where to go
silence prevades
distant is the drum
of her heartbeat
her soul drips
the blood of the lonely
falling through
the time given
to walk upon this earth
it happened in a moment
without warning
her brow now lined
with age
the blush in her cheeks
now faded
her face once soft
now wrinkled
her body once supple
now sags
those she loved are gone
memories fade
a candle no longer burns
it has been snuffed out
by years of regret and pain
she walks out of breath
out of hope
waiting for the grim reaper
to snatch her up
she begs the lord to take her
into the light of the heavenly place
as she walks the lonely highway
of lost dreams
left behind

The dreams we have that lead us ever onwards….

Dream Big by © Lea Michelle

The hopes that make us try and try again…

Dreams of yesterday….and crooked smiles of tomorrow by © SimplyRed
the keyboard is stuck
I am motionless
into yesteryear
backspace oh please
no dont enter ! enter!
backspace oh please
free me on the escape button
your tantalising keyboard
allows me
freedom of speech
and yet where
shall my thoughts go
over the oceans blue
into all my yesterdays
or into the night
of all my tomorrows
loves lost
love waiting
love found
love as it is……..
yes the keyboard
screams at me
click click click
as I hang my head
the shame
the shame
nothing new to say
a speech fit for a King
oh I wish this were so….
but a Kings empire
I possess not….
just a thought or two
no reading
between the lines
no anticipation
of the next chapter
a blank canvas
stares against my will
no watercolours nor oils
to sweep emotions forth
a dried brush
sitting beside
a lonely
and yet
Istill tinker
to make
the gilded frame…

And finally, the transcendence we’ve been waiting for, almost in reach…

illūmināta by © Antaratma Images

Taking the first steps into a new life…

Can I Have my Heart Back? by © mermanda
Can I have my heart back
its been 6 years
you took it that day
that day I said I loved you
remember what you said
stumble and stuttering
isn’t it my decision
to decide who I want
where to give my heart
you felt the power I conveyed
I guess it made you run away
but you reached in and stole it
before you left
heart beating strong
ripped it out of me
your hand deep in my chest
so easy and carefree
as if you owned me
I could do nothing but watch
then you turned and walked away
warm dripping red
left me there for dead
how I have been so angry
at all that you are
left me there to die
I was convinced your love was true
thought that you loved me like I love you
maybe you tried to protect me
and save me from your life
from the demons you held inside
but you found someone like me to call your wife
blonde hair and dressed to a tea
fun loving and sweet
but my Dear
she will never be me
I’m standing at your front door
with anger as my fire
love doesn’t live here anymore
you took it with my desire
give it back now
before I make you pay
for all the years I waited
day by day
and all the times I wasted
what was I expecting
for you to change
run back to me
with my heart wrapped in a bow
how could I think that
when your so fuckin vain
never say your sorry
never take the blame
so you like to feel the power of my heart beat weaken
every time I think of you
you hold it so close
tie it up in ropes
put in in your pocket
for whenever you need hope
I’m here to get it back
I need it to love another
he doesn’t deserve the way you’ve had it all along
or deserve the reason he should fix your wrong
so this is me attempting to be strong

And here it is achieved – transcendence…

Entering The Rest by © Geraldine (Gezza) Maddrell

But the memories of how we got there will always be with us…

Remember by © msdebbie
Remember when Pluto was a planet?
Remember when we danced to forget?
Remember when my smile was swallowed?
Remember when haunted thoughts followed?
Do you recall how I romanticize songs?
Recall how I demonize false memories?
Recall my fear of being surrounded?
Recall the struggle against liberal liberties?
Remember when you tugged upon twisted torment?
Remember when you returned me to earthly orbit?
Remember when I longed to be an assassin?
Remember that I hoped to erase all accidents?
Recall how my halo was broken?
Recall hollow lies once spoken?
Recall Icarus wings cruelly melted away?
Recall Prometheus chained another day?
Now that I’ve deafened all echoes;
Now that the replay is worn and bored…
Please remember I held you,
Surrounded you.
Even as I
Romanticised memories,
Demonised injuries,
Struggled against
Liberal liberties.

I hope you enjoyed the journey I took you on today and thank all the wonderful artists and writers in our group for their fabulous submissions.

The Many Masks of Torment - Sunday Features 12/06/2011

Mental torment: we mold the masks that cover the shame; we wear the warpaint as a badge of honour; we try to smother the voices of torment in the darkest corners of our being. But the masks and the paint and the darkest of dark cannot drown out the madness. It will find a crack, an opportune moment, and creep into every waking fiber of our being — and then it will unleash it’s wrath. It might come in the form of the silent warfare of the repeated whisper that no one else can hear. Or it might sing in the voice of condemnation and guilt that can’t be distinguished from one’s own. Or maybe it’s hiding out with the screams of madness, anxiety riddled thoughts, and/or the ocean depths of depression that carry with them every imaginable clinical name. But one thing’s certain: the torment finds each one of us in its own time, with its own purpose, and in its own shades of raging colour.
There’s a vibration that has been crying out to my spirit this week. It’s continued to reveal these masks of suffering that so many are struggling to fit into, hide behind, or simply endure to overcome. One thing that stood out in these connected works is what beauty can be crafted out of the ashes from such torment.

The voices never tire of tormenting in a restless mind.

Entangled by the endless chatter in my mind by Renate Dartois

Even when we set out to conquer, our very own loose ends often become our very undoing.

Frayed by singerchick
You must know most of my plans come to naught.*
Not from lack of desire; rather,
My failure to tie a knot in the loose ends
Of my unraveling.
These threads have minds of their own;
Fashioning themselves into new patterns,
Draping me in different adventures.
Tethering and leading me in diverse directions
As we all know, life is what happens
While you’re making other plans.

Sometimes, the tormentor rears its ugly head, so even our reflection becomes a constant, nagging reminder.

Parasite of Mine by Christina Rodriguez

Often, numbness is the only defense against the chaos.

pitch black by Alenka Co
I know the pitch-black dead of night
have walked this path a long, long time
numb hands, numb heart
thistles can’t touch
thorns can’t pierce
numb is the only way to tread
to stumble, fall and not be torn
ahead, there’s light
I could step in
but such a risk ….. to feel again

Reminded of the mistakes, reminded of the hurts, reminded of the disappointments; where one voice leaves off, the others pick up.

The Persistence of Loss by Heather King

Let’s not forget about the reminder of being insignificant, unimportant in the larger picture.

Insignificant by Sally Omar
walking solemnly
shoulders slightly drooped
her corn colored hair
hung loosely around her face
her torn jeans
her wrinkled shirt
the emptiness she carried
within her very being
never raised her eyes
when she spoke
never felt equal to anyone
her mother’s constant insults
her father’s constant slaps
the ache in her heart
was way too much to bear
she walked among people
but walked all alone
unnoticed, unloved, fearful
never realizing that she possessed
beauty, talent and intelligence
she walked among the living
but her soul had died
after all, they called her

It’s often not at all what is appears to be. Sometimes, it becomes one’s forbidden lover — yet, it’s still just another deceptive place of hiding.

Deluded by Janelle McKain

How overpowering those moments are when the compounding torment turns into full-blown anxiety.

Panic-attack Girl by msdebbie
She ran into bricks,
Sweet and low,
How about 20 milligrams
Of Carbamazepine?
Talking too fast, but
Who would know?
Sweet and oh so low,
She is a panic-attack girl,
Anxious and unfathomable,
Crying, tired and unstable.
For her brain,
She craves silence.
For her life,
She longs for distance.
Without words,
She wants to fly away.
Soaring without anything,
Alone in the song,
Colours now pastel.
She feels battered, war-weary.
Not even a soldier.

Medicine can fix everything, right? Or is it too often fashioned into another mask, a cover of false comfort, or another dimension of torment?

Prozac by Agent7

There has to be something, anything, to drown it all out, to still the raging sea, to paint the colours of a troubled soul right.

Eyes without a Face by MoonlightLover
I lie in bed
Like I’m lying in a coffin instead
My head spinning
My mind deconstructing
Cannot think
Cannot move
Disgracefully innate
May as well vegetate
Like a body without a soul
A mind without control
Trajectory senses have blown a fuse
My nano wires are crossed and confused
So What am I to do
He says “Try meditation”
She says “Try remediation”
I say “I’ll try it on the toilet”
He says “You cannot avoid it”
She says “treat yourself”
I say “No, I am not myself”
Whatever it is instilled
The void must be filled
Writers block
Cerebral constipation shock
Shit in, no shit out
My secret ambitions walkabout
Too much eye candy
No substance, flimsy, dandy
Less is more, more is less
Right now I really couldn’t careless
Images stream through my head
A cacophony of mindless chaos instead
I say “So I’m writing any shit I want
Just let me be the woman I want”
He says “let your thoughts go free”
She says “Be the person you want to be”.
I say “But I’m fading away fast, I don’t think I can last”.
“I’m like eyes without a face
This will be my fall from grace”.
He says “Don’t think that way”
She says “Well I have nothing more to say”.

Bubbling with emotional energy, how empowering are the screams that become melodies of witness to others?

all my screams fell into a song by Mushda

Hopefully, within the midst of the madness, we don’t forget what our true reflection looks like.

no one by autumnwind
like a tree
that never fully opens
I am
to reach for the sky
some days
the winds
sing to me
let go
come with us

it is then
the tears of storm
make my already
too strong roots
sink even deeper
for I am earthed
no thing
can ever
be like the wind
to dream dance
and now
I’ve forgotten how
head down
arms crossed
eyes closed
dig me out
from under
and remind me…
who I am

Check the Blame at the Door - Sunday Features 5/06/2011

Oh, we all clothe ourselves in condemnation too often, or we shift to the other side of the spectrum, losing sleep unless the moonlight shines its spotlight in the other direction (away from our own reflection). And this primal urge has ancient roots stemming all the way back to the Garden of Eden. So why do we continue the tradition of beating ourselves and everyone within reach up over every spec on the radar? Isn’t it about time to check that blame at the door?
We begin our journey like any good journey: at the root. How different would all of humanity be if perception had begun the evolution process from a different angle?

I Heard It Was the Tree’s Fault © by Carol Stocki

Your black and white just might be my shades of grey, which just might turn out to be the next person’s muted blue. Who’s most qualified to decipher all of the shades in between?

not always so © by Alenka Co
don’t tell me it’s all black and white
there’s black, there’s white
and all the shades there in between
before we even bring colour in
what is black today will another day be white
what is white-clear now will become yet another delusion
don’t tell me one is good, another evil,
there’s good, there’s evil
but no-one all evil, no-one all good
don’t tell me it’s the intention that counts
that you intend good so it doesn’t matter if it turns out bad
ask the recipient of your “good intention” how they feel about that
the road to hell on earth is paved with good intentions
you tell me you are right, the others wrong
there’s right, there’s wrong,
and you are wrong if you think you have a monopoly on right
I searched for truth
listened to those who said they’d found it
their truths were cast in stone,
written on pages in black and white
spoken with the righteousness of the “neverwrong’”
grasped by the self-deluded
and then I heard a humble man say
“not always so”
and there’s the truth, my friend

All the blame and entitlement surrounding which rights trump which wrongs amounts to nothing more than a tapestry of terminology needing further translation.

Just a Blanket of Terms Now © by Christina Rodriguez

Condemnation, guilt, worldly ideals, preconceived perceptions… we’ve not only clothed ourselves in them and tried to force others to follow suit, we’ve become paper cut-outs — a papier-mâché monument party favour.

Beauty Pageant, 2011 © by Thelma Van Rensburg

Anything that causes division within the sisterhood must be cut out before it rips apart the unity and unravels the heart in the process.

Woman in Four Quarters © by eoconnor

Imagine the ceremonial celebrations that would span the globe while we all let our hair down and shed those cumbersome garments.

When the Gloves Come off © by singerchick
Today I shed the extra layers
Dancing joyfully out of these discouragements
Whirling and twirling barefoot with the dust I’ve stirred
Sliding disappointments down my wrists and flinging them asunder
Caring not where they land
Exchanging this weighty garland of woe for a lovely one of blossoms
I shrug my shoulders free from their armor; I am unobstructed and exposed
Yet not unprotected.
With raised arms I set my jubilant hair free of infirmity, to whirl and twirl with my feet and the dust
Limbs, dust, hair, and flowers nimbly spiraling into infinity
“…Yet not unprotected…” For safety is vital at such a vulnerable moment of surrender.

If I take down my MASK … will you PROTECT me with your SHELL © by jaqleen

Philosophy plus over-analysis of boundaries and reestablishing them might prove a difficult pill to swallow.

Mind Melting Matters © by limirick
I swear we live in a magical world.
I swear it on my own certain grave.
I wonder about the boundaries and untapped potentials, synchronicity and
philosophy, time and the movement through it…
while I drink my coffee.
I watch the flashing cursor. It is mocking me as I am suddenly at a loss for words..
overwhelmed by the enormity of it all
and yet, compelled
to know it all.
Thus far,
I have made some heavy in-roads into thought and it’s processes.
But I have spiritual hiccups
and they hurt my chest..
Bless Me.
Over time,
my gag reflux has been thoroughly tested.
I have wanted to spew but
I have not yet choked
on Truth.

Too many have become a casualty of the blame game, castrated along the way and driven into the internal pits of silent torment.

Mute © by agent7

Yet no matter which side of the spectrum one sits on, for everything under the sun there is a reason beyond comprehension.

People Trap Me © by unique-mystique
People trap me
When all I’m wanting is out
Can’t seem to be able to escape
All the red tape
Damages are done
My seam hasn’t torn
My eyes have shed many tears
But the coldness inside of me
It’ll all disappear
Can’t seem to work all this out
It’s like a merry-go-round
It just doesn’t stop
And I’m reverting like in shock
Clear dreams
Those tender words
You used to say
Things were better then when you promised to stay
Everything has a reason
The rights are not always wrong
Lyrics to our future song
Wishing you love and light, so long

Sometimes the only way to bypass the stronghold of a destructive mindset is to surgically remove it.

Surgery © by Karo (caroline) Evans

All the refining and redefining in the universe cannot recover what has been done. Sometimes, in an expired season, one must simply let (it) go.

Seasons © by Sybille Sterk
The skins we shed
With the seasons
Of our heart
Tattered remnants
Waving to and fro in the
High winds
Of the storms
We weather
We submit
To tidal waves
Washing over us
With salty tears
And deep vein blood
Striking not
Not twice
But often
Holding on
We are
We shed
Another skin
Grow another
Faust’s credo
Beating the drum
Letting go

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Midweek Features - A little bit of Everything - 2/06/2011

Rather than stick to a theme this week, I’ve chosen ‘a little bit of everything’. There was so much excellent art and even more wonderful writing to select from and I could have easily done three features! :-)

To start us off on our journey, here’s an image that touched me with its simplicity and the symbolism within.

Walking The Rail by © Tamarra BaVincio

This poem seemed to fit the image like a glove. An independent, strong spirit runs through them both.

My Demands by © mermanda
My demands are;
that you never walk away
that you sit here with me till my dying day
that you look into my eyes
and never tell a lie
that you love me for who I am
not just as if I were another girl
or another fling
another trophy to mount in a frame
but that you see me
and know my heart
truly want to know this girl with all her scars
with your heart and mind
want to dive inside
make sure that you know
that with us together
we could conquer the world
I am difficult
and never false
I have strength in me
that is rumbling inside
I know that I feel
fire burning deep within us
so when you see me
know this;
that when I demand these things from you
I look in the mirror and demand them too

And here’s a strong self portrait to continue.

Pink self by © fourthangel

Somehow the poem reminded me of the way we change and ‘become’ (if things go well).

Untitled by © RhythmImpulse
The quilt that once wrapped
Itself around your eyes
Has unraveled,
Braided rainbows are heaped
Upon the hardwood floor.
Your pupils are in bloom,
Like a daisy that blushed beneath
The kiss of spring’s minty breath.
And all I could do was watch
When the milky light flooded from your
Cheekbones and eyelids
To flush the midnight sky.
Daylight touched everything -
It grasped treetops and grazed rivers
And hugged snowcapped mountains,
But it will never hold me
The same way that the glimmer in
Your eyes once did.

Sometimes we get stuck though, looking back to the past instead of forward to the future.

My look is lost in past by © Moon Black

And sometimes we’re lost within ourselves, looking inwards trying to find ourselves again.

My heart screams but no one hears the silence by © SimplyRed
beneath the lavender bush
a quiver of sorrow
drifts gently by
on Autumn breeze
her scent
unfamiliar to many
but blinded eyes
see all…..
surrounding lilac
my very being
yet disturbing
all my senses
not ignored only
gently placed
on pillows
of comfort
I give
my heart
my all
my life…
to others
but self
I glimpse
of youth
and serenity
ripples of
Wizard Lake
silent fantasy
my very
for what
enchants me
is foreign
to only

And then there are the masks we wear – inside and outside – and the way they make us lose our way.

Shores Of The Manic Sea by © Agent7

This (in my humble opinion) is the perfect partner for the image.

cry wolf by © April Mansilla
And here he steps into my flesh again
Claws at my insides
Breaks my heart
me howl
I run but it is
Never far enough from…
Dear Dr
I sit before you
with my red eyes
And basket
Wanting you to save
From what
Has caught me
Dear dr.
I can’t keep dreaming of being
Pulled by the legs
With grounded thoughts
Only in my fingernails
That will soon be bit
Off with nervous
Rendering me back here
Over and over
In my crimson cape
Of death…
I know there is
No remedy
I know…
It is not that easy to cut
The feeling from my belly
And sew.
Dear Dr.
You said you haven’t given up
As I cried
The wolf is
Coming once again

There are so many ‘selves’ we carry around with us and we shed them like skins but something always seems to ‘stick’ as a reminder of who we once were.

Untitled by © Mushda

In the artist’s own words:
Do you still remember when we were little and we were playing in the park, and you asked me what happens when we die?
I said you forget everything, everything.
“Even you?”
Yes, even me.
You do not want to die, never forget.
The remains of what we used to have were taken away with the softest squeeze.
How did I forget?

It’s a good thing to remember where we come from to draw strength and purpose back into our busy lives.

the tree by © Sally Omar
history is carved in the bark
love found on the branches
her trunk filled with history
surviving years of beautiful sun
soft breezes and torrential rain
violent storms
scars from lightning
she stands strong and tall
as her leaves dance to the ground
her beauty is unsurpassed
her secrets never to be told
her wisdom overflowing
more than any man could comprehend
i press my ear to her
and hear the whispering of the ages
the laughter of the spirits
her warmth fills my soul
i am born again within
her knowledge and forgiveness
i am one with nature’s
most beautiful gift
the tree

… especially on those days when “domestic bliss” wakes up the Cinders in us all.

Domestic Bliss by © Mindy McGregor

Here it is all summed up neatly (and a little mysteriously).

The Lost Chronicle: genX²- by © Jenifer DeBellis-
Batting cage
drought is this season, a low pitch
Which way to the waterway?
depth = time² [squared]
divide those grains,
those stains upon that tainted tongue
and groove, dovetailed for perfection
Change direction: dissection
Tied down, stripped away,
a slow peel, layer by layer
No prayer for this torture chamber
Death moves slow; the path of Sloth itself
precision in procession is key
Words fall upon this barren earth
Ashes to ash turns dust into dust
Seven will consume seven
Prophecy of one = fourteen/two
Open up the wellspring of knowledge!
It was easier to move around
the technical aspects
than to carry the shaft
down to the hellish pits of waiting.
Nothing to steal here. Batter up!

Enjoy! :-)