Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Of Masks and New Beginnings - Features - 16-05-2012

I am going to take you onto a journey today and I think most of you will find it familiar ground. We start of all innocent and true to ourselves but due to one thing and another – from peer pressure to role models to advertising – we soon start putting on the masks and we become different people and put on different costumes throughout our lives. It takes a long time (and sometimes it’s never achieved) before we close the circle and get back to our original state of, maybe not innocence, but at least honesty and being true to ourselves.

And here our journey begins…

Choose your mask by © Heather King

It’s out outlook the way we view the world that makes us put on the masks and conform to the labels we (feel we) are stuck with.

Alert & Alarmed by © msdebbie
Future dystopia:
Outlook – myopia.
Blurring boundaries:
societal pressure.
Values shifting:
religious inertia.
Corporate collisions:
perfect pretence.
Intuitive indecision:
abject offence.
Deceiving appearance:
my smile a defence.
Outlook – myopia:
Future dystopia.

Is it about hiding who we are or putting on a pretty face over our insecurities?

Beautiful Liar by © strawberries

Are we inviting madness by hiding our true selves away behind masks?

Madness by © RebeccaWeston
Oh no, you can’t come out.
Go back inside and wait.
You’ll make me say or do
something, I am going to hate.
Please don’t come out
when people are here.
You normally show in private
when there’s no one near.
Don’t put me thru this torment.
Get back inside I say!
I’ll talk to you later,
when these people go away.
God, your just not listening.
now I will have to run.
All the startled faces,
asking questions, making fun.
I’m ashamed and bloody angry,
they’ll never understand
that once you’ve made your mind up,
I’m at your, command.
Alone now, do your worst,
bang my head against the wall.
Digging nails in, pulling hair,
throwing things – do it all!
Soon you will return
to your safe, dark hiding place.
I’ll pick up all the pieces
and hide you from disgrace.

Our instincts and intuition are strong and not easily held back.

En el jardin primitivo by © Barbara Bezina

This never becomes clearer when those we hold dear and those who shaped us fall away and leave us to struggle on by ourselves.

Blood Dust by © wildwomenlove
I’m scared of dying
you know?
I didn’t think I was
But I am
I lie in bed at night
stare at the ceiling
does the death rattle hurt?
Will my soul slide through my fontanelle?
Will my dad be there to collect me?
Where will I go?
How will I know, which door?
I witness the aunties, uncles, parents
topple like skittles
Makes me wonder
who’s next?
I feel the earthquake
in the centre of
my core
Those arms that have held me steady
Guidance disintegrating
into blood dust
Lifted on a transient wind
Armies of generation
limping to the frontline
Shielding the bullets
so that we may live
I didn’t know how cataclysmic it would feel
How the realization of mortality
would monsoon the foundations
of my frenzied world
Will this central quaking
inch me forward
the front line?
The earth tremors
Breaks open
we all
fall down
becomes dust
after all

The thirst for life, for giving in to those needs long supressed….

infusion by © Heather King

and the acknowledgement of those needs that drive us closer to the edge.

vestiges by © ShadowDancer
the residue of you,
atoms of nothingness,
has slowly wound itself
around my spine,
sprouting like clusters of
red jasper between the spaces
of my crooked vertebrae,
hardened and incessant,
leaving trace elements of
ash and destruction
on my tongue,
these remnants of you
reach far beyond what
ever was of us,
with a raspy murmur it
fills my bloodstream with
a rancid poison of
memories of your love
are like
blood and tulips
but the death of me

Sometimes we give in, when we feel there’s nothing to go on for….

Birdy fallen by © annacuypers

and sometimes we reach this flashpoint where the decision has to be made and we pull through.

Flashpoint by © MoonlightLover
I thought it was permanent,
My shattered pride.
I once was innocence
But it turned on its side,
A black cloud rained over me
It followed my every move
Knee deep in the memories
Where there once was truth.
I realised how I so wanted time
To put things into perspective,
Something I tried so hard to find.
Just for one moment I thought I’d found the way,
But as my destiny unfolded
I watched it slip away.
Like a global flashpoint, I was beyond all reach,
Solitary was at my command, all which I’d like to keep.
I took a ride to the frontier, to see what I could find
A ruined collection of dreams and past desires,
Dumped like garbage on a roadside!
You will never realise the miles I’d had to go,
And all those dark corners of my room
I did not know.
It was just for one moment I thought I heard a call
To look beyond the day in hand,
There was nothing, nothing there at all.
Now that I’ve realised how it had gotten so wrong,
Had to find some therapy, but the treatment took way too long.
But deep inside my heart, it was love who lead the way,
It finally found my destiny before it slipped away.

And maybe sometimes it’s a matter of walking away to become who we are.

She took her wings and walked by © Catrin Welz-Stein

Spring cleaning of self accomplished.

The good house of self by © su2anne
Perfection invited
Kill Joy to
They ganged up and
Let loose
Envy and
Fear. Room by
Room all Good
Was emptied and
All that was left were the
Cohorts of
Misery and
So it was
Surprise who had to
Come knocking…
Curiosity and
Loneliness came next.
Until there was a huge party
Beheld! Bliss and
Reason were unconcerned for
Excitement and
Trust had taken
Remorse and dread
Left with their
Tails firmly tucked
Between their legs and the
Others scurrying behind…
And so it was the Good
House of Self stood
Unsupported and
Joy returned to

Hope you enjoyed today’s trip through our amazing gallery and library. Tell the artists/authors if you did. There’s nothing quite like someone telling you that they loved what you did.

Beholding What Is Beautiful - Features - 09-05-2012

Inspired by the poem “Speaking of…” and a reaction to it, “of light and darkness,” this week’s feature collect takes a look at what gauges we use to measure beauty and what inspires us to see, hear, smell, taste, and reach out and touch the beautiful things in life. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines beauty as the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit, loveliness; a beautiful person or thing, especially a beautiful woman; a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality; a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instance. With such a broad range of contenders, who’s the most qualified judge of this thing called beauty?
Perhaps the answer is as fundamental as this: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not,” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson. Or maybe it’s more accurate that “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart,” as one of the world’s most inspiring women, Helen Keller, puts it. Whatever the given situation, here’s celebrating the physical, psychological, and spiritual things that tantalise the senses and expose what each beholder perceives as beautiful.

Today’s collection begins with a question not asked often enough. Can beauty be amply defined by media-driven worldly ideals?

VOGUE by © Manana11

Is beauty in the surface things or is it really skin deep?

Change Every Thing about Her by © Kancha Mahon

When it comes to defining what is beautiful, just who is the fairest judge of them all?

Speaking of… by © RC deWinter
Across the table sits a crumpled paper ball,
squeezed by a scornful hand and tossed there carelessly.
The words inked on that sheet ring false, deserving nothing but
the harsh embrace of steel arms.
Why is it that one who so admires beauty cannot write about it
from the heart,
instead condemned to spew forth words of weak ungainly praise,
clouds of cliches,
the voice that speaks so fatuous, so false?
But put me into that bloody arena where the soul faces itself –
or better yet, another –
and all is finely, fiercely focused, sharply drawn.
The pen becomes a bloody quill, effortlessly smearing scarlet
across and back the defenseless pages.
It is not that this harsh terrain is any more familiar than the soft green
wildflower meadows – I have traversed
my share of both.
Somehow this unforgiving landscape stays to press upon my memory,
while gentler environs fade to a vague and barely-recalled beauty.
And as I turn, triumphant, to present you with a tribute,
you must not think I do not care
when tribute is a tattered bit of hope and trust and passion
salvaged from my last encounter,
rather than the red red rose so often brandished in Love’s bower.

Is beauty buried in the dark corner along with fear and insecurity? or is it simply a matter of stepping into the light to see it?

of light and darkness by © Sybille Sterk
To dim eyes
beauty shines bright
afire, aflame
too hot to handle
in everyday humdrum
the pain surrounding it
is difficult enough
but manageable
just a little at a time
pull a string here
a sharp pin there
for it’s all it can take
the voodoo doll
that is my heart
because some
truths are so beautiful
memories are so wonderful
treasures are so big
they won’t fit anywhere
pour right through my fingers
slippery things that they are
so I slide round the edges
pray to the darkness
to show the light
by its absence
wallow in the black
hoping for the white
to find me in the corners
where I am hiding
afraid to be found
longing to be held
and led back to the light.

Behold the splendour of youth’s innocence.

You in your new blue dress by © madworld

Cherish the beautiful reflections that cast back from a nurture’s eyes.

The Shield by © charpierce
I am the habit that reminds
you to look both ways before crossing the street.
I am the feeling in your gut that warns
you of those you cannot trust.
I am the ray of hope telling
you anything is possible in tomorrow’s new day.
I am the force of strength
that won’t let you let go.
I am front and center to the stage of your life
cheering you on
laughing with you, dancing with you, crying with you.
I am in the stories you read before you sleep.
I am in the voice in your dreams.
I am in the music you sing.
So when you turn the lock and step into your new apartment
miles and miles from home,
do not be afraid.
You are not alone.

It’s worth it to reach out and explore the beauty in the briefest exposures.

Touching the Ephemeral by © Doreen Costras

Sometimes beauty is weaved into the safety net just below surrender.

away by © MaryMac
hiding and resting
words cutting and challenging
uttering my peace
in small hushed sounds
trees bend down to listen
winds quietly barred
the atmosphere breathing
giving off a light scent of floral
to the shrine of humidity
every second passing by
like a javelin tipped in multicolored hues
once obtaining grace
butterfly bushes and juniper
i lose myself in their earth

Never underestimate the beauty in heritage.

Lulu woman by © Madalena Lobao-Tello

Stopping to be as one with nature is a beautiful thing.

Today by © Art of Ella Brown
Today i put my feet on the warm wet grass,
i saw the crows flit from tree to branch,
i felt the sun kiss my face,
like butterflies and fairy eye lash embraces.
Today i made good food,
a pot full of goodness and homely magic,
i made tea from herbs and honey,
I don’t posses much money.
But in the garden grows a tree,
of flowers that delight the woman in me,
the smell and colours are happily
deep in my psyche .
Today i rode my bike for water,
at the well and flowing goodness,
i rode it to town and bought good bread,
i made a love nest in my bed.
Today i sang as i washed up,
i felt inside my gypsy luck,
the prosperous blood that runs through my heart,
the joy the love the start …
of something.
The super moon made me shiver,
the night the fear
the bad dreams,
the morning bright and near,
in hours of quiet before runners darted and laughed past my windows.
Today i found myself
in all these joys and such wealth
the small things made a picture
that i will treasure.

Celebrate the beauty in the simplicity of a solitary meal.

Annapurna Lady by © Valerie Rosen

Beautiful is the woman who endures until freedom is a reality.

While My Heart Heals by © Rhenastarr
She begged please
Touch me slowly
Gently handle the invisible
Bruises that still
Stain my heart
Give me time to
Feel completely
The love you are offering
Your gentle spirit is
At once comforting and
Yet alien to the wells
Of pain that threaten
To drown my soul
The past is a wound
Leaving scars that
Open and bleed upon
The me hiding within
The man who came before
Wore a mask
A shield that hid the evil
That ran hot within
His hands that began
As gentle caresses
Became punishing fists
Of hate
He spoke words of love
That quickly got lost in
The venom he spewed
Scalding me with it’s
I remember how well he
Hid his crushing animosity
Clothed it in designer
Covering the ugly
In shades of gold
That became tarnished in
The light of reality
He covered me in
Shades of pain
And humiliation
Creating of me a creature
Diminished in self
The love that began with
Bright shining hope
Died a slow punishing
Clothed in fear and pain
Sex lost the tenderness
Of love
Replaced with the rape
Of dignity, heart and soul
Isolation became the normal
Friends drifted into the
And loneliness was a saving
No one to witness my degradation
My humiliation, my overwhelming
Loss of self
In his absence, the quiet was
A balm that soothed
As time ticked down, the clock
Was an enemy
I watched the hours pass and
The dread fill me
Trembling beneath the surface
An urgency boiled
I knew I had to make a stand
I found the key in a little girl
A priceless gift from the man
Of torment
I could see the fiery anger
In his eyes when he gazed
Upon her
I found the strength to rebel
To break the chains that
Bound me
I would not allow her to ever
Suffer the abusive life into
Which she had been born
I walked away never
Looking back
And then there was you
So bear with me my gentle
Touch me tenderly
Touch me slowly
While my heart heals
© Marie Harris 5-7-12

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Red Façade - Features - 2/5/2012

Jaeda DeWalt has provided us with the inspiration for this week’s features. Her dramatic image tells the story of the facade we desperately try to maintain when we are keeping secrets, allowing ourselves to be silenced and forgotten. When we can shed this burden, freedom can follow. Truth is liberating, for society as a whole and for us as individuals. Bravo Jaeda.
In Jaeda’s own words…

“As a child I was taught to keep my mouth shut, my feelings were not validated. I kept my abuse a secret. The keeping of this sick secret seeped into my soul like poison. So I learned very young, how to create a pretty little facade, to hide behind it and pretend everything was okay.
As a society, I believe we are only as sick as our secrets. As an adult I seek to do the opposite, to tear down the facade and expose the truth and THAT is what this image is about."

The Red Façade – Self Portrait © by Jaeda DeWalt

The red façade is a hard one to let go.

It’s a secret… © by shelleybabe2
It’s private…
That’s why I had to hide it.
I found it hard to communicate
with you.
Due to all of the abuse.
I could not express myself.
Cause I was too ashamed of it.
It was personal.
It was private.
I also found it difficult.
An uphill struggle.
Having to climb,
up that hill.
From all of the filth.
Discusting dirt.
I tried to wipe off my skirt.
But somehow still lingers,
upon my shirt.
Still attached to me.
It just won’t go away, you see.
Cause it’s a secret.
I hide, invisibly.

Sometimes, the façade of silence can seem overwhelmingly loud and saps the strength.

The Clamor of Silence © by RC deWinter

“the silence of the mind
the ink dried in the pot –
so long has it been since i dipped my quill.
my brain suffused with rot –
so long has it been since i bent my will
to the work of the living.
the words as dry as husks
left lying out, naked, on sunburnt plains.
my thoughts frail blunted tusks
grown useless, long drowning in sorrow’s rains;
there is nothing to ponder."
© 2011 RC deWinter
We try so hard to please, forgetting that silence shuts us down.

The good wife © by su2anne
There was a
Good wife whose hands could
Turn spun yarn into
Gold and silk. That
Became rainbows and
Spoke to the
Sun and the moon. But
She had a
Secret torment… Her
Keeper had cast a
Spell on her loom. A
Lock that would only
Open from noon till four.
Thou these wondrous
Fabrics spoke of
Light and love and
Adorned the likes of
Fair maidens bright and
Rich widows. And her
Fame become
Legendary the
Rules remained…her
Heart and soul like her
Hands were bound and an
Over whelming
Sadness prevailed. Her
Creations sang of
Beauty. Her
Eyes windows to her
Soul bespoke
Time passed and her
Heart contracted to
Such a point that she could
No longer
Look upon her loom. So she
Turned away and
Shut the
Door on her
Heart. For years it
Lay frozen in a
Place so deep she
Didn’t dare look for
Fear she might shatter…
Instead she
Gathered herself and
Gave and did as
Only a woman could. Her
Loving husband
Happy to have such a
Good wife. But at
Certain moments when the
Night is still an
Eerie keen can be heard. It is the
Loom locked in a cupboard calling to
Her mistress. And the
Good woman greyed with
Time remembers the
Song and her
Hands respond. In her
Dreams she
Weaves a magic where she
Walks free. There are
No locks. Her
Loom awaits and her
Spun gold and silver
Adorn princesses and the
Softest yarns
Caress newborns. Her
Eyes star bright with
Gladness… upon
Awakening this
Wise old one begins her
Working day with a
Spring in her step for
She knows her
Dreams are hers

The silence can be isolating, keeping us apart from friendships and relationships.

No-one there to hear me scream © by strawberries

Sometimes it is easier to hold on to old hurts than it is to let them go.

singing by the water © by Sybille Sterk
heart skin like old leather
fragrant with memories
battle scarred and crinkled
locked up and shut for business
over and done with
it’s so much easier
to just keep the cold out
and hold it in
than to drag it out
and grow more
fear skin like glass
over real skin
easily shattered
and it cuts so deep
like a bullet knife noose
with a padlock
around my chest
breathing lightly
feelers out
to test the waters
you can never be sure
better safe than sorry
better frozen than fried
better but not happier
maybe content
can be achieved
on a good day
if not for the song
that is going
round and round my head
of old times
of good times
of neverminds
huddled in the
comforting darkness
waiting for

a new song

“Another world must surely exist somewhere, one where she would be known in some deep way that was far beyond words.”

“Originally I took this with a friend’s original story in mind. The quote above is from one of my new favorite novels, Alice Hoffman’s, ‘The Story Sisters’, which describes the effects of sexual abuse on one girl and her family, and how her reaction to her struggle changes everything – creating loss, tragedy, and a final redemption.” lilynoelle

Another World Must Exist Somewhere © by lilynoelle

Remember that we are more than the sum of our pasts.

Other. © by Cynthia Lund Torroll
I am not
these circumstances.
I am not
this wash of insanity.
I am something
other -
than the want
of food,
the need of sleep,
or the fickleness of
I am other.

Although we feel trapped, we can find the strength to break free.
Joelle explains…

“Circé focuses on the hidden elements of escape from conformity and oppression. Escape, even without " the clothes on your back ".
Circé very much believes that the Patriarchy is the " box of conformity " that all individuals need to be free of.
This piece portrays the effort and determination that are both requisite and result of endeavoring for change and escape. The nudity in this piece is simple.
There is no need for distraction from the message, this is self birth and renewal." joellecirce

Breaking free © by joellecirce

When we break free, we can feel the sweet breeze brushing past, blowing away the sadness and pain.

The Sea Breeze Upon my Skin © by Zi-O
Surrounded by sandy soil
Waves of sea green devil blue
A comparison of wills
As the sun breaks through
A mother’s embrace
This water womb
The tide sings a lullaby
To star shapes, pearls
& golden scales—- those with gills
Ancient memories
Swimming from the depths
Into lungs that breathe
Gazing at the evening glory
I smell the breeze upon my skin

Once freed from the oppression of silence, we can dance to our destination.

Dance To Your Destination…. © by Carol Knudsen

And let our garden grow.

In my garden © by Vesna VD
Around my soul,
like around a Medieval Garden,
rises a Fortress.
In the middle is the Fountain:
the Heart.
When you look at me,
the gates open.
Come in freely.
As I am getting older
I spend more time by the Fountain
then in the Towers.
If you see something beautiful in this Garden,
pull it out,
replant it.
It is yours as much as it is mine.

Congratulations to you all. What a talented group we have.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012