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Do you even HAVE a story?

For a very long time, I resisted having and owning my story. Hell, I resisted calling myself an artist as well.

You see, the artists I was aware of had agendas. Were activists. Were outspoken. I sat there in my judgy castle thinking I just wanted to enjoy their art. That’s it.

So when I started painting, it wasn’t about the story at all.

Oh, I’d been asked what my angle was. Why I painted. What my voice was saying. My response was always… it was saying I liked to paint!

But you know, deep down inside I had a story. A story I resisted because sharing it meant that I was no longer neutral. That some people wouldn’t like me for my story. That some people would make me defend my position, whatever position it was.

It was an uncomfortable thought.

Like a lot of people, I dislike conflict. I learned young that it was better, and safer, to agree with people in power than it was to defend my position. I learned to hide my story, my opinions and ideas and even be ashamed of them.

In the process of working on Finding Inclusivity, I have spoken to so many women who tell me that they have no story.

Then they always blow my mind WITH their stories. Quite a few have said that they had no idea, truly, of what their story was until we chatted.

But, here’s the thing, I have spoken to a minority of women who do have a story and know it. And the experience is very different. They know exactly where and how they fit in the world. They focus their impact on whatever is important to them.

They are confident and unapologetic and through that, they make change.

As I figure out where I’m going with my art, claiming MY story, I want to take you all along with me.

Owning my story is scary. Intimidating. Because it clearly takes me off the proverbial fence and plants me in the field. And my field isn’t the right one for everyone but it’s the right one for me.

I wrote about this publicly on facebook on Saturday, and I want to share it here.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I read online. In social media specifically. The comments. The anger. The outright ignorance.

And I’ve been thinking about how entrenched we all get in our world views.

Finding Inclusivity has been a real eye opener for me. Talking to women from all walks of life, all sexualities, various experiences, so many religions, and often wildly different cultures has changed how I look at the world.

There’s an expression I grew up hearing that goes like this: have an open mind, but don’t have it so open your brain falls out.

It’s interesting, that expression, and open to interpretation. Is it meant to keep people from blindly following? Is it a reminder to continue learning but hold onto your world view? Does it encourage critical thinking?

And I was thinking today, after my morning interview, that maybe we should let our brains fall out. That being completely open, in the way that I am during the interviews, has allowed me to see other points of view. To set aside my self and ego in this and grow.

When I watch people online dig in and refuse to bend, I am saddened at the lack of compassion displayed. At the inability, or lack of desire to learn and grow.

We are all the heroes in our own journeys, we truly are, but imagine what happens when you set that down and really connect with someone else. When you put down your flags and sticks and rhetoric and actually listen to someone else. Feel along with them. Because it’s fucking beautiful.

So let’s all work to erase the lines, fill in the trenches and just connect with each other. It’s a far nicer place to be.

And yes, you DO have a story. We all do. It’s just a matter of figuring out what it is.

In the meantime, I’m wrapping up the interview section for Finding Inclusivity and am already neck deep in planning out the crowd funding. Stay tuned to updates because big stuff is going to be happening soon.