Show Me Who You Are

This piece is called Show me who you are.

This is very different because my self-portraits are usually called something like portrait of self…blah blah blah, but this time as I was adding the finishing touches I was painting to a song with that title by Jesse Boykins III.

You are probably wondering how I got the idea for this painting or what made me want to make a self-portrait.

Well..

At the beginning of the month I thought it woud be cool to make a piece of art and a poem for Women’s Herstory Month. I didn’t force it so a little later in the month this is what happened:

It all started when I was dancing around inside the house one day, then I started picturing some choreography in my head and later saw a still image of a woman dancing and I said “hum..maybe I can replicate that and make it into a painting.”  I had my younger sister take a picture of me while I tried to stay in the pose that I envisioned. Finally found a picture I liked and started drawing the figure. I also felt the feeling of the piece and how happy the woman was. I vaguely knew what I wanted the woman to look like but it was fine.

As I began to paint, I realized I liked the way I looked in the picture so I said “Hey, why not just continue with it?!” So I did. About 85% of the time that I painted I was listening to “Amen Awoman” (Also by Jesse Boykiins III) I love that song now..something about it just connected with me the whole time.

I thought of what I liked in myself, a little of what I value as a woman and let go with it..I feel like painting to certain music really takes me somewhere different with the work and adds dimensions to what I feel in the crative process..I really had fun and tried some different things & ultimately let the piece re-develop itself from my image and visions for it. Always open to receiving what you see in it..I actually will be working on another self-portrait sometime soon. I have ideas..they’ll soon come together further.

I said I haaaaad to finish this piece before the end of the month and so..Here it is!

Although I do believe we should honor and celebrate women every day of the year. Here’s a contribution..the poem I will most likely be sharing on soundcloud at a later date. 

Big thanks to two amazing artists that I have the privilege of having so close in vicinity and heart, my Mom and sister Aaliyah for sharing advice/critiques on this picture while I was in the process of fine tuning it..

Please let me know what you think.I welcome all feedback

Much love

Narelle~Image Ankh Khepera

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Beautiful- A tribute to breast cancer survivors

Hi everyone,

Just a bit of background:

I wrote this piece because I was asked to perform a piece for A Breast Cancer Survivors Ball. I was very shocked at this invitation and deeply touched because I have never been through this or been around anyone closely enough to even share personal experiences, but was trusted for such an offering. I wouldn’t be able to make it so I recorded this piece and decided to share it on my site and soundcloud. The event (Pretty In Pink) was held by Gardner’s House which is an organization that helps people with Cancer to get necessities and support that they need despite circumstances. The founder is a breast cancer survivor herself. I find her story very inspiring. She is a beautiful person and full of strength. As I explored more and more stories on breast cancer survivors and their families, this is what came to me. Find out more about the dynamic and excellent work of Gardners House here: http://www.gardnershouse.org

 

Beautiful

 

They said I would not make it to see today

This morning I opened my eyes

Breathed the breath of life

And knew that there was a reason why

I give thanks

I cannot stop

 I have to try

There is a reason why

When adversity comes we must learn how to ascend

We must teach ourselves to fly

Pink is symbolic of my struggle

of my climb

of how far we have come

and that we can still have fun

It keeps me inspired to do more because there is more to come

It reminds me I have and must continue to do more than just survive

To enhance the quality of life

To be beautiful and bold enough to take the masked faces off of our fears

Embrace the tears from many nights of remembrance and dealing

 

The days to this point have not been easy

Many nights I cried myself to sleep

Heaving oxygen wondering why all of this now?

To me?

Cancer did not make me who I am, but on this journey I refused to let it break me

The reality hit when they said I have numbered days to live

That was the hardest part of the day but in acceptance of what may come I found truth

Death begins in the mind and I have more work to do

Sometimes the ugliest things in life show us the true beauty within

It breaks us down to show us what created the bonds in our foundation

 

It took me so long to see

I had been blind

Keeping up with appearances and holding onto unnecessary things

They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but what does that mean when your eyes are not seeing reality

If there is no room to see what can be

 

They said I would not make it to see today

This morning I opened my eyes

Breathed the breath of life

And knew that there was a reason why

Every night I will shine with the stars

Shine the light on visions of sunrise

Every day I will rise with the sun

Warm and brilliant

Blossoming as the flowers do

Growing through adversity

Triumphant

Spreading my wings and soaring like the birds do

Coming out of my cocoon

I am no longer in hiding or ashamed

Or to be pitied

I am a reflection of possibility

A beauty

In rare form

No longer feeling like a victim

I am a victorious woman

And I still dream

Finding blessings in each piece of every day

A kind word

A loving hug

A smile so warm

The calm of the rain

The force of the storm

The rainbow after

 

Fall came around and my hair was falling as much as the green from the trees

Preparing for the coldest winter
Waiting for the warmth of spring
Every day in the interactions and encounters

Discouraging appointments filled with sympathy
I am more than a body
No empathy
Sorry ma’am We can’t do anything
But I must do everything
And through all of this they say you’re so beautiful
Through the daily tears
Through the hair that went from blowing to gone with the wind
Beautiful
No more breasts that aspired to make me voluptuous
Beautiful
Dress clothes free
A minor touch of make-up
Beautiful
That is what they’d call me
So I asked my boyfriend one day when everything sent to me seemed to be crumbling or washed away by the tide
Why everyone thought I was so  beautiful now
He almost instinctively said that it was the determination to live
The passion to experience the ability to breathe once more
The fight to get better and become stronger every day
The optimism when the world tries to take it away and show you every reason to complain
Influencing you to give up
Redefining the conditioning we have received about beauty
Because it is something that grows within you and radiates
You are an inspiration reminding us to never give up
Emphasizing that the quality of life is one of the most valuable things in life
That it isn’t what happens to you that creates you
It is what you choose to become

They said I would not make it to see today

This morning I opened my eyes

Breathed the breath of life

And knew that there was a reason why

To be all that I can be
My full self
To not only be pretty in pink but to embrace my beauty

Our beauty

To express the spectrum inside of me

 

Copyright© 2013 Narelle Thomas

All rights reserved.

The Unmasking of a Natural Beauty

Why do you laugh when I’m myself not that funny kind of laugh but… the hurtful one

why do I go home feeling hurt every day until pain overcomes my whole body and tears through my brain

putting your words on display

repeating and building ..

stronger

 each and every time

again and again

until I almost believe your lies

 why do I have to wear an elaborate disguise to hide myself

and mask my words with things that you’d like to hear

trying not to show my fear of being hurt and put down another day

I go to school

and ask what will it be today?

my kinky hair or my old hat to cover it?

will it be my big lips or the way that I suck them in to try to make them look like that supermodels on tv?

is it the shoes that i didn’t buy yesterday or the day before that makes you call me poor

is it that i don’t pronounce my words as clearly as you do

or how my family doesn’t have enough money to just supply me with whatever stuff i wish for?

 so i go home and ask my mom a different question every day

“why can’t i have a relaxer or a flat iron at least?”

“why is my nose wide and my lips big with cheek bones that reach for the sky?”

why can’t I at least have one more pair of shoes or show jewelery like the other kids

so one day she sat me down and i thought oh no i’ve already said too much  she knows everything i’m thinking and then she told me that that’s what makes me different…

that i’m the way that I’m supposed to be

a natural beauty

I don’t need to wear a mask to fit in and be like everyone else

 I can be myself

 me

I don’t need to wear a hat to cover my hair

my kinks and curls are beautiful and my features are lively

 I don’t need a relaxer to straighten my personality

she told me that I should never have shame for being myself and should use my words

 to make them think…

show them how to love themselves too

and how we can all help each other

and learn to love each other so much that we can push our differences aside

and embrace them 

sew our similarities together

 and just be us

the many that form one
 Copyright, 2011 Narelle Thomas, All rights reserved.  May not be duplicated in any form without express written permission by the author.

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