This month was all about exploring vulnerability. Starting with a virtual workshop led by Dr. Lorri Sulpizio, attendees were challenged with finding and posting a visual or creative representation of their current state (see below for some examples).
After the completion of the workshop, we challenged members to continue tapping into their own artistic vulnerability and asked them to share what came up creatively as a result. The idea was not to create a masterpiece, but rather a simple and honest reflection of the moment we are in. Some members utilized the above photos as inspiration, others started from scratch. Below is their beautiful and honest art. Thank you, collective members for sharing yourselves with our greater community.
Cathryn Beeks is a musician, producer, and mixed media artist (not to mention founder of Listen Local Radio as well as host of the Lady Brain Podcast). She says, “It's amazing how perspective changes everything, how everything changes, including preconceived notions. What was once so distasteful has now become a comfort zone, a place to settle down and live a life full of simple pleasures."
Lizzie Wann is a published poet and spoken word artist. The piece she submitted is called “Life's Work" - it combines inspiration from two of our initial visual prompts: the Danielle Coke quote as well as the Baskoro Lanjar Prasetyo work. She says, “Recognizing where I am personally in the midst of inequality and racial injustice, among other things, has been difficult yet ultimately motivating. Understanding the ebb and flow of energy needed to combat these struggles remains a constant lesson."
morning fog matches my brain
grasping for clarity as my eyes adjust
sun struggles to break through
revelations about the past
explode my here and now
work begins to unlearn
I gather blue smoke
to synthesize renewed insight
every day is a choice to act
that is, to take action,
not to pretend for colorless accolades
it becomes a daily election
to cast a vote toward justice
to righteously fight for freedom
this grim fog hovers
but clear skies are beyond
in joy, in celebration, in resistance
Marie Haddad is a musician and mixed media artist. Below is her untitled photograph submission.
Astra Kelly is a musician, producer, artist, and spiritual practitioner. Her spoken word piece is called “The Right to Mourn."
The Right to Mourn
I feel robbed of my right to mourn.
You’re talking about rights?
to bear arms, to harm
your brother, your father, your grandmother?
My grandmother passed alone the day before my mother’s birthday who is battling cancer during a pandemic....navigating a whole other systemic
How many lives lost on the side while dis-ease rages far and wide
and those we love left vulnerable to die?
How can you not see as you run naked through the streets
with your fuck you flying, screaming I don’t care
From there, we’ve fallen
I feel robbed of my right to mourn.
There have been no moments of honoring lives lost,
our test of endurance or our resilience
in bearing the cost of this madness.
I want a voice that glides on fire as we stand ready to fight.
Who shouts “we will rise up strong and give everything to the cause.”
One who rallies our hearts to unite as an army of love.
I long for one who speaks and the wind blows stronger
as the spirits whisper of empowerment and materialize into our frame
as we prepare to play the game
risking everything for the ones we love and simply cannot lose.
I feel robbed of my right to mourn.
My chest tight with holding back, fear in my throat, afraid of the breakdown,
feeling the weight of this reality and the impending rebirth of the humanity we’ve lost.
I want to be close to you. I miss you. I want to grieve with you together as one so we can rebuild when the moment comes and the danger has passed
Forgive those who cannot embrace the truth and who dwell upon the murky depths of illusion
For now, we wait.
Lindsay White is a writer, musician, and organizer of Lady Brain Presents. She says, “I'm increasingly concerned, anxious, and depressed about what is happening in my own mind and heart, as well as what is happening in this country. We have always been terrible as a country and as a society at acknowledging the harm we do to ourselves and each other; instead we seek out distraction, we stoke division, we fuel fear. We'd rather have a spectacle than have a look in the mirror. I'm taking off social media for the next few months to tend to my wellbeing and try to do good in the world without feeling the pressure or guilt or shame or fear or anger that my online experiences seem to exacerbate. The below is one of the final pieces of prose I shared on my Facebook account. Hopefully if and when I do return, we'll be vaccinated and Trump-free."
The Worst of Us
He told us who he was back in 2016 and since 2016. We can’t seriously be clutching our pearls about the taxes. We can’t seriously be surprised about the bullying and lack of decorum. We can’t seriously be flabbergasted by the misogyny, the manipulative appeal to Christians, and the fanning of fear flames. We can’t seriously be shocked about the latest in a series of white supremacist dog whistles. What is this theatre we are sucked into, where he does what we know he will do, then we point at it hysterically and say “see!?” to all the other people who not only also knew he’d do it, but LOVE (overtly or covertly) that he did it? There’s got to be some other way.
I hope voting this vile creature out of the highest office in the land looks like a sunrise, sounds like thunder, feels like trash day, smells like spring, and tastes like freedom. And I hope we remember that we should have all taken the responsibility to flick him off the national stage like a picnic ant back in 2016 when we had the chance to casually do it without hundreds of thousands of casualties. When we had a chance to empower a qualified womxn over an incompetent manchild. So the next time someone comes along who is a threat to all things that are good and safe and kind and just, we don’t make sport of letting them prove to us for four years what we already knew. Please, for the love of democracy and the safety of this country and its people, do not cast your ballot for Trump. He is the worst of us. He is the worst for us. He is the worst.
Thanks to all those members who attended our vulnerability workshop and who shared their creations! And thanks to YOU for attending this virtual exhibit on vulnerability! We will be taking the remainder of the year to focus on private member meetups and workshops, and will keep the community posted on future public community gatherings as soon as we get the green light to organize in-person events! In the meantime, please be sure to visit our Member profiles to see how you can support them during this hard time, and don't forget to check out our LB For Hire page if you'd like to employ a local creative womxn for your next project! Prospective members, find out more about joining the Lady Brain Collective here.
Thanks so much to those who attended our Virtual Cafe workshop on the topic of vulnerability with guest facilitator, Dr. Lorri Sulpizio, Director of the Conscious Leadership Academy and the founder of the Center for Women’s Leadership at the University of San Diego. Lorri guided attendees in a discussion about where we are, what we need, what we are learning, and what we might shift to adapt to this moment and meet ourselves.
We started with a check-in and shared answers to Lorri's prompt: What is one of the biggest shifts, creatively or otherwise, you've had to make in the last several months, and what opportunity or insight have you noticed from this time?
We also talked about some of the ways anxiety can push us into a disequilibrium or detachment that prohibits us from accessing our vulnerability or makes us feel as though being vulnerable might threaten our safety. We learned some myths surrounding vulnerability, for example:
Lorri challenged us to identify how these myths show up in our lives, where they are coming from in our experiences, and think about what we can do to challenge them and rewrite our narratives moving forward. She also talked about developing strong networks of support to combat those times when our traditional support systems (family, etc.) might not be able to show up for us as we hoped. See clip below:
TRANSCRIPTION: It's really hard if people have failed you in the past, people who you hoped and expected to show up for you, and didn't, that's really hard. And again, it's similar. I would say, find those folks that do you know, groups like this, you know, that maybe it's not the same as a spouse, parents, siblings, unfortunately, but you know what? These people are people who are going to show up for you. And that's amazing, you know, finding the folks that will show up for you and be there for you is huge. And it's an amazing gift. And so then maybe once you find that space, it's like, okay, I do have people in my corner, and people do show up for me so I can tell myself a new story that it's not true that nobody shows up for me. People who live like me kind of authentically creatively, they show up for me, those are my people, you know? Those other people like, oh, they're in my life. What can I do about it? I'm related to them. So I'm going to find a way to get through, but I've got these people, right? Who do see me and that's such a powerful feeling. And so it's worth finding it. And then slowly that power can overwhelm the lack over here, if that makes sense.
Stay tuned for our September community gathering, where we will channel some of what we've learned and share pieces of art centered around the idea of vulnerability! If you're interested in learning more about joining Lady Brain Collective, start by visiting our FAQ, then head over to our JOIN page to submit a membership application!
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