Going Inside

GoingInsideMarch, l995
Acrylics on Masonite
18”x 24”

When the birth is difficult the only option is to go deeper into the gateway to the source.

Journal 3/26/95: Difficult Labor left me somewhat anxious and disturbed – very stuck in that place. I’ve been in real difficult labor – Skye’s. It’s a hard place to be.

I couldn’t rustle up anyone to talk about it, so I went down to my space to paint about it. It was a nice day so I went armed with a mirror and sheets of masonite to carry out a plan I’d had in the back of my mind for a while to do a self-portrait of my vagina. I needed warm weather so I could strip down. It seemed an appropriate moment – if labor is stopped maybe I need to examine the gate and to be my own midwife.

The question is – am I going in or is something coming out?! I feel like I must go in deeply for anything to come out. Yet the hands indicate an expectation of something coming out – me coming back from the labyrinth? Labia-rinth?!

I was stumped for quite a while about what to put on or in the belly. As I thought about being helped by midwives and community, I flashed on the image of my circling dancers. It didn’t feel exactly right but I always get pleasure out of drawing it. I put in a red uterus/birth canal to give them a way out. In talking with the Hero’s painting group on Saturday it became clear that the circle of dancers is part of the process of becoming more than what is inside.

So the in and out – both what’s in and what’s out – as well as the direction of movement remains a question. But ain’t that life? A mobius strip of chicken or egg questions. The process is the thing. Rilke instructed us “to try to love the questions themselves.” I do. I do. It’s a wonderful process. I feel like I am coming alive in a new way.

Journal 6/21/98: So this was the first entrance of the tunnel that was to haunt my paintings for so long. The place I needed to get into. And I know now ever more clearly that it must come through community for me – just like it must have of old. And how disturbing all those lives lost to the burning and other persecution times were to my sense of community! And to my subsequent sense of safety for a long time…..many lifetimes it would seem.

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