"Mary means grace to me. She tells me to be gentle with myself and my emotions. She's a good reminder that it's ok to wear your heart on your sleeve. She teaches me continually to keep on loving even when it's hard."
A few years ago... 2021 to be exact. I was in a very sad place. It was a year full of loss for me. We lost a kitty, my BFF dog Shelby, and Todd's PawPaw. I also experienced a permanent estrangement from most of my immediate family.
Processing all of this was complicated. It was painful... excruciating to be honest. I shed so many tears. It took a long time to find normal again. Whatever normal is? I don't feel I will ever be the same after 2021. Certain moments will cause memories to come in and of course... my Pisces moon makes me cry a river.
2021 was a difficult year for me creatively as well. I so badly craved expressing myself through my art supplies. However I just couldn't. I'd start and blank. I'd get trapped in my head with all of the sadness. Finally one day I was at my local thrift store and saw this plaster Mary. She had so much white on her. White is one of my least favorite colors. Same with Tan. Bleck... don't get me started on Millenial Gray. Double Bleck. I knew she craved color and beauty as much as I did.
When I saw her I instantly thought of a Patreon Video of Molly Roberts. If you don't know who she is... google her. She is incredible. Someday I owe a blog post devoted just to her. In this post of Molly's she revived a tall, worse for wear, Mary Statue. She turned her into a mash of Mary and Wonder Woman. It was beautiful. Touching to be honest. That video often makes me tear up. It gets me right in the feels. I decided to give it a try. I couldn't come up with my own ideas. Soooo I decided to be inspired by Molly and take this plaster Mary home.
I knew I wanted her to be whimsical. I also wanted her to look more like her nationality than like the American version of Mary. I also wanted to keep the flower blooming in her hand. That really stood out to me when I saw her in the thrift store.
A bit of background. I grew up Fundamental Christian. It was suffocating, guilt ridden, and a legalistic environment. I experienced quite a bit of religious trauma from the church. The thing that's interesting is, in the religion I grew up in, Mary wasn't all that important. How very patriarchal. She of course was the Mother of Jesus but that's about it. I always admired the Catholic's view on her. She's prayed to in Catholicism. It's so fitting of Mary's patience and gentlenss. I find Catholic Mary to be a beautiful thing. Even still, Dogma is something that I stay away from. So I wanted to know my own thoughts and meaning of Mary.
As I was painting her I thought about how she immaculately conceived. The idea of it to me is hard to grasp. So I can't imagine how she felt. However she bloomed, created, and mothered Jesus. I myself am not a mother of humans. I choose to embody the nurturing energy and pour it to those around me The best I can. Knowing what I do know of motherhood... Mother's can't fathom dying before their child. That is their worst nightmare. Mary very graphically had to witness the violent death of her child. She had to watch the baby she grew in her womb be tortured to death and endure living after his death.
As I was thinking this I continued working on the plaster Mary. I painted the gentle purple. I added the orange fringe. I thought about all of my loss. I thought about her loss. I thought about how it sucks we die before our fur babies. Yet we still adopt more knowing this. As I added the blue swirls and whirls... I thought about how painful it is to estrange people you share blood with. I thought about how I don't mind getting older. Including the grays in my hair (Sparkle Hairs). I had a realization that the hard part about getting older is seeing your older loved ones decline and eventually die. All of that of course made me think of the cycle of life.
Creativity is much like the life cycle. You have the idea grow in your brain. You have the labor of creating it. Then you have the completed created piece. Sometimes you give the piece away or sell it. That can be like a death at the very least it feels like an emotional loss. It's saying goodbye to something you created with your hands. I don't think I can say goodbye to My Mary anytime soon.
My Mary means grace to me. She reminds me to be gentle with myself and my emotions. I painted hearts on her sleeve to remind me to keep on loving. Even when it's tough and relationships get severed. I kept her blooming flower to inspire me to keep on creating. Even creating things to sell and give away without fear. I placed 3 stars on her base. The big representing who I am now. The left representing where I came from. The right representing where I am going. Lastly the Oopsy Loops on her veil are full of all my intentions regarding these thoughts and feelings. Below is the finished piece. See my Instagram for a snip of the creative process.
To Mother Mary full of grace. Thank YOU for inspiring me and helping me continue to mend my battered heart. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me.
I hope Mary or something gentle can inspire and help you if you are feeling broken. 💜