Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

How I Came to New Mexico and learned about Art and Life

WORD PAINTINGS #37 – 10/6/2018 – Taos, New Mexico

10/6/2018 Taos, New Mexico – Have been up most of the night. My Thursday post was amended in an attempt to be more honest.  And then yesterday happened.  Judge Kavanaugh is to be confirmed to the Supreme Court today, when in reality he needs a good 12 Step Treatment Program.  I can’t forget the picture of his wife’s face during his wild testimony and I knew the truth of her marriage.  Sadness and disbelief at her husband’s out of control rant.  I am her – she is me.  She has the look of every woman who keeps the family secrets.

Starting this blog in early August I tried to keep it light – my wayshowers, my painting workshop, my early history with New Mexico.  I left hints, but was determined not to go too deep. And then I listened to Professor Ford’s testimony and knew I wasn’t being completely honest.  I wrote my Thursday post and my best friend called to tell me that she thought it seemed hurried through the hard parts and had not adequately described what really happened.  I rewrote it and honestly felt as though I had revealed too much.  Not even my children know the truth about my marriage to their father.  Rigorous honesty is very uncomfortable.  I fantasized about deleting the blog.  Instead I have decided to continue this conversation one day at a time.

Watching Prof. Ford I realized what courage it took for her to raise her hand and swear to tell the truth.  Then I heard Amy Klobuchar reveal that she had lived in a house with an alcoholic father who is now 90 years old and in recovery.  Last night I thought of Betty Ford telling of her recovery from alcoholism and breast cancer.  She saved thousands of women’s lives by coming forward with her truthtelling – I am one of those women.  Think of the women who came forward and revealed being horribly abused by Bill Cosby.  Every day the truth comes out somewhere and the list of perpetrators grows just because another woman comes forward and tells her story.  She may never know that by sharing her experience, strength and hope another woman gains enough courage to leave an abusive marriage or confront her abuser.

We are as sick as our secrets.  In my family no one would admit that my father was an alcoholic and my mother suffered from a severe mental illness.  Instead we made up stories.  We made up excuses in order to look and hopefully feel sane.  We covered up and tried to make ugly reality go away.  We stumbled around in hurt and confusion.  At least we could lie to ourselves that everything would get better if we just wore the right clothes, earned enough money, cooked the right meals, put on lots of makeup and whistled a happy tune.  We covered up our shame for not having a perfect life.  

There is hope for us yet.  I am a firm believer that there are no accidents.  I thought of all the women who have come out these last two weeks and told their experiences of being abused.  Am sure they feel belittled and shamed by sharing their stories only to have Judge Kavanaugh confirmed anyway.  They have spoken their truth and hopefully are now on a path to healing.  It might take some time, but once our stories are told, we will never be the same.

What I know for sure is that even in my darkest times another person shared their experiences with me and I lived to paint another day!