Here is the recap of Paint Your Truth (a free healing painting event for sexual assault survivors in the Massachusetts area) the second annual event!
Paint Your Truth is a free annual painting event for sexual assault victims in the Massachusetts area. It’s not a therapy session but a collective of supportive survivors coming to express their truth however they see fit through paint. There was no one size fit all for survivors. Survivors could be childhood survivors, same sex survivors, child sex workers etc. Survivors didn’t have to be of a particular race or gender because there is no one size fit all for healing.
I arrived about an hour early to set up a room inside the Blackstone Community Center for the attendees of Paint Your Truth. I had the canvases, paint, brushes cups, sign up sheet and image/video consent form. All these materials were leftovers from last year’s Paint Your Truth from donators like Artisan Craftman, Blick and Paul Goodnight that made Paint Your Truth possible at a time when funding was scarce. I also made it a point to put up hashtags that address factors pertaining to rape on the walls i.e #rapeculture #fasttailgirl #metoo.
Paint Your Truth started at 1pm to 4pm. One attendee arrived early to sit and enjoy her sandwich while I continued bringing the room to life as a safe space for survivors. It was important to liven up the space we were going to utilize but I had to keep in mind that sexual assault is a sensitive topic therefore making sure attendees were going to be comfortable was first priority.
The Blackstone Community Center is located at 50 West Brookline St, Boston, MA. To begin Paint Your Truth we opened up discussion by using an Ice breaker. The ice breaker was if we use art as a healing method and to what extent. The first guest shared her interest in dance movement hosted by Afro Yoga by a married couple. I shared my love for writing and art. Through writing I found my courage to share my thoughts, expand my emotions and speak my truth. Attendees came in gradually. Noticing the time moving rapidly, I broke from the ice breaker to give instructions about where the utensils were located as well as the paints. The ladies glowed seeing the variations in colors (thanks to Blick) and grabbed the colors they saw fit for their creations. As the ladies filled up the room we introduced ourselves and spoke about what we had in mind to Paint and what painting felt to us at the time. It literally felt like kicking it with home girls just connecting and vibing while healing. If our auras could have been read it would have been booming with positivity, love and light. By the end of a two and fifteen minutes the ladies had all created originals that were true to themselves from outdoorsy wonders, self esteem queendom, daring boldness etc. Before the time escaped us I wanted each individually speak a little about what they created and a brief backstory as to what they painted and why. We left Paint Your Truth with a few new friends. A time and space where love lead us to healing and light eclipsed our apprehension.
Right now in the media we are dissecting and exposing rape culture from the predators to the victims. As much as this makes me feel elated I know this is sensationalism. Rape culture just happens to be the hot topic at the moment because celebrities and wealthy people are at the center of it. But this isn’t the first time Hollywood skeletons of sexual violence have fell from the closet and landed in headlines. Consequences have yet followed the media coverage from folks like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and R. Kelly who are allowed to prey and destroy young impressionable minds. So if we as a society hand pick who will face criticism and punishment at the least we can do is provide safe spaces for survivors to heal and do the work of awareness, prevention and ultimately healing.
Simple. Support. Support the best way you can with full love intentions. Of course for a painting event there is many behind the scenes work that take a lot of work and money to complete. For example: you has to be materials easily accessibility to attendees. This means either purchasing these items with your money, profits from ticket sales or donations. You also need to find a location that will provide a space to hold the event. You also need to gravitate to potential attendees through advertising. Those are just some of the basics.
Black Women are told to cater to everyone first but themselves since slavery and probably before that. We take care of the men in our lives, our children, our friends, our neighbors, other people’s plights etc. Once we have given our all without a simple thank you or any form of reciprocation we don’t have anything else left for ourselves. We are left tired, worn out, broken and scared. And even then we are told it’s selfish to nurse our wounds. We go our entire lives deteriorating from the inside out holding on to secrets that burden us in more ways than one. My goal is to help Black women peel back that messaging of putting themselves last by engaging fully and lovingly in self-care. This is where Paint Your Truth was born out of. Black Women finding expression through art and finally putting ourselves FIRST unapologetically to heal from past traumas.
Blick, Artisan Craftman and Blackstone Community Center
Click to listen to Paint Your Truth audio recap: HERE
Starting at 0:57 through 5:12.
On this platform we speak about sexual assault, mental health and healing. If at any other time you felt isolated and thought you couldn't speak about your truth know that here is that platform to Speak Up. Speak Out. Speak Truth. If you need to speak to someone who knows sexual violence and mental health disorders contact me for a private one on one conversation with me. I answer questions, give advise and provide coaching. Want to get started now? Click the picture above or HERE.
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