As I write this post, I’m propped up in bed in the master bedroom, computer on lap, mini collages spread across the blanket surface beside me. Not my usual writing location and mode! But I’ve displaced myself with toxic fumes.

The middle room upstairs where I usually do my writing now, has become uninhabitable. Three walls and the ceiling (my latest “crazy idea”) are covered in the same light blue. Today a darker shade rolls onto the remaining wall. Then the woodwork will turn white—not by magic, but by hard work that takes time—and leaves fumes.

So I’m displaced. But the paint project that has pushed me out of my writing habitat also provided free material I used in today’s collage.

Before I chose the paint, I’d brought home several cards of sample “chips” to stick on walls, to view in various lights at various times, to discern the best colors for my purpose of making this more a “Serenity Room.”

With fairly strong confidence I picked three shades, and separated those chips to take back to the hardware store and get the paints mixed. That left me several “throwaway” cards. What to do with them?

You can see: collage with them! I’d observed paint chips incorporated in mini collage before, on You Tube, in a video I can’t now locate to credit. That had prompted me to stash mine with my collage materials.

That stash also contained the silvery hearts you see—clipped from a Victorian Trading catalog, parts of a light string (like Christmas lights) called “love lights.” Now coming across them, I thought they cried out to go cascading softly down the collage like water drops, softening the angular arrangement of blues with their curves and curving trail.

The composition still needed something. A vase of flowers seemed to belong. So on it went, and there we have it, a collage I’ve called “Lovelights and Blues.”

“Blues” doesn’t exactly represent the “mood” in the composition, though, does it? For these blue hues look “happy,” and the hearts speak sparkle and the whole mix serene joy.

But I kept this blog post’s title because this month, October, is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this Sunday kicks off its emphasis week. I think poignantly of people I know—and wonder how many I’m unaware of—who once had beautiful hopes of their lovelight glowing “happily ever after” and their circles of love staying intact and shining forever—but found their sweet dream turning nightmare, once they’d committed their lives to it.

Sometimes you’d never know, because everything visible to the outside world looks as happy as that collage. In the past decade I’ve learned a lot about “hidden abuse,” because of people close to my life going through it, and how especially hurtful it can be when the false picture projected to the world seems to invalidate anything the abused might try to reveal about it to get help and support.

Maybe before these 31 days are over I’ll share some of what I’ve learned. But for now I’ll just give you this link to the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women definition, which may include many things that don’t show up as abuse to the public. For more detailed information, this extensive Wikipedia outline  gives links you can click to learn more about different forms of hidden as well as other abuse.

Becoming aware is the first and crucial step to becoming helpful.


Previous posts in this series:

Day 1 Mini Collage and 31-Days Introduction

Day 2 Collage: Nothing-But-Junk Fish

Day 3 Collage: What Grabs Your Heart?

Day 4 Collage: Why I Chose to do this 31 Days–Really

Day 5 Collages: On Being Transparent

Day 6 Collage: Salute to Birds and Dragonflies

Day 7 Collage: Got it Made in the Shade

Collage Day 8: Three Good Children’s Books to Inform Our Lives

Day 9 Collage: Smiles, Smiles (What Makes You Smile?)

Day 10 Collage: Which Way is Out?

Day 11 Collage: Rugged Rocks or Rugs?

Day 12 (non-junk-mail)  Collage: “Be Like the Bird…”

4 thoughts on “Lovelights and Blues (Day 13 Collage)

  1. This is really lovely Sylvie. I hadn’t had time to read them all, but will feast on it someday soon. I love your work and how you are marrying collage and writing. And this is real food for thought. Years ago, I worked as a sc’y for a woman who started ROW (which I always thought was an unfortunate acronym for her or’gn ) called Redevelopment Opportunities for Women. She herself had been battered for years and opened my eyes to the horrors of all that. I’d been very secluded and fortunate in my experiences. I’m glad you are bringing it into the light. Collage and writing both can do that, and it’s important to pass along what we learn through them.]

    1. So good to see you here, Lynni! Thank you for this kind encouragement. Been thinking about you and that trip to Iona. Would love to hear about it sometime, what effect it might have had on your life, etc. Did I miss anything you might have posted since then? This organization you mentioned: does it still exist? If so, do they still call it ROW? Took me a while, but yes, I see what you mean by “unfortunate.”

  2. I love the collage on its own. I am glad of the message. One of my nieces recently posted a piece by Jackson Kratz that points out that even the term “violence against women” is in the passive voice, something has been done to women instead of pointing out the “people who are violent” Ok, Kratz said men, because by making the focus on the victim, the perpetrator becomes vague and impersonal and men and boys need to be called out held accountable. I have seen men be victims though they rarely admit it. Collages speak. Sometimes we need to look for the hidden message, sometimes we need it pointed out.

    1. What good, strong thoughts, Laurie! Yes, the phrase “violence against women” can have the effect of making it seem a vague, general thing and the perpetrator almost invisible! So right that he (or she) needs instead to be held accountable.
      I know men can be victims, too, because I know at least one personally. BTW, where can I read the piece by Jackson Kratz?

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