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: