Young artist responds to It’s Not Ok

We are proud to share a creative response from 13-year-old Macey to our What’s Your Story? writing programme and anthology, It’s Not Ok, which explored experiences of domestic abuse.

Macey is a talented artist and clearly has exceptional skill for her age, proven with these pieces created at age 12. The artwork, featured below, is inspired by her mum’s poetry and sheds new light and an important perspective on the themes of It’s Not Ok.

One in seven (14.2 per cent) children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood. At WoW, we believe it is vital that young people have opportunities to explore their experiences through creativity, helping them communicate and make sense of the world around them.

Macey has proven just how powerful this creative expression is. Her work also serves as a visual companion to her mum’s poems, exploring motherhood and her love for her children. Macey’s mum Tamala was one of the writers who participated in the course and featured in the book with a selection of her poems, including To my daughters which can be read below.

We are continuously proud to champion work like Macey’s, and Tamala’s. Whether through writing, art, or other expression, we see daily the impact sharing our stories and experiences can have. If you’d like a copy of the book please click here.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can get support from one of the following services:

 

To my daughters

Tamala

I’m so sorry for the times I wasn’t able to love myself

enough

I’m sorry for the unleaded parts of me that in turn

hurt you

It was never my lack of love for you

Only my lack of love then, for myself

I was lost and in need of my own tenderness

This was before my soul pulled me ever so gently

into light and I started to really see the world in all

its wonder, and began to do the work to soften the

walls I built around me

So, if I may, I’d like to pass on what I’ve learnt to you,

so that you understand this life better than I ever did

 

I hope you never question whether you’re worthy

I hope you realise you don’t have to say sorry

for taking up the space you so rightfully own

I hope you’re strong enough to always speak up for

yourself

and to not be afraid to ask for all you require

I hope you never spend restless nights wondering

if you are enough

because you always have been and always will be

enough

You are magnificent in all of your glory

You are enough for the right people

those who see you for who you really are

 

Try your utmost to not deny yourself of love

and embrace your beautiful sensitivities and

compassion

because they are your innate power

 

You are wise and have immeasurable strength deep

in your bones

You are brimming with knowledge, wisdom and love

It’s paramount that you’re able to love yourself

without placing any conditions

 

Do not let shame drag you to self-sabotage, stopping

you in your tracks

Love and compassion for yourself should always

be your priority

Please remember to listen to your heart first and

foremost

 

I want to remind you, you are the earth that sprouts

new life, malleable not stone

You are petal-soft, warm, loving and so capable

You sense what is said before words are spoken

and you feel the aching of hearts beyond shouting

you are supremely sensitive and because of this you

feel everything so deeply

the power of the sometimes subtle is your guide, it’s

a magical gift

give yourself permission to feel all, in loving

awareness

 

Do not defend yourself but learn to stand in your own

openness, under fear, anger, numbness, avoidance,

distrust and sadness as it’s within these places you’ll

discover

the power of your sensitive nature

 

When you sense sorrow, this is your call to grow,

not abandon

try your best to never deny yourself love and affection

and always let yourself feel your own ache, to bring

you home to your heart

 

You’ll come to realise good people will champion you

but you deserve to know that some people aren’t

going to stick around for you

and that is OK

It isn’t an indicator of your worth as a human being,

but of theirs

 

It brings from darkness into light that their story

and your story weren’t meant to have the same set

of pages

 

You’ll find people who will see your light and realise

that it beautifully matches theirs

You’ll meet endearing people ready to embrace a

blank canvas with you

 

Painting the most exuberant pictures

Let the right people admire and cherish you for the

beauty and light you so gracefully emit

 

There will be those who come out of darkness to try

to steal from your heart

be wary and stand strong if you don’t want them to

feature on your pages

They were never meant to have a chapter anyway.

You are enough for the right people

you are worthy of true love

and you are magnificent in all that you do

 

Unfortunately, your heart will break

But you have the power to put it back together so

diligently

Don’t fret, I know you are immense in power

and you will overcome adversity you encounter

 

Try not worry, worry is a burden you must free

yourself from

it’s the heaviest weight that severs you from grace

and removes you from the ever-shifting current of

life, your breath and heartbeat are your way back

to love and truth

 

Life’s lessons will equip and instil fortitude as soil

for you to flourish

Never put yourself second to anyone

 

Never doubt your splendour

Always laugh and embrace when the opportunity

of being silly arises

Always take the positives from every situation

You’ll find positivity sprinkled everywhere

your light illuminates from within

and shines through, intimidating those afraid of their

own shadow

unable to handle the exposure

but rest assured like moths drawn to a flicker

the right people will always surround you

Pure light has no shadow

 

Always aspire to speak your truth and stand tall

Always keep your heart soft and full of love

As it conquers all darkness and pain

Remember, you are an astounding human being,

for you are absolutely everything this world needs

and I am privileged beyond all expression, to be

your mum

You are loved immensely by those worthy of you

Thank you wholeheartedly for teaching me strength,

resilience and love

and I appreciate that you opened my eyes to the

beauty and wonder in this life

 

It’s Not Ok was a 12-week creative writing course that worked alongside women who have experience of domestic abuse. The project was part of our What’s Your Story? (WYS) programme that employs a groupwork methodology to help communities come together, share, write and publish their work.

Our Head of Programmes, Emma Hulme, discusses the gravity of It’s Not Ok and its related work:

“This book is full of words. It’s full of stories, of life, of laughter, of survival, pain, determination, and everything in between. These stories are communicating with us. They demand we recognise the real human experience within abuse and not just the stats. It forces us to see the experiences of our sisters, mothers, fathers, daughters, neighbours. It’s a call to arms, an unapologetic account of modern-day relationships.”

 

Read more about What’s Your Story? here.

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