Update: I have received five commissions in support of Black Lives Matter–THANK YOU for the support! As this will keep me busy for a long while, I’m capping commissions for now, but I’ll let you know when I’m ready for more art.
I have been struggling with feelings of helplessness, anger, and grief over the death of George Floyd (and many, many Black men and women who have been brutalized before him) and I feel that I have the responsibility to use my white privilege to help, while caring for my mental health at the same time.
I must acknowledge that I cannot compare my feelings of upset to what People of Color must be experiencing–their anguish is infinitely greater than mine, and incomprehensible to me. I also must acknowledge that I can walk by the police without fearing for my life–and this is a safety that we must fight for all Americans, particularly Black Americans to have.
In the face of loss of life, I struggle with feeling like I need, must care for my mental health and protect myself from consuming too much news and media, which can be very triggering for me; BUT this is also a privilege. Mental illnesses (such as depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and so forth) are real disabilities, and I believe that access to quality, evidence-based health care should be a right and not a privilege.
This cannot be an oppression Olympics, and right now I personally absolutely believe that it is most important (my priority, our collective responsibility) to stand up against brutality, abuse, and disenfranchisement; as well as for the rights of People of Color, particularly Black Americans right now, who are our neighbors and friends and who, as humans with infinite value, must have protection, safety, rights, and EQUALITY. The hard truth is that it is not safe to be Black in this country.
I used to be the Editor of a leading journal on violence. It broke my heart. I poured hours and love into it. We wrote about topics like racial violence, gendered violence, gun violence, suicide, sexual violence, domestic violence, child abuse, white supremacy, border atrocities, hate crimes, and more. Yet it took a great emotional toll on me and could quite often be extremely triggering. When I lost my job due to my alcohol abuse, I was devastated to lose that journal. Now that I am writing about scientific research, I find that this is a better fit for me: to do my small part to help make the world a better place, while protecting my sensitivities and mental health, and minimizing triggers. These are all my causes, yet I find that trying to face every battle just hurts–YET it should hurt. I question whether it’s moral to take care of my mental health (my disability) by protecting myself from the pain, violence, and injustice in the media; I must admit that it is convenient to, in my privilege, not stand up for others, and that is not right. I do not want to be a bystander–I have been hurt so much by bystanders–and I must self-examine and act in order to not do that to others. I want to help in some small way. Yet, with PTSD, I also need to minimize triggers, and, as a recovering victim of violence, violence is a big trigger.
Here is what I’d like to do, but I need your help. So many have been supportive of my artwork over the years, and I’d like to create art in support of organizations fighting against brutality and for the rights and safety of Black people in America. So, if anyone would like me to sketch or paint you anything of your choosing, I will make you a picture and send it to you, and in return ask you to donate whatever you can or feel to one of the orgs linked in the article below. I can do acrylic, watercolor, pen, colored pencil, or simply pencil. Please take into consideration postage and materials (I only use professional-quality/level mediums), as well as the amount of time it takes to create a picture. (I’ll let you know what that ends up being.) Please be as generous as possible, but even small amounts help.
I especially love drawing animals, portraits, nature, and figure-drawing—but I can decently draw most anything. No buildings, city scapes, vehicles, etc. please (those stress me out).
Depending on the responses I get, it may take me a while to create these for you, but I will do them in order of requests.
I’d like to do this again in the future for #MeToo, but for now I am only accepting requests that support #BlackLivesMatter and similar organizations.
If any of you are creators in any way, I invite you to join me in creating to help, if that resonates with you.
Being creative is an important part of my recovery and self-care, and if I can practice self-care while helping those with less privilege than me, then that is what I’ll do.
Thank you for your love and support. Now is not the time to be a bystander. Looking forward to hearing from you. 💜🙏💜
Combating racism as a white ally must also be an inside job. Voting, protests, donations, speaking up, and listening are all excellent things to do–but I’m told I must also look inward. If you’re white and ready to take a hard look at yourself, here’s a read with journaling prompts: Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
Below is an important video that will and should make you uncomfortable. TRIGGER WARNING for graphic photos and videos of violence and brutality.