When it hurts, and you aren’t even allowed to bleed, turn it into art. When they have encoded hatred into every thing that touches you, every gaze, every fabric, every brushstroke, every word, let the burn power you. If you are a child of pain or even a vehicle for others’ sorrow, let it course through you like electricity. Feelings are fuel and they are a palette.

When I watch women, girls with makeup, I see them absorb the policing of their bodies. I see them write away their agency to patriarchy & to capitalism. I see them blend, I see them self-edit, I see them scream but on mute. I see them never realise what masters they are at painting, what magicians they can be for the illusions they create.

I don’t know why I never learnt to see the brush as a police baton or a pencil as a hot brand. In my hands, they’re magic wands. They let me erase shame, not myself. They enable me to elevate the wounds other people have inflicted, from scars to tattoos. They flow through me, from gaslighting into poetry.

The red lines become but the start of a new piece of art. The salt water creates washes that tease out nuance in pigment.I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t deserve it. But this, this is what I create and this is mine. When you are stripped of every vestige of control, remember, no one can take away what you make of yourself.

With love to the ones hurting & bleeding, choose your brush and blaze a trail called you.

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