Love Begins with the Relationship You Have with Yourself EV 2/2

Hand Printed Multiples & Editions
Monotype on Japanese Paper
36.75 x 25 inches

The person who will most love you. This is a poignant truth that took me nearly 30 years to learn - and I am still learning it everyday. As a teenager, I often sought validation from boys, and I felt that I could only feel special if I had a boyfriend. The desire to be coupled was an idea that was perpetuated by mainstream culture and became embedded in my young adolescent imagination. Romantic movies, tv shows, and songs portrayed a very limited view of relationships in which women were passive or powerless, and men were the ones in charge. Women "fell," or "yearned," while men could make choices. I internalized some of these messages through my adulthood, and I often longed for a partner to make me feel loved. These gendered messages only limited my desires and were barriers to me fulfilling my full, authentic self.

After my first stable long-term relationship, which ended in my late 20's, I realized that love had to start from within myself, so I started working on dismantling these ideas and valuing my mind, my heart and body. I began to see that I could only attract the kind of radical love I desired by being my true, whole self. Non-monogamy taught me about communication and transparency, and the fearlessness to ask for what I wanted. I learned how to claim pleasure! And I learned how to enjoy my solitude. I began a journey of full exploration of myself, redefining what love meant to me and rejecting the hetero-normative monogamous construct.

By loving myself, and caring for myself, despite the narrow and sexist messages I grew up with, I am able to be the person I want to be on my own terms. I work on this everyday, and I build new ways of connecting and communicating. I wish there were more models of love and relationships in our culture - films, novels, comics - that showed a wider full spectrum of love, sex and relationships. In my lifetime, I will create these stories, that's exactly why I'm an artist.