Chapter 8:

Seat at the Heart

Seat at the Heart Acrylic on muslin 32” x 32” 2019

Seat at the Heart
Acrylic on muslin
32” x 32”
2019


Carry
36” x 60”
Acrylic on muslin

My mother and I moved to Canada after my parents got divorced. I was four. We had help from our family, but most of the time my mother worked two to three jobs so that I could go to school and get an education. My mother wasn’t as educated as other women her age. I think she knew that so she worked really hard to grant me access to an education.

My mother, blindly followed life and trusted in me. She put all her hope and trust in my hands. All the money that she made went to me going to school on the weekends learning Chinese, French, advanced math, piano, swimming, summer school and art classes. Every single Christmas and birthday I was never without a gift. I am so grateful for her love and was amazed that she blindly trusted in me.

Because of the love of my mother I felt a lot of pressure to do well in school because at the time it meant stability for my family. I knew I loved the arts so much, but when I found out that my mother was in a ton of debt, I decided that I needed to get a job to help my family get out. So, I got into design, something that I thought would make more money.


Aisha
40” x 40”
Acrylic on muslin
2016

Just like that I became a designer. I enjoyed design but I often felt like I was living someone else’s life; which is why the name Aisha came about. Aisha was a professional woman. She excelled and really wanted to build her career. She would find herself often looking out awe struck by the beautiful colors and foliage. 


The City
32” x 32”
Acrylic on canvas
2016

But self-sacrifice was her life. She worked in television first in Toronto where she learned everything she needed to be a designer, then four years later she moved to a different city to continue her work. First to Kelowna then to the United States where she would continue to pursue a career in design because of her fear of being poor. 

She was never aware that she had a choice. She never self-inquired. She reacted to what she thought was important: achieving, succeeding and moving up in the corporate world. Constantly checking off the companies to put more credentials on her resume of the different companies that she worked for, and every single of them made her feel safer, but from what she didn’t know. 


Kelowna
48” x 30”
Acrylic on canvas
2016

For five years she traveled to and from the United States to visit her mother. She missed her often but didn’t know how to come back to Canada because she felt afraid of loosing all the accomplishments that she has collected as a designer. 

Last year, her cat Felix died. She felt devastated. She remembered seeing her mother’s face when she was last in Canada and noticed how much older she’s gotten. She felt afraid, confused and torn. Going back to Canada would mean the end of the identity that she’s known her life; Wynne the designer. So, should I stay or should I go? 


Ripe
14” x 11”
Colored pencils on paper
2016

Money was a powerful energy in my life. I didn’t know how to handle it or what to do with it. I wondered, how much money do I need to feel happy? 

I started to meditate about my happiness; and noticed that I felt little happiness living the United States. I made a lot of money but never did I feel joy. The only joy I ever felt living in the United States was when I painted in the evenings and made art with my classmates at the CCA.


Forecast  30” x 40” Acrylic on muslin 2019

Forecast
30” x 40”
Acrylic on muslin
2019

Gradually after three years of daily meditation, therapy and making art I started to come back to the seat to my heart. Where I wasn’t able to approach for many, many years. Because I felt too scared to touch my emotions and to alleviate the fear I flooded my life with busyness. I never once stopped to question any of it mattered to my heart. 

My happiness and my heart I know today… is where my mother sits. It is a place where love was always there before I started to self-sacrifice. My mother was always proud of me. She always supported my art practice and making art. It was me all my own self-sacrifice that lead me at 36 years old living a life that I cannot recognize. 


Homecoming  30” x 40” Acrylic on muslin 2019

Homecoming
30” x 40”
Acrylic on muslin
2019

I went back and fourth for so many months on whether to go back, but my body started to have painful symptoms. I started to get chest pains and felt deep anxiety. I started to have UTI’s often and bladder pain. I started to gain a lot of weight. My back hurts. My neck hurts. I tried to sooth myself with elaborate purchases and expensive dinners out but she didn’t want any of those things. It only made her feel more angry. 

Then I knew, that I had to go home. I have to come back to where love was all along. All these years I traveled back and fourth from Kelowna, Toronto to San Francisco. And my family and friends are still there. They have not abandoned me. It is me that has abandoned them because of my choice to self-sacrifice. 


Bare  30” x 40” Acrylic on muslin 2019

Bare
30” x 40”
Acrylic on muslin
2019

I was always enough to my family. They never judged me it was me who was so hard on myself constantly judging and comparing myself to everyone else. Never believing that I was enough.


Today, I feel glad, excited, not super confident yet but that doesn’t matter to me. I know what matters to me and that is to sit at the seat of my heart where my happiness is and always was. Back home with my family, friends, mother and Simbacat.