Friday, April 04, 2008

new directions: a tribute

"Sometimes and often from loss grows a whisper, a roar, and song."
J.L.S. Rebel1in8

Last December, I went to New York to visit my friend Jacqueline.

It was a fun, inspiring week end and Jacqueline made me some garments (and renovated some old favourites) that are still my very favourite things to wear. In making clothes for women like me, who have had a mastectomy but can't or don't want to wear a prosthesis, Jacqueline provided an amazing service.

And she made me feel more beautiful than I had in a long time.

Now Jacqueline has announced that she has returned to working full-time at a job that will fill her time from nine to five but free her up to pursue her art and other endeavours "that this thing called a job will afford me."

Jacqueline is taking a break from Rhea Belle, from making clothes and from her blog, at least for a while.

And I would be lying if this news didn't make sad.

But then I stopped to think about how much Jacqueline has already done to get folks thinking in new ways about cancer and it's survival, about seeing post-mastectomy bodies in new ways and about questioning a world in which hiding the changed "landscape" of our bodies is the only option.

As Jacqueline wrote in "at the end of the day":

"i'm not sure where Rhea Belle apparel or Rebel1in8 are going. if i exert not an ounce of energy more into them, i hope each provided attitude and a truck load of inspiration to have a vision, be creative, get the hell out of the box and do things your own damn way. that's really what it's always been about... an alternative to the cookie cutter mainstream pink ribbon and fake-a-breast propaganda. a reinvention and renovation of the spirit, mind and body landscapes."
My visit to New York inspired me in ways that go beyond the clothing I brought home with me. I returned with a new sense of myself as a creative person, an artist in my own right, who uses words to paint pictures of the world around me.

I am very confident that Jacqueline will continue to create and to inspire others, not matter what path she chooses to take.

1 comment:

Jacqueline said...

I have such cool memories from your visit and your sweaters are among my faves! Thank you for these supportive words. When I do look back among the past 15 months I am quite happy with what I've accomplished and more importantly with whom I've met. It's the women who reached out to me that ignited the inspiration and provided the fuel. Enough fuel, in fact, to fill my reserves so that when I've figured out how to organize my new kind of available time I'll return to sewing, writing, and designing- in fact it may be sooner than I think. My wheels spin everyday while I'm at work with new ideas and revelations. The world is a juicy place and I'm stimulated just walking to work- the blossoms, the sun striking the pavement, the passing sky, the various shades of brownstones, the climate on my flesh, new voices, new faces- it all informs me. And it's information I wouldn't be collecting had I not taken this job. It's already afforded me the opportunity to purchase supplies for more prototypes! So I'm the whittler in the shop these days... the poet gathering words. And of all people I'm certain YOU know where I'm coming from being the creative artist that you are. xo