My mother's mother is very dear to me; she is sensitive, warm and loving and we share a special bond.
When I was young girl, she told me about the day she went to school wearing red socks. When her classmates saw her in the red socks they teased her mercilessly, and being the sensitive person she is, it hurt her quite deeply. She never wore the colour red again. She was so cut by schoolyard teasing, that she let fear and low self-confidence take over and lived a life without red.
The above painting titled 'Let me hold your fears' (2006), I created with this story in mind. My nana is represented by the naked figure in the red socks, my mother is wearing the red wig, she would like to be red also holds the same fears of not being accepted, while I am the small girl in the corner, I just want to be red. I long to carry their fears for them, God knows, they've been holding themselves back for far too long. The painting and story is symbolic of all the fears we carry as Shipards and as women, not simply the colour red.
Three years down the track as I am in the midst of independent adulthood, I find myself questioning my moves, worrying about trivial things like how I dress and that I won't be accepted. I kick myself to think how much time and energy I waste worrying. Nomather how far away you go, your flaws and fears never escape you. Fortunately I have learnt from their mistakes somewhat, or at least I've know how wonderful they really are and how fabulous a colour red is on both of them.
Anybody who knows me would have picked up on my love of red, I wear it almost everyday, though I never made the connection between this story and my love of red. I love the colour, and went through a phase of collecting red objects. My mother also loves the colour and nana has began to admire the colour when she see's us sporting it. A few days ago I actually bought my first pair of red socks, and perhaps in light of my current state of worry, I shall wear the socks in public and prove to myself that there is nothing to fear. Maybe I might even buy my mother's mother a pair red socks, and tell she's beautiful and loved, and it's time to let go of her fears and wear red once more xx.