In the midst of painting my Flower Power portraits I came across a stunning purple bloom – the ballerina geranium. Her soft violet petals would work perfectly against the red lip of my model. The black center of her flower could make for interesting eyes perhaps. In each painting a flower represented a different power and I had to find out what power she was going to enjoy. As I looked through the Internet I saw her dark past. The ballerina geranium held a long association with “envy” in garden language. While ivy was known for faithfulness and the red rose for the deep love, the ballerina geranium had been assigned an identity akin to the witch, the sorceress, the dangerous – the dark women in the fairytales of our childhood.
I began to think about envy. All the stories I remembered about envy particularly schools’ required literature like Jane Austen, had a common thread: women were coveting the life, the lifestyle, the freedom and the happiness of another. Was this just a failing of the fairer sex? NO. Powerless to earn money, to vote, to leave the home, to choose their life partner the only battle left was the one with their own spiritual condition. In this horrible cycle, women were marred as desperate, jealous and dangerous.
Over a hundred years later, life for millions of women is very different but I think women are still marred by this reputation. We all suffer from envy from time to time but I invite you to experience it in a new way. Sure, we can continue to feel discontented, but why not consider envy as a gift. Take that horrible moment when envy enters your heart and pause. If you want another person’s partner don’t get stuck in the wanting, ask yourself what are the traits and characteristics you desire. Seek them out in another available man or woman. When your eyes go blind with desire for that house in that neighborhood, take time to write out a plan for you move to a place that makes you happy. When you find yourself seething at the promotion or new success of a colleague, find a space alone to write out why and establish what you want. You are powerful. Envy no longer serves you. It is no longer your lot. Feel blessed you don’t have to withstand the prison sentence women once did. It’s time to turn envy into opportunity and say thank you because now you know what you want, and if you don’t start visioning. Go get yours! My girl in the painting “The Power of Envy” That’s what she’s all about. I leave you with a poem I wrote to accompany the painting.
Oh jealous heart.
What have I done? Where have I gone?
Stop. I face you. I thank you.
Thank you for revealing my desires.
Not her. Not hers. But Mine.