There’s a quote by Zora Neale Hurston that sums it up nicely, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” Our creative work is an extension of our voice and we can’t afford to stay silent.
How do you define love?: I think love is a powerful, powerful weapon. My mom had a mastectomy recently and right after her surgery, as soon as she saw me, her face lit up and she had this huge smile. And I think about how her love for me could do that, how it could make her smile so brightly after such a difficult experience. If love could do that, imagine what else it could do. It could blow up stars.
I know that when I don’t make time to create, I’m miserable, really, very bitter. I need it to survive and I love doing it, so, it has to be a priority. And that sometimes means forcefully carving time into my day, and taking on fewer responsibilities. But I know that not everyone can do that, so it’s a privilege, too.
My art is a way of coping and processing. As a WoC, there are psychological and systemic threats to my well-being and my art allows me to combat those threats by flourishing.
My mom used to make me paper dolls. She would doodle images of girls on notebook paper and she would cut them out and draw different dresses for them. I remember, I was around 4 years old, I was watching her draw and it really looked like witchcraft, the way this little person appeared on the page, out of nowhere. I asked her to teach me how she did that. And I remember her saying: I don’t think I can teach you. So, I watched her, and practiced drawing, first these paper dolls, and then more elaborate characters with stories.
Your existence is not only valid, it’s beautiful.
*Photos courtesy of Daniela Cabada