But I have discovered something about modest people.
If there’s any singular, capital-T Truth threaded through Adult Onset, the latest by author and playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald, it’s this: if you don’t make amends with your suffering, you’ll pass it along.
Coughing up the troubling snapshots of your own past can soften their lingering sting, and can maybe even stave off the doom (yes, doom) of repeating your own devastating history. Logic suggests that the not-so-fun game of misery hot potato stops there.
This parable is drawn out through the character of Mary Rose MacKinnon. Like MacDonald, Mary Rose is a successful author raising two young children with her theatre director wife in the yummy mummy stronghold of Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. Her aging parents are increasingly fragile but well-meaning, sending emails bursting with parental pride over Mary Rose’s queer role-model status in light of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project, whose videos they have just discovered. All seems well on the surface, until domestic tensions trigger the recurrence of symptoms from a childhood illness, a psychological flare-up of repressed memory is ignited in turn. Enter: mommy issues.
“There are schools of mental health thought which predict that if you went through a trauma for example, or a difficult time at a certain age—with, perhaps, your mother—then if you have a child, when they enter that same phase of life you might find yourself re-enacting it,” says MacDonald. “But you’ll be playing a different part—that of perpetrator, abuser, person who loves you that hurts you. Otherwise often known as your parent.”
But Mary Rose’s mother is also wounded, a Catholic stay-at-home matriarch of the Mother’s Little Helper epoch who suffered miscarriages, crib deaths and postpartum depressions. As both mother and daughter age into new life-phases, their overlapping wounds take on new meaning.
"Much like the protagonist, I never expected to be a mother. I certainly never expected to be married. When I was younger, as soon as I understood I was a lesbian at age five before I knew there was a word for it, I thought ‘This is trouble. You’re never getting married.’ Brave new world, that has such married people in it. So no, I never thought that parenthood ever conferred any kind of adult status on anyone. In fact, a lot of people hurdle backwards when they’re responsible for someone else. That is not a magic wand."
~ Kelli Korducki, Hazlitt
Whenever I paint a portrait, I find that it doesn't really matter too much which colours I use as long as there is a mixture of warm & cool and transparent & opaque though I do often tend to lean towards primary colours. In this case, I have worked on both of these portraits with the same palette - turquoise deep, napthol crimson, titanium white, Turner's yellow and burnt umber (Liquitex heavy body acrylics). I tend to avoid browns and blacks as I prefer to mix my own but on occasion I will incorporate a small amount.
What I find the most interesting is how many different tones and colours I can create with such a limited palette. Initially, when I began painting 20+ years ago, I only used ultramarine blue, cadmium red & yellow medium and titanium white. I still managed to create 1000 paintings (over many years) that were all very different from one another with such a limited range of colours. I do incorporate a broader palette now, particularly for the backgrounds of my paintings, and I think that layering helps to create a greater variety of tints & tones in each painting.
We’re at a time right now where we need to be amplifying voices that haven’t been amplified.
MLA Janis Irwin was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and is currently the Official Opposition Deputy Whip and the Critic for Women and LGBTQ2S+ issues. MLA Irwin is an empowering leader with a passion for communities, education and social justice.
Put yourself out there and show up because you absolutely have something to offer.
MLA Irwin explains, “I am an introvert and historically I’ve been very shy and I’ve had to overcome that, and I look back at the times where I've had to put myself out there and show up to community meetings where no one knows you and they may all dismiss you but show up anyways and offer your support and the skills you have”, she adds “especially women, we tend to sell ourselves short and tend to minimize our gifts and our abilities, I would encourage my young self to not be so reserved and feel like I don’t have something to contribute”. She reiterates, “if you’re unsure and you think you don’t have the experience and you think you are not qualified, you know what, I bet you are and I also bet that a man with similar experiences as you is not asking himself the same questions”.
Fostering support for diverse Albertans beyond tokenism.
Speaking to how her position as a member of the Legislative assembly has invalidated the notion of tokenism towards women, BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities, MLA Irwin says, “my experience is a privileged one but what I can do is try to amplify and uplift their experiences and share their voices in the legislature”. MLA Irwin is committed to tangible action and is striving to work hard to change the diversity in the legislature, stating “we can’t have tokenistic statements that are not followed up by anything concrete”.
Emphasis on the invaluable purpose of an intersectional lens.
“My view of intersectionality is basically looking at the various ways which a person's identities intersect, so we’re talking about gender, race, disabilities, sexuality, religion and the list goes on and we’re also examining privilege as well”. MLA Irwin was proud of the work the previous NDP government did to uplift and give voice to diverse Albertans. “Not just token messages of support, that meant actually adjusting our ABC’s - agencies, boards and commissions - so that women, non binary folks, gender diverse people, folks from the BIPOC community were actually represented”. MLA Irwin stressed “when i look around at our legislature, the diversity of our province is not reflected. I wanna go into that legislature, and not speak for other communities, but to amplify their voices”.
~ DirectHer Network
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +