Awaken the Divine in You
If anyone had told me that I would be designing and making clothes, I would have laughed my face off.
My children are all remarkable artists. I was deliberate with the development of their artistic genes. Where the visual arts were concerned, I felt I had been passed by. I now know that my visual artist had been lying dormant, waiting for me to slow down.
The visual artist in me was awakened a few months back when something said, “Make a dress.” I listened and now, I am not only making dresses, I’m creating the fabric they are made from.
Recently, I didn’t just create, I gave life to the memories of my sister who’s been gone from here for 25 years.
My sister, Myrna Vercher, was a creative light. She was afro-centric long before it was cool, and a feminist before folks were saying the word out loud. She was my heroine. Myrna was a professional photographer at a time when black women were not allowed in the places she photographed. She was a spiritual/ intellectual/artistic being and I yearned to be like her.
Myrna was also a painter. I was just 2 or 3 years old, but I remember sitting outside in the sunlight so she could capture my features for the Madonna and child she’d been working on.
“Hold still, Bess-One.” She said. I was her Bess-One, or the best one of them, she’d say whispering in my ear. My middle name is Bessie, after the singer Bessie Smith, but if you call me that I won’t answer—I just won’t.
She took me to New York, and bought me a copy of The Science of the Mind for my birthday; I was just 12.
In our family, Myrna was an enigma, a weirdo, Cousin Marilyn from the TV show The Munsters. She was strange, but she was also my light.
So when I sat down to create a new dress, something said, “Do us.” I looked up and saw the painting of the Madonna and child. I had posed for the features of the baby Jesus, and Myrna used her own for the mother, Mary. My family was poor, so I have no baby or even childhood pictures. I have her one surviving painting. I have her stories, her light, and her wisdom and now, I have her creativity.
There is an artist in all of us. There is divinity in all of us. Wake up.
Now, more than ever, I love you.
We need We
Bertice Berry, PhD.