When I moved to Kelowna BC from the small town of Armstrong BC, just an hour and a half away I thought it would be a city full of opportunity for me as an artist/writer/activist and on a personal level as a newly divorced, broken hearted single mother; I might find a new love.
I had always wanted to write my book; even as a small child I was accutely aware of the double standards, violence and sexism against women. I thought the Goddess or Wonder Woman was and still is a empowering archetype towards empowering women and girls. The main reason behind my book was to show that women and men could both be strong, emotional, compassionate and that both the sexes could strive towards true justice and equality. As a very small child raised in a strict christian household, I was still a wise old soul whom saw past the shame and sin placed on sexuality as unfounded and just silly. I would prance naked around my repressed mother as she squacked and clucked at me for my sinful nature with glee and mischeif. I just knew that logically the shame placed on sexuality and the body was unnatural not sex and sexuality.
Anyways upon moving to Kelowna and writing, producing the goddess photography or photographs of me as many goddesses, upon designing and publishing my website and blog, I was continually shocked at how the arts council and at how the leaders of Kelowna’s culture treated me as a second class citizen. I was not allowed to join in networking groups, I was not given the press release that the art’s council promised me. I was not allowed to show my book or other art in galleries or other art exhibits. I was not heard by Colin Basran, he called me to tell me there was nothing he could do about the outright prejudice and discrimination placed upon me by the leaders of Kelown’s cultural networking organizations. He told me he could not make people include me. I was made of mockery of by Laurie Welborn who’s name came up on our phone conversation. She did a video of the topless issue after pretending to be my friend off and on Facebook, it was obvious online bullying and even after she made the videos she then asked me to my face if I felt suicidal. During this time I was also harassed out of Brett Wilson’s gym by his female manager a close friend of Laurie’s, because I was told my online profile or my writing about the discrimination, sexuall harssment, sexual discrimination and women’s sexuality was a threat to Brett Wilson’s reputation. The Mayor of Kelowna was made aware of all these facts yet because I was not wealthy or well connected I simply didn’t matter to Kelowna’s socieity or culture. If I had, had a Batchelor of the Arts or other degrees I would probably of been given some credibility, but I am self taught, a natural talent, self read, self motivated, self starter and well studied and well read on my own; but in Kelowna this holds no credibility. In Kelowna’s culture of wealth and social status I was invisible. I was a minority I was an annoyance to the wealthy and connected that wanted and that wants to manipulate and mold Kelowna’s culture as they see fit; like Colin Basran, the wealthy and highly connected Cipes family and the private owners of KelownaNow. I was purposefully shut out of and silenced from Kelowna’s culture as a threat towards Kelowna’s professional and pristeen tourist orientated brand. Kelowna’s culuture has become a tourist brand. I was made invisible by sexual prejudice, ignorance and going by Laurie’s videos.. hate.
Looking in retrospect at Kelowna’s culture; it is culture based on wealth and the accumulation of wealth; as Kelowna tried to paint me over with shades of grey to make me invisible as a part from the culture or IMAGE they wish to create and brand, Kelowna is grey or bland in it’s culture as it steals from other cultures what it feels is culturally safe and acceptable- but isn’t this just the Canadian way of the arts in general? What is Canadian culture but a washed out version of American or US culture? And we wonder why Candian artist can’t make a go of it in Canada?
I was the biggest feminist in Kelowna but Kelowna effectively phased me out by overwhelming me and my children through me by it’s overt prejudice towards me. But my children and I are slowly loosing our Kelowna Culture wash; my kids are not feeling the need to be overly competative or to dress to impress others, and I am finding peace and solitude in the countryside. It is all slowly fading to grey.
I learned that I never needed to be in Kelowna to pursue my arts and feminist activism and that I would never of met anyone in that culture due to how they would be washed by that culture into seeing me through prejudice. I learned that I am unique and special, special enought to stand out from the crowd and make it on my own an on my own terms..and by make it, I mean being me and doing what I love. I can share and educate here through my own creations.