Sadie Speaks


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Barn Paintings

“If the barn needs painting, paint it.” –dumb saying
This website began a long time ago in God’s heart and mind, but was only conceived in mine about ten years ago.  After mustering all the courage I had to pick up the landline and tell the truth to a complete stranger over the phone, I was once again confronted with all the triggers of Mr. Magoo and his improprieties toward me.  A phrase I could not get out of my head was one that a grown man twice my age said often enough for me to remember—“If the barn needs painting, paint it” followed by a chortle that, though I missed it then, was both creepy and telling.
I am the youngest of four children by several years—7, 9 and 10 years to be exact.  So make- up was a fun thing for my older sister to introduce me to on the eve of my brother’s wedding.  She basically forced my head into the carpet and tweezed my one eyebrow into two.  She taught me how to put on foundation and scolded me for not keeping my eyes still while she painted on mascara.  She schooled me in the ways of eye shadow, eye liner and lip gloss.  I was 11 years old and in the 6th grade.  I don’t begrudge her one moment of those fond memories.  And I repeated her lessons to my daughters in their early junior high years. 
Make-up became a way of life.  For forty years now, I can count on two hands the number of days in a row I haven’t painted my face with the very exact same regimen.  I could do it in my sleep.  I absolutely plan to have it written down in great detail for the caretaker that he might give me a makeover fit for the casket (dark humor alert).   I don’t hate cosmetics.  I like the way make-up enhances a face.  I still spend too much on just the right shade of eye shadow for matching outfits and there’s nothing more satisfying than good lipstick. 
That said, I sit here unpainted in a kind of protest as I type this.  Mr. Magoo used that phrase in a way that demeaned, demoralized and dehumanized.  It was his power grab.  Rows and rows of beautiful young girls before him –without a stitch of make-up—and he used his authority to compare us to barns, to objectify us and to pound the drum harder and harder. 
Thump. You are not enough. Thump.  Just as you are is never enough. Thump.  You need paint. Thump.  ‘Cause you’re an ugly old barn. Thump.
Thump. You are not enough. Thump.  Just as you are is never enough. Thump.  You need paint. Thump.  ‘Cause you’re an ugly old barn. Thump. 
Thump. You are not enough. Thump.  Just as you are is never enough. Thump.  You need paint. Thump.  ‘Cause you’re an ugly old barn. Thump.
So when my triggers got triggered some years ago and I was using Art more and more for therapy, I decided to take old discarded make-up, cosmetics, health & beauty aids, and tools of the fashion industry and paint barns.  If the barn truly needs painted, I will paint it with old, used up, broken cosmetics and bring beauty through pain.  I hope you see the irony.  It is my way to stop the drum beat.
It is my way to start a new rhythm after abuse: You are enough as you are.  Beautiful little girl, you are enough.

Inspiration