Dangerous Compassions

deep respect cub care jaguar

Hello, how are you doing?  I painted this deep respect cub care jaguar.  Thought you might like to see it.

deep respect cub care collective

Deep respect cub care jaguar is craft paint on reclaimed product packaging card stock.  It’s based on a photo of a sculpture I saw online.  In the sculpture photo, I can see the Jaguar is holding two cubs on her lap.

how I made it

Let me tell you how I made this painting.  I was at the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective meeting the other night and made the background.  First I made the dark yellow rectangle in the middle. Then I ran out of the dark yellow and put the lighter yellow around it.

I used up an old tube of acrylic pink on the pink stripe part.  That felt nice, to see the yellows with the pink.

Then I put the green stripe for no good reason.  Then the green part that looks kind of like a Christmas tree was to cover a part I didn’t like of yellow that got a weird texture.  I think the yellow paint was a bit dry.

So that’s the background on my background.  The meeting was pretty good; I’ll show you a screenshot.  Someone else was there who left early.  Ming took the screenshot right when I got up to wash my paintbrush.  Oops!



Then I was looking at my background the next morning and thinking what to put on it.  Sometimes I put words, but I thought I should put an image of something that matters to me.

I thought of Jaguar and looked at images of Jaguar for a long time.  I saw many aspects of Jaguar and got really excited.  The idea of Jaguar as grandmother midwife witch really appealed to me.  So that’s what I ended up making.

These are the questions I asked myself while I was making this art:

  • what is worth protecting?
  • how can i care?
  • how can i use my skills to create small or large scale justice?

I thought of the cubs to protect now, and the cub I once was.  Best ways to help the world, especially the most vulnerable.

It made me think of my mom, with the cub care.  She was a preschool teacher and preschool director for decades, so caring for kids was her life.  I like to think of her as a Grandmother Midwife Jaguar.


I’m riding the wave, as I continue to grieve my mom.  I trust myself to feel.  Some days my grief is low, some passing thoughts as I cook my breakfast.  Some days my grief feels like it’s killing me, and I will die under the unbearable pressure of loss-terror compressing and constricting me in an unsafe world that can’t understand me, let alone meet my needs.

It’s all that, and everything in between.  Feeling is my specialty.  I’m really good at it, so why not allow myself to feel all I can?  It’s like letting an opera singer sing, or letting a gardener grow some plants.

The other day I wondered, “Am I hurting too much about my mom still, like should I be worried about myself and seek help?”  Then I realized I’m doing great.

I don’t care what the DSM says about how long grief is supposed to last. My grief is valid.  I don’t need a psychiatrist to take these feelings away, or take this art away from me.  Making art is healing me.

True I am not able to work at a paying job full time or do lots of normal things like drive a car, watch movies, or have children.  But let me feel, if that’s my job in this world.  Let other people do the normal things.  It’s a sacred honor to feel my feelings when not everyone can.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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