The story of how I found my Dalilla

Life, Painting

Bless me, friends, for I have sinned. It’s been seven years since my last painting. 🙂

Seven years ago I made a painting inspired by a strong and artistic young woman. The painting turned out to be the best I had ever made. It felt the closest I had ever gotten to my truth. Lena was perfect. The problem is, I suffer from perfectionism. Lena was so perfect that I was terrified to start a new painting. What if it wasn’t as good as her? I never knew exactly where my paintings came from, they just came. What if Lena was a fluke? If I made a new painting, and it wasn’t as good, that would be proof that I actually couldn’t paint, just got lucky sometimes. And so I stopped. It wasn’t a decision that happened one day, I just slid further and further away from it each day. Going through a few years of depression pushed the paint brush further from my hand. And losing my paintings pushed me further into the darkness.

Lena, 2011

Last summer, for the first time in years, I saw a painting in my mind. She was beautiful, and I knew how to paint her. In June I drew her lines on my canvas, and 9 months later I welcomed my new baby. Baby Dalilla painting, who shares her birthday with the woman who inspired her.

For those of you living in Ireland or under a rock, allow me to introduce Dalilla Hermans.

Dalilla’s smile holds amazing power, luckily for us, she smiles constantly. Even having this painting in my room for the last 9 months has given me strength.
Almost everyone I know is thinking about writing a book, last year Dalilla published what she describes as “her first book”. At Charlie Magazine she has a platform to publish her skillfully composed articles. She is invited to speak at schools, conferences, tv debate panels and to give her opinion in newspapers. She was the most Googled person in Belgium in 2017, not to forget that she got to the final of a tv quiz show called “The smartest person in the world”. She is relationship goals. Dalilla and Willem are parenting goals. Their three beautiful babies, offspring goals.

Her life could be considered perfect.

Oh, but Dalilla has black skin. Before she shares her creativity, people already think that she is angry, unintelligent, unreasonable, overly emotional, that she’s wild and that she snores. For some, her skin colour is reason for abuse and hate. They crawl behind their computer and write that the world would be a better place if her and her kids were dead. I will not give them too much airspace. I just ask you to realise, if you admire Dalilla’s strength, her voice, her joyful presence, you can multiply your admiration by 100 because she deserves it.

Dalilla is an inspiration to me. After seven years missing a piece of my heart, Dalilla was the person who unlocked it again. This time I’m not letting go. I am learning to reject doubt, fear and any other poisonous liars. I am learning to know myself. I am learning to see, feel, and hold on to the beauty and love in every person I meet. I’m learning to recognise and appreciate my passions and to give them space, to give myself space.

It feels good to be back.
May I present to you; my Dalilla…

Thank you Dalilla.

Earring study for this painting