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To be a Thomas Girl

Jennie Wishart


"Being the second youngest in a family of six girls you forget who you are. Forget id the wrong word ... You are not you, not an individual, you are a them, a 'Thomas Girl'. You answer to another name as your individual name is of no importance as teachers mistake you for one of your sisters. Who really cares what name you answer too? For a family wedding our mother had the wonderful idea of dressing us all the same . As second to the youngest those dresses were passed down through the whole of my childhood, worn with trousers when too short; haunted by those dresses.

I’m still fighting to be me. To claim my own name. They still judge, still hurt ... but hey, they’re your sisters and think they can say things you wouldn’t accept from a friend.

We’ll always be entwined together but I’m not one of them; I’m me.

How to explain how art has impacted my life? How to explain how art has helped me make sense of the world and my journey through my mental health illness and struggles? The hand that itches to draw, to write down, to record. It’s seen me through being stripped to nothing, where my paranoid ramblings were hidden in my notebook and it grew, images committed to canvas… Then onto gallery walls... Then the sharing... Sharing the benefits and how we can escape our problems and rest our brains (if temporarily) when putting brush to paper."

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