Ocean Eversley is a self-taught artist who started painting in 2020 during the pandemic. She use’s art (i.e., poetry, acrylic painting, collage, and photography) to express the beauty and the suffering she sees in the world. In addition, she uses art to highlight the injustices that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color), Autistic, and other protected groups experience, as well as use art to express the possible ways to dismantle the practices, laws, and policies that discriminate and harm the environment. She integrates the politics of hope, love, self-care, and artivism to stay whole in a society that continually discriminates against her intersectional characteristics.
Ocean shares with The Art of Autism these beautiful portraits for Women’s History Month.
I wrote the poem, Outside of Zen that describes how I use my strength, self-love, wisdom, and art to stay whole in a discriminatory society.
she drifts back into the arms of the morning and feels the kisses of dawn’s radiant light.
The quiet h-u-s-h of the 24-hour day fills her lungs, her breath is slow and steady
despite March’s morning chill. She extends her ears to hear the welcome of feathered friends chirping
while standing upright on snow covered branches.
Thoughts appear and disappear like slow moving clouds, she doesn’t want to struggle with them, but she
does. More than that, she is aware of the quarrels of extremes outside of Zen.
It’s a place where her palms have lines, and biased minds mandate corrupt boundaries through lotus
ponds and reverent pristine lands. A place where she is perceived as less than even though her heart
tinkles like feng-shui wind chimes blowing in heavenly breezes.
It’s a place where she grinds her teeth worrying about what’s to come.
It’s a place her innate telos is only reachable by discerning her way through blurred veils of systemic
corruption, oppression, and immorality that are determined to terminate her and other sentient creations.
It’s just another day in her life, where every atom and molecule of her being
will be profiled and misjudged by millions of turned up noses drunk on white supremacy and addicted to
materialism and wealth.
She understands that the reality she wakes up to is where idle thoughts are valued more than life itself,
where the most sacred sanctuaries are run by bigots and pedophiles who triumph over helpless innocence,
where exalted scoundrels daringly flaunt their wickedness and rule over governments, and where women
and men are continually sacrificed to the glory of the empire.
She wishes, in this and every moment, she could distance herself
from all that is cruel and from all that would attempt to extinguish the sunshine in her soul.
She wishes she had a magical wand, and with one gigantic swish, she could mesmerize all
to look into her amber-green eyes, so they could crystallize into ancient sages of kindness.
Ultimately, she wishes for the knower to finally become known, and what is not known to be realized.
Unfortunately, she lives in a shameless world, where most people are too busy taking selfies to
unremittingly probe deep within their minds and hearts to discover we are all one.
She cannot afford to collapse within the vertical funnels of an intolerant and hateful tornado, where the
pressure kills and doesn’t allow for escape. She must stay calm in the eye of the storm so she can remain
free and see the sunrise of the next day.
She must be proficient at the dance of battle, where honesty and deceit do their tango in this spiral of
opposites; the one she dwells in, as this existence harbors both the unending quarry of darkness as
well as the gateway to light at once, as one.
Whether rain or shine, she rises and uses the blood pulsating in her veins to resist her undoing. Her daily
wardrobe is the thunderous force field of love which protects her from the indifference of willed blindness
and the deafness of many.
She must go on with her day, despite the racist’s attempts to erase her
dreams of freedom and smother her cries for humanity. She must be vigilant
to withstand the censorship of her voice. She must be vigilant unraveling the stereotypical labels that are placed on her.
She must be vigilant to withstand the devious cleverness of the authorities and how their status quo
splinters “others” into the rabbit holes of identities and philosophies, with the oppressed needing several
minutes to ardently describe who they are before they even claim their name, for the oppressed needing
even more time to testify why they should be perceived worthy of common decency.
Each and every morning, she gazes in silence at the eastern hills and listens to the kisses of life tapping at
her windowsill, she comprehends she must be a passionate seeker looking for resolution that unties the
tangles of a monstrous political system and bring it to its definitive end.
She understands there is no time for complacency; she understands she must glue back the relics of
fragmented tales and its pieces in order to teach historical truths.
She understands it’s time for a new blueprint to be designed and read, and an enlightened path to be
walked. One that heals perturbed souls who convulse to menacing realities and who are ill-equipped to
withstand the punches and bruises of a lethal design.
She understands that once the innovative path is taken, the trail of despair will seem to vanish from the
back, with no way back, because evil will be forever out of season.
I see her attempting to chart a path where no cries of oppression exist, where there is no need for criminal
laws or prisons, where no one is deported by the racist apocalypse, and
where all beings share the same harmonious breath.
In the sunset of her daydreams, she longs to hear the leaves of the summer, the whizz of hummingbird
wings, the gentle whisper of the wind swishing over the faces of lakes, and the fragrance of airstreams
purified by afternoon rains scented with pinon pine.
Instead, she spends the rest of her morning envisioning the great orators and narrative nonfictional
creative writers, studying their musicality and nuance, and their masterful use of metaphor and poetic
expression for social justice.
Every morning the world hurls itself over and exposes its ailments to the sun and her; Every morning she
contemplates all of this within the first eleven minutes she wakes, outside of Zen.
Ocean Eversley is an African American and Native American Aspie woman whose ideals bend towards social justice, self-love and treating people and the environment with dignity and respect. Her passion for social justice led her to attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst and achieve a bachelor’s degree in social justice, social work, and journalism and a certificate in creative writing. She graduated with a summa cum laude status. In May of 2022, she achieved a Master’s degree in social work from Springfield College, also located in Massachusetts. She is driven to understand social and historical truths to assist in bringing about a positive change to society despite what color line, religious line, ableism line, gender line, economical line, political line, and cultural line one dwells in.
Ocean states it took her to look into the deepest, most sacred part of herself to find the strength to pursue the life she believed she was worthy of. Ocean asserts “the personal is indeed political because when women like me start to embrace self-care, we can begin to feel a sense of liberation, pursue their goals, grow into their fullest bloom, and use artivism to advocate for environmental and cultural justice. After being dispirited from all the isms she experienced in the workforce, she chose to pursue art full-time after feeling a divine call to focus on her true passion.
Ocean Eversley lives in Massachusetts. She spends most of her time in Northampton, Martha’s Vineyard, and New York.