On 10 March 2017, Jaimee Rae sprayed a mural on her house. Now bearing the names of 500 #EndoWarriors living with endometriosis, the first EndoWall is an iconic feature of the Cardiff landscape.
The EndoWalls are there to let those suffering with endometriosis know that they’re not alone. They’re there to let the world know that endometriosis exists, and that those struggling are not invisible or creating the pain in their heads.
After having two operations, going back to the GP to ask for more help and being told that it was just in my head, despite being in chronic pain… It was partly that, and partly my own frustration that I had just had enough.
I think I had a bit of a meltdown. I started looking online, and found there was an awareness day for endometriosis. In fact, March was endometriosis awareness month.
I arranged to do a photoshoot with a friend. I wanted him to capture the yellow, the symbol, and the message that endometriosis exists. Obviously it’s the colour of endo. But I also chose yellow because there was this negativity surrounding me all the time, and I felt so low… I wanted something to buck myself up, and help the others that were struggling. I like a bit of colour. I thought if I get out there in yellow and start spray painting stuff, it might bring a bit of positivity to people.
I was in the middle of spraying, and this young lad walked past and started effing and blinding at me. He was saying how disgraceful it was that I was defacing this house. I said, ‘Well, actually it’s my house, for one. And two, if you just read what it says, you’ll see there’s a bit more to it. I’m not just drawing a dick on a bloody wall, am I? Or a vagina? Perhaps you’ll see there’s a message behind what I’m trying to do’.
I really struggled to continue with the photoshoot. At first, I was ready to go for it, and the frustration in me was driving me. But then that guy really deflated me. I ended up sitting on the floor, I had my head down, but ironically it captured one of the better photos. It seemed significant because, even though I was trying to get this message out there, just that one person shut it down. I needed to keep doing this, so I pushed myself. The police were called, but couldn’t arrest me as it was my own house.
Someone took a photo of the wall, and it was posted on the FTWW Facebook page. At first the response was mixed. But then more and more, people started saying, ‘I think that’s amazing, keep going, can I have my name on there?’
Before I knew it, I had over 1,000 names from women all over the world, all wanting to be part of what I was doing. It gave me the strength and determination to keep pushing forward.
EndoWall II was sprayed in Sunflower & I, Cardiff Bay. It features 1,000 names, and was painted entirely inside the premises. EndoWall III is Cafe Go, and different sections are found inside and out.
With the first wall, I could just pop outside for an hour if I felt up to it, because I lived there. Whereas with the second wall and the third wall… It wasn’t my house. I had to work around business hours. So I was working through the night. I was my own inside.
I realised that, with the first wall, I was out in the open. People would walk past, ask what I was doing. I was communicating. Which, for me, is a big help.
The third wall was in two sections, and I was able to be outside. So it started to help me again, because people were walking past, asking questions. ‘What are you doing?’, ‘What’s this about?’… That gave me a real boost.
Now I realise I won’t do another wall inside. If I’m outside, I get to communicate with people, tell them what my mission is, what I’m trying to do. I think communicating is my main source of how I cope with things. Art is my other one.
The EndoWalls are helping to encourage the Rising Awareness Movement to grow and spread across the globe; while assisting a silenced sisterhood to stand together and shout out for change.
By using the EndoWall art, we can continue to raise awareness and support one another in a positive, colourful manner.
I hope that one day there will be EndoWalls in every city so that they can be seen, signed and shared. 💛