Starting point. Some I like, some I don’t. Some smooth, techniqued, personal; the rest a rough attempt. My life, thus far, has been a rough attempt.
I consider this painting as a base on which to build something to be proud of. Not to cover. Not to hide, exactly…
Who am I kidding? Of course it’s to hide something I don’t like . A base to layer up. I can quietly remake my discomfort. Now, alone in my studio, I can let art unwind my brain, build pathways, take risks, and have immediate re-dos. In private, I can let lose my heart from my head and see what happens. Maybe each layer of paint will become layer of belief.
You see, my privacy was taken from me. My growth was highly visible early on. Responsible. Well behaved. Seen and not heard. Or not seen, unless there was blood.
The visibility was too much. The exposure too much. The risks too big.
So I grew to hide. And to be quiet. Or try to. The thing is, I’m hard to miss and I’m not quiet.
I was a really cute little kid. I’m a born extrovert, a curious cat, a whirl of energy, a deep well. I grew into a physical presence that is hard to not notice.
Yet the feeling of over exposure persists making it difficult to harness and direct the gifts I possess. Over exposure has meant a lifetime of being camera shy and hating mirrors. And then when I do rise and shine, I have no idea how to maintain it. I don’t have the connection points. My neural paths have abrupt ends. I can’t access my continuous memory. Almost everything is brand new to me every time. I feel like Alzheimer’s must feel like. And I know it, so it’s really disturbing.
These last four years have been a blessing in privacy. My road to Emmaus has been a largely solo journey, gradually walking with new others as tolerable. In doing so, God shows up in them, re-placing isolation with community, addiction with freedom, fear with acceptance. For me, this journey is not just loss and grief, but complete surrender. A surrender of what I thought I was. A surrender of what I thought I knew, where I thought I was headed, and what I thought previous others were. I’ve come to realize how much I was always looking at the wrong things and then forgetting that I knew that. In my constant battle with fear and grief, I kept not looking at my only real source of strength; my road to Emmaus leads to me.
Truth is, I didn’t forget what Jesus looked like; I forgot what I looked like.