I haven’t always loved art. That may surprise some considering I do love painting and creating now and that’s how I started out in life, loving art. But there was a dark time in between now and then that I resented art as something that “I used to do” before life got so heavy and I closed myself off from creating anything. I forgot that the best time to prime a canvas and pour yourself into creating something is when things are bleak and you can’t see the light at the end.
There was one period of my life that I allowed myself to remain captive, held down and abused by someone who I was too afraid to create anything around for fear that it would only be destroyed in an effort to hurt me further. I really could not have nice things and he was the reason, or so I thought at the time. (Spoiler alert: I was the one who kept myself in this terrible relationship the whole time!) In this dark period, I had an epiphany that I would rather live free and risk the backlash and the fear of letting go rather than continue to be a passenger on this increasingly scary ride that we had stayed on for so, so many years.
Through some good timing and tolerance of each other, he was able to leave and I was finally able to collect what was left of myself and try to start again. I moved to the other side of town. I adopted healthier habits. I was doing well getting up and going to work and striving for improvement. I was so lonely and scared at the same time. Change is scary even when it’s positive, maybe even life-saving. I still held resentment for my former self for giving up on being an artist because “who has the time?” and “it will only be destroyed by him” thoughts that tied my hands behind my back every time. I let this continue for another year after he was out of my life.
Then one rainy afternoon, after consoling a former partner of mine who was crying and depressed and telling him to go lay down and try to sleep. I went to the living room, pulled a canvas, that I had left in its wrapping for months, from the closet and decided that would be the day that I just did it. I began painting the background and then a face was forming and I was painting without thought, just off of feeling and being in this amazing zone that I had gone for nearly a decade without experiencing. I was on such a high and almost outside of my own body as I worked along and spent the rest of the afternoon painting like I had been possessed. When I was finished I had a great sense of accomplishment and remembered the amazing feeling of creating something to marvel at and something to be proud of. That day was a pivotal point in my life and reminded me that I had once lived for art and it was a love that I had allowed myself to grow cold toward the further away that I would go. I decided that even when I don’t feel like it or I’m scared to, I have to paint. I have to paint to get it all out. I have to paint to see where I am mentally. I have to paint to stretch my imagination. My life has changed dramatically since I made the decision to just start painting again. The times alone, struggling to figure out my next steps, waiting in limbo for the grace of God to move me in the right direction and be patient as I waited, I painted. I create as my way of proving to myself that I still have “it” in me. And I think that while I was steadying myself painting, it allowed for so many doors to open and beautiful changes began to happen. I invested in myself, I opened my heart again, I trusted myself to become the mother to the most beautiful child I have ever known, and I am marrying the person that has been holding my hand and encourages me to be better every day. I had to look up from where I was because I could not continue living and wasting my time here without making my mark, no matter how small it may be. And now, so many years out of the woods, I can honestly say that I love art and everything that it unlocks inside of me. At times it's just been a love/hate relationship but we've worked it out.