When in pain…paint

Somewhere along the way, I developed a couple of healthy coping mechanisms to accompany my very unhealthy ones; one of which is painting. Around the age of 19, I realized that I could draw a face and body that amounted to more than just a stick figure.  I had recently moved to California, and didn’t have many friends. I lived about a five-minute drive from the water, and so I would take a journal and pencil and draw the faces of my friends from back home. I missed them. I soon bought some paints and canvas and trusted that my hands wouldn’t fail me.

Ever since, I have used painting as a release. It’s a gradual release after all. It takes time to imagine the image, pick the colors, project the pain from inside of me onto the canvass. Afterward, I have a visual timeline of my trials. It allows me to look back; see how far I’ve come.  I’ve painted happier things for others; joined an art show here and there, but my painting has really been for me.

Here are a few.

This is called Ten Cuidado Con Mi Corazon. (Be careful with my heart)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never gave this one a name. This is a self-portrait. I am obviously angry and sad, and I remember wishing that memories were flammable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one is called Gravity. The words on the side are the lyrics from the Sara Bareilles song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Inside Out.The textured pieces on the right of the painting are dried flower petals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wasn’t actually painted during trying times…well fully. It began as a gift for my ex. She was moving into a new house, and wanted art for her walls. She returned it to me after we broke up last year. In hindsight, it may not have been the best idea to paint us as calaveras…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is called Rebirth.  I painted it in the last year as a reminder of the journey back to sanity that I have made since my ex and I broke up. I purposely made her pink (some would say bruised) and weak, because in my head, that’s how one begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is my most recent work.  It is unfinished. I look at it every day and think maybe one day it will be finished.  It’s called Lady In Waiting.

Moment of Reflection

It’s never easy to look at one’s flaws, mistakes, and wish-I-could-do-over’s.

The sting of “Why did I do that” causes anxiety and depression, at least for me.

Often times, throughout the past year, my dreams have rummaged through hurts and insecurities and madness without my conscious permission; left me worn and confused, and wanting to correct mistakes, yours and mine.

I remind myself that your mistakes are your own.

Many times I have reminded myself that I have only ever had the power to correct mine, to climb out of the strange depths of “love” induced madness healthier and happier, with a greater sense of joy.

I have long since forgiven you.  I only recently have forgiven myself.

I hear you are healthy, happy, and dating.

One year later, it doesn’t sting quite as much, the dating part I mean.

I would be lying if I said the thought of you enjoying close intimate moments with someone else doesn’t prick just a bit…

I have never been good at letting go. We talked about that, you and I. You knew this.

I have many times pouted and cried to close friends, “This is different.”

Was it?

There was the rush of instant chemistry, blush of vulnerability, and a vision and immature reach into a future of forever.

There were signs you were not for me…the disapproval of friends who have known me for years, the secrecy of a love I wanted to shout about…the recognition that I could not, no matter how hard I tried, understand you. And no, you never understood me either.

I sat one day, and listed all of my mistakes and ridiculous behaviors. I had to own them, one by one, no excuses.

This isn’t to say that I think myself a horrible person, or less worthy of love, trust, and happiness.

It was instead a necessary part of healing, a part of letting go.

My very best friend and I had a brief discussion about all that has happened in the past year.  She marvelled at the fact that, still, a year later, I twitch uncomfortably at the mention of your name.  She came to the same conclusion I had come to long ago. I was really in love with you…

It WAS different.  I can say without a doubt that you are a part of a short list of great loves (2).  It was a great love, if but brief and chaotic. It was a great love, for all the painful lessons.

It was a great love, that I many times tried to forget by consuming every bit of alcohol within my reach.  It was a great love that I remembered even on hazy, panicked, regretful hangover mornings.

It was a great love, that I now carry with me voluntarily.

It was a great love, and perhaps you would disagree.

But then, that would fit perfectly into the story of you and I, wouldn’t it?