Looking At Myself

Morning Drawing, Oil Pastel on Paper, 12″ x 9″
On my 34th birthday this past December, I promised myself that I would live this year in Truth, Commitment, & Trust. I knew–I knew that day as I sat painting my self portrait below, that this year would be special…that it would be transformative…for the lack of a better word. I had no idea how–or what that would look or feel like.

Acrylic on Canvas Board, 12″ x 9″
Now it’s April. I had no idea then, that I would be making the decisions I am now. I had no idea then, that my Creative Juicy Life would take on new meaning…that my heart would have a complete awakening. And like I said, it is only April.
I want to fully live this promise.
What is my Truth? What am I Committed to–and am I staying Committed? What does it mean to be Committed? And…Trust. Can I Trust more? Can I let go more? Can I float more–breathe deeper—surrender quicker? Can I Trust that who I am now, where I am now, what my Creative Juicy Life looks like now is enough?
Then….I see THIS VIDEO of me made by the beautiful Chris Zydel posted on her blog Creative Juices Arts. I’m going to be honest. At first, I really couldn’t get myself to watch it. Then this weekend, I did.
And tears ran down my face. Not because I remember how moved I was when shooting that…but something else. Something deeper. Something that at that time, I was only brushing the surface of.
Tempera on Paper, 28.5″ x 22.5″
We had only 30 minutes left until we would have to clean up, pack up, and say our final good byes of the Wild Heart Painting Retreat. I just finished a painting, and Chris suggested I do one more. So I decided on a self portrait–and MY intentions were to make it cheerful, happy–full of life and hope.
But she, the Queen, had a different plan. No matter how hard I tried to change the expression on the face…it always came up somber. Against Chris’s instructions not to paint over what we do–I did anyways, and still came up with less then a smile. And those circles on my skin, that were intended to be tattoos in honor of all the hundreds of circles I painted that weekend–started to look more like ringworm–or some foreign disease growing on my body.
When Chris asked me how I felt about this piece…I told her I was angry–frustrated–unhappy with the result. My intentions were to make this a happy self portrait to reflect how I felt–and instead I looked sickly and diseased.
“Now the real work begins,” said Chris.
Wow was she ever right.
As much as I LOVE all of the paintings I created that weekend…especially my Queen, my Goddess HERE. It was this painting that I think was the biggest break through for me of them all. This one–done in a quick whim–this one, that no matter how hard I tried to trump the Queen–she got her way–and communicated with me what she needed to say.
I haven’t looked at this painting since this weekend as well. Right after I forced myself to watch the video.
The truth is, I’m terribly unhappy in my own skin lately. I look at the video of me–and all I can see is a huge body covering the spirit which is really me. In the inside, I feel light–like I could take flight any moment–but my body shape doesn’t reflect this. I can feel the weight on my bones–as if it was really a disease I wear. And I can feel what it does to me…how it slows me down…exhausts me.
When I look at the video…the body that vessels my heart and soul…no longer serves me. It no longer fits–and I feel that. I feel that all this extra weight I’ve been carrying has been to protect me–to keep me comfortable in the life I have–to keep me grounded into the place I’m at. But it is not in alignment with who I really am–who I am growing to be.
This past week, I found the joy of my roller blades again. Each day I’ve carved enough time to strap on my skates and shimmy around my neighborhood. I LOVE IT. Simply, LOVE it. I LOVE the feel of the wind around my body. I feel light–I feel strong–I feel as if I could take flight any second!
And it makes sense, because when I was little I went through skates like water. I skated every day in the summer–and in the winter, my Mom always took us to the skating rink each weekend.
I’m a child again when I skate. I’m light–happy–in total alignment with my body–so much that yesterday morning, this women stopped me while I was skating just to tell me that I was radiating-and looking like I was having so much fun. As I skated away–she cheered me on.
I came home and I made the Morning Page you see on top. I decided that it is time to make amends with my body. To appreciate the protection it has lovingly given me–by covering me in a quilt of fat—but I need to crawl from under the covers and make room for my Creative Juicy Life to fill the space around my heart. This will be the only way I can move forward.
This will be the only way I can live out my promise of Truth, Commitment, and Trust to myself.
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