As I Paint Here Tonight

I was 19 years old and had a boyfriend. My first LOVE, if we’re gonna get picky. And we LOVED each other madly in every possible way. He was a poet, and I proudly proclaimed myself a painter at that time–more then I do in my best days today….and, well, I was 19. Our passion for each other was at times toxic, and well, I was 19. We were always on-again/off-again and that’s the way it stayed for years and days.
Tonight I’ve been painting. Thinking of what makes my painting FEARLESS…and painting softly…letting my brush strokes move slowly.
When these thoughts began to visit me.
When I was only 19. And me and him were off-again, again. I put on a purple silk dress that was short and sexy. Because damn it–I was 19. And before I left to attend this shin-dig, he dropped by and told me not to wear that…that he didn’t want me seen in such a sexy little thang. So I walked out that door as proud as I could be, thinking I must be electrifying in this purple magical thang. Because, well, I was 19.
And what comes next, I can’t believe, as I sit here painting meditatively. Why do these stories revisit me now–what lessons am I to retrieve?
So when I was 19, and dressed to kill in a purple sexy thang–the evening got late and I started to get cold and wanted to walk back to a friend’s house to get a sweater to compensate. So two young men said they’d accompany me, since it wasn’t a safe place for me to be traveling alone. And you see I believed them–because that is me–and they were good looking, and, well, I was only 19.
And when I turned the key to unlock my friend’s front door, I remember thinking something was not right. But I was 19 and went inside anyways. Just seconds after, one of them attacked me and held me down, as the other one began to rip my purple short thang. I pushed, I screamed, and punched and kicked the hell out of them, and ran half naked down the street. I drove so fast hoping to fall into the arms of my off-again honey and have him protect me. Because, that’s what you think when you are 19.
When he opened the door–and saw me standing there–his first words he said were “I told you not to wear that dress.”
I’ll never forget that.
But the funny thing is I thought I did. Then tonight I just sit here innocently, painting, and I have to deal with this all over again.
I’m gonna tell you the truth. I’m gonna tell you what happened next–after the arguments, tears, and reports to the police. After things settled, and probably after we were on-again/ off-again, again. I picked up my paintbrush and I began to paint BIG. I painted a series of dresses way taller then me that were oil on raw canvas. And right smack in the middle of those dresses was my purple sexy thang.
I was going to Art school at the time. I had my own little studio space there as well. And all the other Art schoolers, who didn’t know me very well–thought my work was girly–and cliche. But I knew. I knew it was bold and in your fucking face–to paint those dresses so BIG and have them take up so much space. Painting them BIG meant taking back the power, those two young men tried to steal from me that night. Painting them BIG was my way of reminding them–that they picked the wrong 19 year old to mess with. Painting them BIG was my way of coping, dealing, working through all the things–that kept me tied to an on-again/ off-again nightmare. Painting them BIG was my initiation into a world that only women understand.
And when I was through…I put them in a dumpster and never looked back….until I sat here tonight. Painting.
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