I ran my fingers through my hair and glanced at the canvas lying on my dining room table. The canvas I’ve been slowly working for over a week. The green, mesh netting I added a couple days ago was still attached to it and I recalled my earlier thought that I no longer wanted it on the piece. My bed and sleep beckoned, but the need to remove this scab was greater.
There’s been a lot of letting go for me lately. Things I have no control over. Dead things I have held for too long. I feel them drop from my fingers – fragile things, broken things – and feel their weight lift.
I’ve felt the need for a good cry, but this isn’t the first time tears haven’t joined the melancholy or even the breaking of my soul. I sustain myself in private words, in the scrawling of paint across canvas.
I etch the words in black ink, the words that were presently pouring silently out of my heart. Four words scrawled that will one day be covered with paint, unseen to the unknown viewer’s eye. It was a declaration in the moment. A cry. A shout. A plea.
I’ve been hiding within myself lately. Searching out who I am. A process I believed had occurred over 15 years ago. Perhaps it’s a new me I am discovering.
Perhaps part of the pieces I feel falling from my hands are pieces of the shell breaking apart to allow the new version of myself to emerge. To be honest this rebirth is just as painful as the first time of finding myself. And the fragile egg like shells occasionally cut even the hands that allow them to fall. And I am reminded that this is part of living.
My fingers pull at the netting that has been glued, gessoed, and painted to the canvas. I feel the slight resistance of the canvas as the scab is torn from its flesh. I understand this. There is a catharticness to the ripping off. Pieces remain and though I try they are fixed permanently. This I also understand. I draw out my brush and apply quick, messy, thick strokes of gesso to the area I have just bared open. It is the first of healing ointments that I will apply to the scar I have created.
This piece is my soul. I knew that from its conception. I did not, however, realize just how much of my soul it would be.