I am a painter of flowers. I accept, I agree, I celebrate that this is the truth, and that this is what I am. “there are flowers everywhere for those who wish to see them.” H. Matisse
In 2012, I will reach my 60th cycle on this earth. Change. My work, to which I have given my true heart, has deserted me. Change. My home, for which I have struggled with all my might, has gone. Change. My business, to which I have given all my strength and courage, has withered with the economy. Change. My children, into whom I have poured out all that I am, have grown and moved on. Change.
Everything changes. Everything has changed. Everything is changing, changeable, changed.
Work, struggle, strength, courage, giving your all, this is a busy load. Busy-ness, I now know, is a kind of protection. You can shove a lot of life away because you are truthfully too busy to think much less deal. Things you don’t want to remember, things you don’t want to know, truths you don’t want to acknowledge—while you can be so busy that you don’t have to deal with any of it, it, of course, is always dealing with you.
My Changed life has left me with nothing but time on my hands. Alone, lonely, lonesome. When Change = time on your hands, the busy-ness protection falls away. Everybody’s life has a story. I have spent a lifetime trying to keep my monsters at bay. I have been, mostly, able to cram them back in the box when they surge. Work, home, art, family…all require so much time and energy and serve well a desire not to remember.
I am a painter of flowers. I was born into poverty and abuse. I will leave it at this: there is no form of abuse or neglect known to children that I don’t know including the desperate hope that one day I will be good enough to be loved. I wish from the bottom of my heart that this statement wasn’t true. But it is. When I am alone with myself, undistracted and un-busy, the monster wins. It roars out of the darkness and claims me when I least expect it. It robs me of what I truly want and overshadows all I truly am. It imprisons me where I have spent a lifetime trying to escape. It becomes who I am. When the monster, as they say, is out of the box, I remember, acknowledge and know truth of what we, my brothers and myself, were.
I am a painter of flowers. My brothers took themselves from the world when they could no longer bear up to the pain. I, too, have come close to leaving. But, I chose life. Remarkable. I chose life. I choose life. Yes. And this is also my truth.
I am a painter of flowers. Leave me alone to do what I want, and I will paint flowers. I know (because they have told me) that many see this a flaw. Not deep enough. Too decorative. Too Uncomplicated. Too UN-instrospective. I have tried to stop out of some idea that, in stopping, I will become better, deeper, more of a real artist. I have tried to stop out of some idea that I must if I want to be a “good” and “respected” artist. I have tried to stop out of some hope that if I can become who I am not, then I will be ok, I will be loved and acceptable.
What this time of change has really taught me is this: I must choose to accept me as I am now…today. Today, I am a survivor of abuse. I am a number on the unemployment charts. I am a player in the foreclosure story. I am short, too fat, and old now. But, I am also so very much more than that, much more. Truth be told, many of my good qualities were born on the road of suffering. One of these qualities is that I have learned to see the flowers.
In 2012, I will reach my 60th cycle of this earth choosing life. Change. I will find a new way of working. Change. I will find a new adult life. Change. I will find a new place to pour out my heart. Change. I will build a family of friends to love with all my heart. Change. And, I will embrace my joys and my sorrows. Change. I will embrace myself and accept me. Change.
This I will do. I will change. I will live. I will bring my childhood self out of the dark and embrace and love her. We will be ok. And, I will paint flowers, for this is who I am.
“there are flowers everywhere for those who wish to see them.” H. Matisse