Thursday, April 9, 2009

Flashback Friday +

Foundation Year. 1982 - Kansas City Art Institute.

I painted this in my first year at art school when I participated in the workshop - Self Portrait a Day. As the title would suggest, we were required to paint a self portrait each day. I'm not remembering precisely but I think the workshop lasted 6 weeks. It was the most difficult and the most fun I had that year.

It's fun to think back on all that energy and drive of youth. I miss those open ended opportunities in my life now.

Lately I've reconnected with many old friends from art school on Facebook. I had originally signed on so my brother and I could communicate easily and have a laugh, not considering how many people could be potentially contactable by being 'out there'. Stumbling upon long lost friends has been incredible, intoxicating and intimidating all at once. I enjoy it yet it brings up some unexpected feelings.

Peeking into the lives of old friends has been like a window into mine. I'm aware that the trajectory of my life has been extraordinarily unusual. I feel reticent about sharing this on Facebook, to make transparent the details of my past decade+. It's not the right medium. It's a broadcast medium. Status reports are like the headlines from the days newspaper. It's not the right place to broadcast, "Today is the anniversary of the death of our daughter Heloise."It's a fun place. I get that. And so I have fun. I laugh a lot. I open the window, let the breeze in and enjoy myself.

Yet, how do I explain the past 12 years? Should anyone ask, how can I effectively explain why I am not more than what I am? How does one explain how incapacitating deep grief can be, how there is no quick fix and how it looks like you are doing nothing, looks like you are 'wallowing' but that is because there is no fixative. Not only does one not know how to put the pieces back together, because who knows how to do something they've never done before, but one has to make their own glue out of spit and tears.

How do I explain what it felt like to put my child in a coffin with their name on it, their name written in gold letters right on the top of it, and how it might take several years to process that? For each child. How do I explain that I am the larger size that I am because I've been pregnant 8 times so you know, one gets a bit big when one is pregnant as often as that but it isn't immediately evident since there is only one child in all the photos so I've only been pregnant once, right? And grief adds padding for protection. How do I explain that while I understand the desire to help, I don't need a solution because I've done the work already. A philosophical reason for why this happened is not necessary. I'm a realist, I know the answer. A nod of the head is simple and good.

And of course, quite possibly others are feeling this way too. Maybe there are events in their lives that are unexplainable too. Everyone has boulders chucked onto their path. No one gets away. I am seeing them as they are seeing me; without the heavy details. And that is ok. It's really all ok. Every kind of interaction has it's place.

5 comments:

Kel said...

well thats amazing coz the moment it opened your post, i saw the bubster..self portrait?

Kerrie said...

I'm with Kel...I can see the Bubster in that painting. You look about 11 or 12 years old there, it's made me wonder about Soren, would he have looked like this right now given that he and the Bubster were so similar as newborns..??

Agreed with what you say about Facebook, it's a breeze in, breeze out medium. I don't use it much at all myself but after reading your post I think that yes, there are some lost friends I would love to catch up with so may set it up for that instead. I prefer communication with current friends to be more intimate.

Tinniegirl said...

Yes, I was also struck by how much the Bubster looks like you.

Thanks, as always for you honesty.

Karin said...

I hadn't even thought about it! I guess it does look like him. LOL I'd love to do some paintings of him. One day one day.

LOL Kerrie, I look 12. LOL!! You know, I did look verrrrrryyyyyyy young in those days. When I was 26 years old and living in a house with my friends, people who came to the door would ask me if my mother was home. LOL!!!!

Juddie said...

Karin, thank you so much for sending me hugs on my post today. I'm sending a whole bundle right back atya!