Saturday, June 30, 2012

Art + Healing

UntitledToday, I wanted to paint.  This has been rare.

Since Eve died, making art has felt . . . strange.

At the beginning, I did it to see what it would feel like.  To see if it would help.  And, I suppose, it did, because it gave me something to focus on besides the pain, and something to offer the world out of my pain.

After that, I painted because I didn't know what else to do.  Because it was one of the few things I could do with my hands tied by grief.

And after that, because I felt like I should, because I said I was an artist and, death having so muddled my sense of self, I clung to that.  I painted, out of obligation. 

In all that time, over the past seven months, I have painted, and it has been good.  But it has not always been enjoyable.

I painted because I painted Before, and was desperate to see if some of who I was Before could survive After.

I still don't know the answer to that.  But I do know that, today, I wanted to paint.

So I did.

And it felt so very different.

In Before, painting felt like worship, like a living love song.  Even when the painting was difficult or frustrating, it was also flowing.  It felt like a gift.

Now, it remains a gift, I think.  But a different sort of gift.

Today, with music draping itself gently around me, I dipped brush to palette and painted with a deep, deep sense of urgency.  Like something was driving me. 

I started to paint because the art was whispering my name, but kept painted because I had to.  I was pressing something into the paper, something heavy and hard and gritty and thick.

My grief.  Her absence.  The gaping wound.

And perhaps something else.  Something that has no name. 

Today, I needed to paint, desperately.  For the first time.

And today, it felt healing.  Again, for the first time.  Even though it hurt at the same time, there was something under the hurt, something knitting and stitching and mending.

UntitledThis is what I have been seeking with my pencils and paintbrushes these past seven months.  I have been waiting for the art-making to be more than a processing of my limping thoughts, but a salve against my beaten-raw heart.

I have longed to be soothed.

I miss the days when art was a living love song, before I knew that babies could die -- that my baby could die.  Even though I am excruciatingly happy to be pregnant with our rainbow son, it is still excruciating, this life -- the joy, the pain, the art.  All of it.  The hurt, it bleeds into everything.

I don't know how to end this post.  There are not enough words.  Just that urgency, pulling me back to the art that has lain drying while I fumble to pin down this strange feeling in a language so inadequate.

I want to scream, to cry and tear my hair, rend my clothes.  But the tears are not coming, and the scream refuses to do more than kindle and kindle in my chest, a burning.  So I will go and paint, missing her with every brushstroke, every breath.

This is the best that I can do.

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  1. I'm glad you're painting...

  2. You are so right, it bleeds into EVERYTHING...and I feel that it always, always will.

    1. How could it not? Yet it somehow still surprised me...I guess because it's taken so long to reach this point of feeling it in almost everything? I don't know, but I'm grateful (which probably sounds like a weird thing to be grateful for!). :)


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King