I don’t know where the change begins. But there was, the other day, a very vigorous inner monologue that ran: “I am an artist, and I’d better start living as one”. So, of course I cut my bangs. I very imperfectly gave them the shape that I’ve admired on countless others rather than spending one more day without them.
After watching a YouTube tutorial I took our hair scissors in hand and looked into my reflection’s eyes in the splattered mirror and breathed. And cut, and fixed, and trimmed and near laughed. They turned out fine (to my taste I should say). Imperfect and cute and endearingly quirky. YouTube had also taught me how to do a sock bun and I made a perfectly coifed high bun to go along with my quirky imperfect bangs. I smiled; it’s a good thing when you’ve wrested even the smallest of victories out of a weekday morning.
Then it was time to get braver, a little. I shopped my attic for my oil paintings; those that I could not bear to paint over nor throw out. Many had met their end covered in white, a blank stretch for some future perfection to cover over. Others have gone into the trash; sometimes our imperfection can be that painful.
Armed with a screw gun, I started a gallery wall and FOUR of my own works are RIGHT THERE on my wall. Right on the wall that people visiting our home will see first. In outright defiance of fear and the pride that hides all but the best, most marketable skills we have. It was my version of taking a selfie without make-up.
On Facebook I wrote:
My great-grandmother Nora, whom I am named after, was a brave woman. During the Great Depression she had the nickname “Mrs. Got-Rocks” because even though times were hard and lean, she’d go out dressed to the nines with all her sparkly costume jewelry on. She learned to paint in her eighties, producing hundreds of works in oil and watercolor. She wasn’t afraid to try new things and she rejoiced in beauty. I thought of her today as I hung up three of my oil paintings which have been hiding in the attic. I often respond to my art with a mix of shame, fear, and joy; joy that something of what was in my heart was translated into color and pattern and form, shame and fear in dreading what label or impression another set of eyes will give it, have from it. I hung a small oil painting of hers, “Violets”, right above one of my works “Pears on the Horizon”, and just diagonally from them I hung an unfinished still life that I bought secondhand. It’s a smudged charcoal sketch of an apple and a pear; the pear’s stem rubbed out and begun again numerous times. There is in-progress-beauty all over it and also the frankness of being unfinished. How fitting a reminder for me, that God is always working on my heart, but that there IS present beauty, and I do not need to be afraid to display it.
And that’s where I am. A little braver. A bit more of an artist. A bit more honest.