This morning, got a note from a subscriber that essentially said she had read my latest post and that it had touched her deeply. Her message brought me to tears. I had been nervous about publishing such a sentimental piece without having much confidence that it would be understood. At worst, I feared it might be perceived as utterly over-sentimental and silly. Still, held my breath and hit the publish button.
I am attempting in this blog to bare my soul as honestly as I can, my dearest wish being that this blog will someday be something my own son will read with interest after I am gone. He is young now, and although I don’t know that he isn’t reading it, I also don’t don’t have any indication that he is. When I was young, I may have had more interest if one or both of my parents had written a blog about themselves, but that is more because I’d had such a hard time understanding them to begin with, and wished to do so with all my heart. I am relieved to say that my son and I, at this point, have no such issue. We are close, and such closeness often mitigates that kind of curiosity- at least for a while. Still, I write as a way to have some communication with him and those close to me, because, in the end, I need this connection.
I have been thinking about it, pondering the profound emotional response I’d had to the appreciative note this morning. I believe that my impulse to “write it all down” is, in its entirety, the reason why I became an artist to begin with. For probably so many reasons, I have led a life replete with a burning need to express the stuff which has roiled in my heart and caused me great joy at times- at others, great pain. In some ways, I have felt like a solitary traveler, one whose early life experiences were difficult, if not impossible, for those around me to appreciate or understand. At least this is what I feared was true. The net effect of this was a profound sense of “otherness”, which excluded me from the confidence of true belonging- often even with friends and my own extended family. How could I explain what it was like to love one’s governess more than one’s own parents, when even the idea of having a governess was so archaic and alien to most of the people I have known and loved? Truth be told, until now, I have lived a life of embarrassment and subterfuge, wishing I were someone else, with a different set of circumstances and experiences. It has only been very recently, with the suicide of my beloved Debbie, that I have allowed myself- no- pushed myself- to write, and be totally honest as I do it.
In my artwork, I can inject all of my deeper thoughts and sensations, knowing I am safe there. Most often, I very consciously leave interpretation open to the viewer. I feel my best images include more than one possible interpretation, knowing with a certainty that in this medium, I can reveal all and nothing at all, both at the same time. Words, however, are different. They are so direct- and I often feel queasy as I hit the publish button, understanding that I have exposed much more of myself. It leaves me at the mercy of harsher judgement by others. And although at my age, this is less an issue than it once was, the need to be accepted and understood as a human being is nonetheless extant, even as I fight it with all I have.
Still, I’m not sure all this fully explains the reason for my need to express myself with such a keen imperative. I have found it curious that so many in my life have had no such compulsion. For me it is that very thing. A compulsion. It is a pressure that builds up inside of me that seems to leave me with no option but to seek release in this way- the only way I know how. For me, making art- expressing myself- has been kind of a lifelong therapy session between me and myself. It has given me a way to crack open my chest, take a look and bare my heart in a way that somehow also provided a sense of relief. I don’t know why this is- only that it is. I have come to accept it in myself, even as it has embarrassed me at times. I have had no other choice.