It’s almost the last day of 2018 which I have come to define as the year of Great Loss.
It was also the year of Great Growth. It was only through the many losses I endured that I was able to gain so much. I’m loath to say I’d do it all again for the growth I received, but I’m very, very grateful for what I have gained from the experiences.
I think I will be spending a long time reflecting on the lessons I have experienced from 2018, least of all, what love truly is. I thought at one time I knew what love was but time and again, I have been shown it is so much more complex than I had imagined.
Love is like a multi-faceted brilliant gem. There are many sides and angles about love that we as humans cannot fully appreciate or comprehend without tapping into the mysteriousness of our deeper selves and facing the things about ourselves that avoid love or even repel it.
Since starting my journey of reviving the artist within me, I have experienced the stirring of life within that I haven’t felt in decades (its strange to me to be able to say ‘decades’. I have been alive a long time).
The first project I decided to work on is a profile of a woman, based on the style of Don Blanding. I didn’t have ready access to a female model to use for my drawing, so I took a selfie of my profile. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever studied my profile so closely. It was like looking at a stranger. I have seen my full face reflected in many surfaces my entire life, but hardly ever have seen my profile.
As I studied my profile, I noticed I have a slight dip right before the fleshy part at the end of my nose. I never noticed before. Studying that part of my nose brought back a memory I made of the time my Aunty S. visited my family when we lived in Hawai’i. She had long gorgeous red hair and I thought she looked like a princess. Aunty S. was funny and always smiling. She was my father’s younger and only sister.
I remember one night when she was babysitting me and my 4 younger siblings so my parents could go out for a much-needed break (they were both college students at the time), Aunty S. tucked me into bed and we started talking about the features that define us as family. She showed me her profile with her proper English nose – long and straight and noble. She described her nose like the side of a mountain – perfect for downhill skiing. I had no idea what snow-skiing was at the time. Then, she ran her finger down my nose and told me I had a nose like a ski-jump. She demonstrated it by sliding her finger down my nose again (with sound effects) until she hit the upturned part of my nose and “jumped” her finger off it.
Judging from her description, and her smile followed by her wonderful laugh, I took it to mean I had a cute nose. I was pleased with myself and my nose.
Funny how I had forgotten all about that until I started drawing. But that was only the beginning of my thoughts as I proceeded to draw the rest of my face. It occurred to me that my past lovers had seen my profile many times over and it made me wonder if my profile was as attractive to them as the front part of my face.
Facets of love.
But what parts of me were attractive to them? And what parts of me repelled them?
Later that night, when I had left off drawing for a while, Blue (my second son) came in and saw the drawing. “Wow, mom,” he said. “That looks really cool. It looks like you.”
I laughed. “It is me,” I said. He gaped at me then looked back at the drawing, then back at me “Let me see your profile,” he said. I turned my head. “Wow, that’s amazing! Draw me!” he insisted. So I took his picture and decided I would do his picture next. He has a very different nose and has a strong resemblance to his father. A fact that used to upset me as a single mother seeing in him the man who had caused me so much pain. But now, I see my son as his own unique self – totally separate from his father.
But I digress.
Below you can see what I’ve done so far. It’s a pencil sketch of my profile that I’ve gone over in ink. I’ve done profiles like this hundreds of times. I never lay out the details in pencil. I add that with pen as I feel inspired too, which is what I’m going to do with the headpiece. There are many elements to this drawing that I felt inspired to add, that only after coming back to look at it a few days later, have stirred up other memories; memories that make me want to cry.
Sometimes I wonder if through drawing, my deeper consciousness is communicating with me. When I began drawing this, I felt myself go into a sort of trance and without forethought, let “spirit” or sub-conscious, if you will, lead my hand. Symbols and designs flowed. Symbols that only later reminded me of things from the past that I seem to have suppressed emotionally. I can’t even bring myself to write of them now. I’m afraid. The emotions are very close to the surface.
But what I see is a lowered eye, a hidden ear and bands about my throat. I can’t write of it now.
What do you see?