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The many gifts of art

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

It's Christmas morning, 2019, and it's also Wednesday, the day I promised there would be a new blog post by every week. The convergence of these two things brings me to think about what a gift art has always been in my life.

Maybe it started earlier (I'm told I couldn't be trusted with crayons as a child) but I first remember feeling like an artist when my grandmother told me I was and started giving me art supplies for Christmas or my birthday and sometimes just because. I think she knew she wasn't just giving me paper and pencils and paint, she was giving me a way to speak up.

Having identified a language I had that not everyone heard or spoke, I set about finding those who could understand me through my art or at least see the "real" me. It became, very early on, a window to what was really going on with me. I left drawings for teachers I thought likely to look through that window (many did, thank you) and I poured the pain of unrequited young love into poetry and painting when I was too shy to really ever talk to the objects of my affection.

I lost my childhood shyness somewhere along the way but art remained my bravest and most honest expression of my truest feelings, at least as true as I dared to venture into at the time. But I was still carefully choosing my artistic expressions to get and keep love, at a cost of never really becoming fearless about being completely seen, by myself or others.

If I was ever in love with you, I most likely expressed that to you in drawings, paintings or poetry or reams of all three. If you didn't love me or left me even though you might, my crying-out response was always to make even more art, just never trust sharing it with you ever again. Art was my language of love and loss. It still is. This past summer I sung my heart out in a magnificent and joyful series of painting about my love for another that matched no other magnitude of creative expression I have known to date.

And then I got a little frightened when the desire to keep repeating my expression of that love quieted and I no longer felt like had to keep saying it in order to believe it. New territory for me.

Today, Christmas morning 2019, I'm thinking art has finally gifted me something I didn't even know was missing from it. Trust.

I don't know what 2020 brings to my art or anything else really but I'm feeling pretty fearless right now about finding out.

I hope the new year brings you less of whatever it is you might fear and the freedom to express your true self.

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