Whatever you can imagine it will be. My father said that to me. He wanted me to be confident in myself and not to worry about who and what I am. I always liked hearing him say that to me. It was empowering. It meant I can turn a caterpillar into a butterfly. It meant I can make the clouds rain. It meant I can make it cold or hot. Life was at my fingertips. All I had to do was imagine.
And I did.
I imagined this world filled with my seeds that blossomed into living beings. Beings that loved the very soul of the earth. Beings that were a part of the earth. I wanted a world like that, because I knew what came from love. With love, came life.
And with my life, it brings me to capture its moments of expression. The good, the bad, the wicked. It was all there. A living earth. But today, I sit outside my flat facing the ocean, with the sun upon me and painting a portrait of whom I am today. It was my way of reflecting on my very soul. It’s something I rarely do, paint myself from imagination.
If you ask an artist to paint themselves from imagination, you would see much more than even they can imagine.
So, I decided instead to dismiss that notion and do an abstract art, where I can go anywhere and it can be anything to me. Taking small breaks to peek at the ocean every time the breeze was felt by my cheeks, where it was telling me to look over there. I admit it’s beautiful to look at it and it distracted me, but I had painted many ocean scenes before and today I just wanted to release.
There in the depth of the woods I was running, many years ago, chasing a fox. It was clever and I had stumbled on a rock and hurt my toe. The fox had turned and ran up to me, knowing I was defeated. I reached out to grab it, ignoring my pain but it ran away. It was that image of the night I wanted to capture. The colors were dark. There were some red, some orange, some green. The colors were shapes with no clear definition in mind. It was those colors, shapes that I took and made into many different things. The visibility of that night is what I was going to paint. Abstract shapes and colors, hiding the clever fox.
As I painted, I remembered the sounds of the night. When the life of the day sleeps, the life to the night awakens. There was no end to life. The crickets, the small creatures rebuilding and gathering, the fire flies speaking to one another. They were all there.
And of course, I painted the sounds of the night in places that I thought they weren’t allowed to be in. The sounds with colors and shapes next to one another, as if they were new people meeting for the first time. They evoked their own identity as they met one another with curiosity. It’s what I wanted, to break the monotonous pattern and routine of the daily life. Something new with something old, like a joint venture of some kind.
It took me all morning into the afternoon to complete my painting, but I was finally, uncertainly, maybe done. I grinned as I sat up, wearing just my t-shirt and undies, which plied off the sweaty chair. I didn’t want to take a final look without my tea. The breeze examined it as I went inside my flat to make some tea. I laughed to myself as it had tried to add a little something from what it had scooped up from the ground.
My flat was filled with just the essentials; a couch, a table, a chair and a bed. A minimal touch with vibrant colors everywhere. My easel, maybe two, or three. Two erected and one laid flat, broken on the floor. I shrugged. It was minimal like me. I barely dressed at my flat. Why bother?
My tea was too hot to sip, so I went back outside to finally examine what I thought I had finished.
I nearly spilled my tea as I saw what I’ve done.
It was me. I’ve painted a self-portrait. Somehow.
It was filled with memories.
What could I do? But put my tea down and giggle.
My tomb displayed on my face as my nose. My eyes like the mirror, backstage, with my reflection staring back. My cheeks like the two bows I had adorned and played with. My ears as the cliff I once stood upon; listening to the echoes of the mountain. My lips were soft and moistened by my husband’s kiss. Oh, do I miss him.
There stood my portrait, my face of memories, with a head not at all misshapen, but instead filled with thoughts of my life. So many parts of my life shaped my head, as it had indeed shaped my mind into a thinking wondrous being.
I was different, because of all the things I had inside of my head, of all the things I am made of, of my eternal being. The very thing that made me immortal presented itself to me, this day, much differently than it had done before.
The capturing of the fox in the night life had turned into someone unique and vibrant and different, awaken as a new kind of species. One that loves, thinks, breathes, enjoys others, sings, paints, walks around naked, makes a mess, and drinks tea.
It was my life that was misshapen, constantly reforming itself into many new things. I have seen my husband pass away before me and who had told me to never stop loving life. My children had come and gone and came again with a new husband to love. And a father and mother with me.
Such is my life as a being with memories.