I remember Rockbridge Avenue, the street where I grew up.
So tired - don’t want to do this, expend the energy on “I remember” – too many memories wearing me out. Why not, “I hope…” “I want to remember.” I want to remember the “good ol’ days” of yore (right now) when I got to paint all day and write all night. When responsibilities were few, when I was just starting out, before the pressure grew and I was traveling and speaking so much. I want to remember the light in the studio as it traveled across the floor, moving from window to window. In the winter, at 11 or so, the light made a parallelogram on the floor perfectly framing my model when I photographer her, dark and light, back arched, belly an abstraction in curves.
I want to remember the slurp of paint, the smooth strokes as I applied them to the canvas. I want to remember painting the smooth flesh and the curves and the fat and the freckles and the paunches and the extra pounds, making them exist harmoniously with the dramatic red drapes. I want to remember the moment when I allowed myself to trust myself to paint what I felt, not just what I saw. When paint and canvas became tools in my hands for self-exploration, not just to define the world as it was – rather, to mold it into the world in my vision – the world in my head – but I’d have to have known what that looked like to know how to paint it —or not – maybe the act of trusting myself to paint the world the way it felt would make the world one I wanted to live in, full and open and clear and breathing whole and free.
I want to remember those first breaths – the long, long sigh, the catch in my throat as I realized my freedom. Freedom from where I’d been – the fear, the harsh expectations, the wallowing in fear of their judgment. Freedom of a new space, a new place. The freedom to be fully myself. To say and do and feel and think and express exactly what I thought and felt and saw and knew to be true.I want to remember the moment when that knowledge took root in my belly, in my gut and never again let go.
I want to remember how tall I felt when I strode through that first day, no longer afraid of the reactions of people to my power, my assertion that I deserved to be fully and wholly and completely myself.
And I want to remember the lovely realization that that Self was not someone to fear – she was my best friend, the one I’d yearned for all along, the one who could hear me and take me and welcome me.
I want to remember the kindness I felt towards the world because I’d given myself the hugest gift of all – allowing myself to BE.
And I really want to remember the astonishment with which I was greeted as I made my way in the world after that – grace, gratitude that I was leading the way into this unknown territory, this place we’re taught not to go. Into the wild darkness of ourselves which is actually where the Light resides.I want to remember knowing I would thrive in that place and that I could safely welcome others there because there was only good, only love, only kindness there. I want to remember the warmth and goodness of sharing that space with others. I want to remember being welcomed into that place of Light. Mine and others!