I paint faces strange, alien, colorful, unnerving, beautiful, ugly faces. It started a few years ago, almost like a compulsion. I was uncomfortable, lost, and I wanted to vanish into the background of everyone's story including my own.
I paint faces, they do not look away at the ugliness, they embrace it. I love them I hate them. I imagine if you put them up in a room it would feel much like I do when forced to make eye contact with anyone other than those to whom I am immensely connected.
There are so many things more interesting to look at when someone is talking. Their passion lies in their hands, their confidence lies in their posture, their caution lies in their mouth, even their joy lies in the way their face wrinkles. Beauty in imperfection.
I paint faces, they are a reflection of me, they have scars and stories and texture they are genderless and full of righteous fury. They come to me almost without thought bits and pieces of the way I take in the world. They are my poems of art.
They remind me despite my scars and texture and stories, despite the somewhat unreliable narrator living up there, there is always a soft landing in paint, in words, even in the right set of eyes.
Uncomfortable is my default setting, as are my faces.
If I sit in that discomfort I often find it passes, it dissipates into more manageable chunks, it becomes part of the armor I build. I used to be good at building armor, if the armor wasn't enough then I would build a wall, if the wall was not tall enough there was a moat. I was good at building armor. That armor used to be unremovable, now it is unremarkable. Still necessary at times, but less so.
I have softened with my faces, the eyes are even kinder now, and my fury is still righteous but it does not turn me against myself anymore. I have found it useless to turn your fury against yourself, it only causes pain and awkward glances. For I have learned with the growth of the art born of some compulsion to make these things that should make me uncomfortable, I love them. They are part of me, because they are me.
My journey has been long, though I am young, I think I'm writing this becuase it's a miracle I survived myself. It's a miracle I made it to thirty, it's a miracle I see myself continuing. The mind can be a powerful tool, it can also be a powerful enemy. So I paint faces, each and every strange and unbearable and beautiful thought goes into them. When I can't paint faces I draw circles, soothing and repetitive, a slice of the obsessive person I am underneath all this mess.
I paint faces, for me, for memory, for that feeling of accomplishment and that feeling of discomfort when I look at my own work. It might sound strange, but it's quite inspiring. What makes many people squirm gives me comfort, and I surround myself with much of the same. The same kind of souls that can look at a person at their ugliest and say, it is not too much.
I hope whoever is reading this, whether it's the first day of 2023 or if its sometime down the road. The healing bits are hard, healing pain is still pain. Be kind to yourself. Keep going, you will learn to love the ugly bits, and maybe sometime you may find them kind of beautiful.
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