Melting away my past
How my desperation brought about a new hobby that surrounded me with peace.
Ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary friends, I’d like to introduce myself to you, as a woman who deals with devastating nightmares and alluring dreams. I long for a version of myself that is embarrassingly happy, fighting for those I love and forcing conversation where it intentionally disregards me. I’m so incredibly embarrassed of my past and the life I existed in, which merely used up space. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of the bad parts, I won’t even tell you what happened near the end, though I’m sure you can guess.
When I was in high school, I started experiencing a peculiar sort of sleep paralysis, waking in a cold sweat, unable to move. I see hovering faces of the ones I have wronged, friends, family, loved ones. But their faces are raw, as their skin melts way, revealing bloody bones and crooked frowns. They don’t say anything as each head rounds and twists throughout the room. It only lasts a few seconds, but I’m left sobbing and shivering as each one fades away.
Fortunately, I haven’t experienced them in a while. It might be due to my migraine medication being a beta blocker that I’ve recently started taking, or maybe it stems from the calming energy I experience when I go to sleep with my partner, but I know I will never seek help, for I fully believe that I deserve this punishment. Up until two years ago, I used poetry as a form of expression for my anger towards myself. But as of transferring schools and leaving behind all the people I hurt, I no longer find solace in rehashing my past with every line I compose. It’s exhausting, attempting to find peace, while also forcing myself to remember what kind of person I was. Stuck in the middle, unable to move forward, I found myself unbearably lost.
I became consumed with how much I believed I was not worth anything and decided to reach out to the people that I hurt, assuming there were no more bridges left for me to burn. Some people forgave me, and some did not.
The next summer, I found myself in a Michaels craft store staring at the line of canvases, paints, and brushes. Let me be clear when I say I’m not good at painting, but I did however find a different kind of peace in it. Like many others, it’s difficult for me to shut my mind down, to think clearly of any task at hand. But with painting, I found myself lost in each stroke and I became curious. Curious to see where this craft would take me and my mental state.
I was a rampant and wild sort of kid, ADHD and ADD coursing through my veins. Luckily, I was never labeled a “gifted” child, just called creative every now and then. So, when I first started painting, I didn’t feel any of that pressure to be perfect, or do it right on my first try, something gifted children still struggle with as adults. Although, I didn’t tell anyone I was going to start painting either. In case it didn’t work out or give me the calm I was so desperately grasping onto.
It did though. I lost myself in creating portraits of people that I love. An interesting juxtaposition for myself, who wakes to melting faces and scarring nightmares, to then paint faces of the people whom I adore. I started painting them normally, but decided to use my nightmares for inspiration, and began painting each face melting away. Not in a gruesome manner, but in a way that I felt showed their true intentions towards me. I paint the people in my life who have given me a second chance, or the ones that have learned of what I used to be and have treated me as the new person I am motivated to become.
I paint to lose myself in the colors and shut my mind down for a little while. Turning off the negativity that gnaws at my insides, and I enjoy the calmness it gives my heart. Painting these melting faces allowed me to gain some control for a situation, in which I had none. After painting for almost 2 years, it’s safe to say I’m still not that good, but it has completely changed me and my outlook on my past.
I’m actively attempting to become embarrassingly happy, while I strive to help myself believe I am worth anything, if not for my mediocre art, then something more.