I have purposefully withdrawn from blogging for the last few months for a couple of reasons; 1) pure morbid, self-indulgent self-pity and 2) no, no other reason…. But with my melodrama now fading and a new ‘normal’ settling into place, I am ready to engage with the world again. Whilst in my self-imposed hiatus I have had time to reflect and in between the teeth gnashing and fist waving at the universe, I have done a LOT of journaling. It was during this time I also did a piece of art called ‘Identity’.
I started it when I first stopped working, when my pain was acute and before it became chronic and I still had a belief my life would carry on as it had done (with a few adjustments). The focus of the painting is a fingerprint and I originally wrote words or ‘labels’ in each groove. I was struggling with who I now was, now that I wasn’t working and how I saw myself in the world and how I presumed the world saw me. I used words like “loser”, “disabled”, “fat”, “short” (some were clearly just descriptive) - don’t worry, I also did put some positive words in those grooves too. It was basically an anthology of how I now saw myself; keeping in mind the past few months were spent in pure morbid, self-indulgent self-pity.
Then something changed, I can’t tell you why or how; but I looked at my painting and it wasn’t right. I had already hung it in my lounge room and was fairly happy with it, but for some reason I had to change it. So I painted over the words and was left with a ‘clean’ fingerprint. Importantly the words are still there and if you look really closely some still are visible, like shadows from the past.
I am not where I thought I would be at 47 years old, but I am here nonetheless. I have an opportunity to re-write my identity, to clear all my own labels, to press re-start. All my past is still there and I acknowledge, celebrate and occasionally swear at it; but I am free to add new words to those grooves (and again paint over them if I don’t like them).
Happy New Year and remember you can always paint over the labels and start again.