I am notorious for starting things and then never finishing them. Most of the time when I start a canvas I will do the sketch, fill the picture in about half way, post it some where in my room, and then proceed to stare at it for the next few months without touching it.
This particular canvas I started a very long time ago, and I have worked on it bit by bit over the last three years (in my defense I left it at home during part of college, in DC and in Tahoe). Each time I’ve worked on it it has changed, and my style and the details have evolved. As I’ve come close to finally finishing it, I realize that in someways it is a self portrait. It is a reflection of the person I have been since starting it.
Often, when you are in a relationship, your identity begins to fuse with that of the person you are dating. You come to know yourself as the person you are with them. Subconsciously, I think I began to let this portrait reflect the different sides of me that arose during my relationship. The different dimensions of who we can become. While the person I loved brought out the dreamer in me, he also brought out a nightmarish side.
This canvas was made with him in mind. With me in mind.
A self portrait of the person I am leaving behind. My own identity, without him, I am beginning to find.
It’s always weird when a child decides they are going to have a stare down with you. I should rephrase. When a child decides they are simply going to stare at you. For as long as they please.
There is this girl on the metro. I don’t know- maybe eight, give or take a year. I would assume old enough to have introspective thoughts, or at least in the most basic form. I think. Shes old enough to be starring at me and probably thinking about me.
Am I seriously being analyzed by a kid right now? Am I seriously analyzing the situation of a kid analyzing me? Oh god, I am…..
…..I looked up and met her eyes and gave her a smile and then looked back down at my ipod. Shuffling to another song. Distracting myself.
I look back up and shes still starring at me. No expression. Just a stare. Wide eyed. Gaze set on me. What on earth could this kid be thinking about. Just starring at me, her mind running.
A part of me feels awkward under the relentless eyes of this child. Another part admires the part that she hasn’t learned to be coy yet. To have social manners. To understand that you just don’t stare at someone for minutes on end. Especially a stranger. There are so many things that children haven’t learned yet. I start to wonder if starring at someone is something you are ever told not to do, or if its one of those things you just learn as you get older? Not everything we learn as we grow up our parents tell us, nor do our teachers. Some things I suppose we just learn from observing others.
What was I like when I was this girls age?
I remember being really curious. Always wanting to experiment. Always wanting to write everything down that I did or saw. Not that much has changed.
I remember being fascinated with those who were older than me too. I remember being fascinated with the idea of one day having my own place, being able to cook myself whatever I wanted to eat for dinner, being able to drive myself wherever I wanted to go that day, having a job where I got money. Now that I have all these grown up advantages I don’t really want them any more. Isn’t that how it goes? Being a young adult and having unlimited freedom and no one to tell you what to do isn’t half bad, but being a kid was so nice. It was so carefree. I remember days where all I had to do was entertain myself. No responsibilities, no where to be. Just hanging out.
The pain of the world was still hidden. You haven’t begun to question your purpose in life. No one you know has died. You haven’t experienced heart brake. The problems of your parents aren’t something you think about when your mind wanders. Theres no what ifs, time spent wondering what could have been. You don’t have to plan ahead. You don’t have obligations, priorities, things that would cause you any stress at all. Remember when you didn’t know what stress felt like??? When you’re a kid there aren’t sleepless nights. There are nightmares and your parents bed to crawl into. When you’re a kid you don’t think about what others think of you. They either like you or don’t. and when they don’t, end of story. There isn’t a self reflection of why that would be.
Complexity is just- non existent.
Remember when the only thing you regretted was not staying out later on Halloween so that you could get even more candy?
Remember when you could eat all of your Halloween candy in a sitting, and you’d still feel good afterwards?
Being a kid is sweet. Very very sweet. I wish I could forewarn my childhood self of the attachments that come with being a young adult. I wish I could tell eight year old Allie that life is good, don’t be in such a rush to grow up.
A stare from a child got my mind racing all over the past. What on earth is she thinking about as she continues to stare?