I watched a show while I was cooking tonight. It was a documentary about a plastic surgeon’s office in Glasgow. It showed all sorts of different patients coming in for everything from botox to hair transplants to full facelifts.
What struck me is that the patients each really hated something about the way they looked and yet, to me, they looked fine. What’s more, I couldn’t tell much difference when they were done. Meanwhile, some of them were weeping for joy at the removal of jowls, or a double chin or the improvement of a sagging eyelid. Each of these physical ‘flaws’ had weighed that person down, ruining their enjoyment of life, preoccupying them with stuff that their friends hadn’t even noticed, and that absolutely, 100% does not matter in the end, because we’ll all be dead soon enough and no-one who walks past your headstone will know or care that you once had sagging eyelids!
It made me think about the flaws I see in my own face as I approach my 53rd birthday (yikes!).
I’m pretty sure I exaggerate them. I say this because I have sat in front of my best friend, turning my head this way and that and saying “c’mon surely you can see that?!” all while she insists that no, she doesn’t think my neck looks like a turkey’s and she doesn’t have the faintest idea what I’m talking about.
But watching that documentary reminded me that jowls, lines, double chin, fat thighs … none of it matters in any of the ways that really count.
I took a different approach with this one as I want to keep changing things up.
I painted the page orange yesterday so it was dry before I started.
Next I drew an outline with a white gel pen, then added to that with a black pen. Finally, I added some orange glazes to add shading.
Not sure it works 100%, but I always enjoy trying something a little bit different.
Something happened yesterday. A small event but the way I interpreted it caused me real pain. I didn’t sleep very well. I held a real pity party for myself.
Today I found out that my interpretation was faulty, and that there was nothing hurtful about what actually happened.
As I have learned more about the mind and the ego and the tricks they play on us, I have observed a hundred instances like this one. Each time my dark thoughts are proven wrong, I promise myself to be smarter next time.
And then something else happens, and I’m triggered, and the whole thing plays out again.
I am the one hurting myself. It has to stop.
“I’m the same old story same old act
One step up and two steps back.”
— Bruce Springsteen
Whatever I’m feeling, Bruce has already said it best.
I found this poem today in a book I got in a second-hand bookshop. I collaged it into today’s portrait but I love it so much, I’m also typing it out for you.
We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness, which no-one else can make for us, which no-one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. — Marcel Proust.
I approached this selfie differently than any before, in that I started with the paint and then built up layers of colour before finally adding line. The final effect is a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster but I kind of like it. I do feel as though I am constructing myself from bits and pieces that I dig up, or find lying around, so it’s quite apt.
The poem collaged on this portrait speaks for itself.
Finally today it stopped raining and I actually got out for a walk. Such a nice (and rare) feeling to be outside and it set me up for the rest of the day.
I was at life drawing class tonight and wound up working next to my favourite artist in the group. She used purple and yellow pastel in her drawing and the combination looked fantastic, so when I got home, I used it for my selfie.
This is one of my favourites so far. I like the colour layering and the line on top and I think I continue to capture my improved mood, which I totally credit to today’s meals (big fruit salad for breakfast; mashed avocado, spinach and tomato on toasted wholewheat bread followed by watermelon for lunch; and spicy red lentil and tomato soup for dinner. YUM!) Best of all, the chocolate cake I made over the weekend remains untouched in the fridge. Not because I’m telling myself I can’t have it, but because I don’t want to spoil how I’m feeling, so I’m choosing to leave it.
Does anyone want a slice of chocolate cake?