I Wish I’d Never Seen That

“I wish I’d never seen that.”

That’s what my best friend said last night after I showed him my series of selfies.

“You just look so sad!”, he added.

And here’s the thing. Although I am sharing these drawings and paintings on this blog, my real life friends and family don’t know about them. Nor do followers of my ‘normal’ art.

Why didn’t I share right away?

I wasn’t sure until now, but seeing my friend’s reaction, it all became clear.

I am a people-pleaser. Always have been, may always be. I don’t like to assert myself if I think it might upset someone else. I put everyone else’s feelings ahead of my own. I make decisions based on what will make other people happy, never based on what I want.

If I showed these drawings to people who know me, I would be confronting them with something they haven’t seen before.I might upset them. I don’t want to do that.

I tell my best friend everything. I thought he knew as much about me as I do. I thought it was safe to show him. And yet, seeing my own version of myself, he was surprised. And not in a good way.

If he felt like that, I damn sure KNOW that I can’t show anyone else who cares about me. My first instincts were right. I need to keep this to myself. And yet, when I started this project, I knew it was important for somebody, somewhere to see me.

It was important partly as a way to hold myself accountable (if I’ve promised a drawing a day, I have to do one!) and partly to ensure honesty (if I’m showing these to people, they’d better be meaningful in some way, even if I’m the only one who gets the meaning).

In the end, I think art should unsettle, surprise, confront, challenge. It seems mine does – at least for one person.

So, dear reader, I just wanted to thank you. For taking the time to look, and sometimes to like, and sometimes to comment. You are helping me be honest with myself for … well, maybe the first time ever. It’s not easy and the results are not pretty, but somehow I know it’s important for me, and you are making it possible. So I thank you for the gift of your attention.

Today’s selfie is actually two. First, the one that came naturally and second the one that came after I replayed my friend’s words from last night in my head and decided to try and look more cheerful.

But that’s just a reaction from the old me and I need to ignore it. The first one is by far the most interesting and honest drawing.

I’m posting both so you can see for yourself.

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9 thoughts on “I Wish I’d Never Seen That

  1. Janice

    it’s so difficult for me to understand how unhappy you must feel it makes me sad to think that all these fabulous renderings are coming from such a sad place. I so love looking at them each day and hope that as the months go on they will start to come from a happier place.

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  2. wedgroup, Nellie

    I see you. I appreciate you and your authentic self. I am not disturbed or frightened by any perceived sadness. I applaud your courage and am honored to be a witness to your journey.
    Thank you for your diligence, willingness, and courage. With great affection, Nellie

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Karen Jewell-Kett

    I admire your persistence in pursuing your self-imposed challenge. At first I thought you would get bored, but now I can see it as a path into self-discovery. Now you are inspiring me to consider something like this!

    Before you get too concerned about your lack of a cheerful facial expression, I’d like to share a couple of thoughts. I’ve done some self-portraits and I’m invariably frowning because I guess I’m concentrating so hard on drawing a likeness!

    And the thing is that I also have what’s affectionately known as a “Resting Bitch Face.” (excuse the language). Here’s some of what Wikipedia says about that:

    esting bitch face, or bitchy resting face, is a term for a facial expression (or lack of expression) which unintentionally appears angry, annoyed or irritated.[1]

    The concept has been studied by psychologists and may have psychological implications on facial biases, gender stereotypes, human judgment, and decision making.[2][3] Chloé Hogg, in a 2014 article in the journal Philological Quarterly, asserted that the phenomenon was not new, and offered Hyacinthe Rigaud’s portrait of Louis XIV depicting his “bitchy resting face”.[4] Levels of resting bitch face can vary greatly.

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  4. jeanne8132

    I have never thought any of these look sad. They look authentic to me. The first one looks more alive than the second one with the forced smile. Draw what you see and if they look sad to a viewer maybe that’s on their end, not yours.

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  5. alisonogle

    I love the confidence and fluidity of line in the first drawing which is stronger than the second one. Don’t worry about other people’s expectation of flattering portraits, and sunny smiles – I am sure this is just a knock on effect of our familiarity with snapshot photography. Sometimes it is hard for people to realise that some drawings are about the process/technique of drawing than about realistic depiction. I am liking your portraits series, and look forward to reviewing it at the end of the year to see what has developed/emerged

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    1. alisonogle

      PS. I always look ghastly in my own selfportraits, old,fat, drawn, stern etc. which I find fascinating as I don’t consciously set out to portray myself so – so I sympathise!

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