He asked if I painted. Surprised, I said no. More often the question was about writing or music or writing music but we were talking about synesthesia and colors, so his question was not too out of place.
It’s true that I don’t paint but the truth is that I almost had. I tossed the watercolor washes and put away the brushes long ago. I couldn’t continue when I couldn’t envision the piece, when I couldn’t focus and practice the strokes. It was over. I knew I had to let go. But I wanted to push through, to pull something—anything—from the ruins. I tried. I did. Then she saw what I laid out in red. She said, sadly, that it just wasn’t the same. I looked at the lines and colors. I saw that she was right. I saw how deep the rabbit hole went.
I tell stories about how I lost my mind but I say very little about how I lost my soul. When your self is so damaged, you’re forced to choose what to heal. Facing one loss is painful enough. I couldn’t manage mourning both. So I spent years tending my memory, my mind, and the rest I stashed half-hidden in my closet, on my bookshelf, on my self. I admit: I refused to let go. But I couldn’t do so I couldn’t be. So I hid. But I hoped.
But here’s another truth: I have just passed a threshold. I can think. I can remember. I can read. Now when I look over my dusty library of technique and theory and history, I think it’s time to put away the tomes. They will be replaced with paper and pencils and pastels. There will be sketches. Perhaps, one day, there will even be a frame.
If I can think again, perhaps, one day, I can create, too.