My Queen unveiled

I finally took my large Queen painting out of the box that she was transported in from Oregon to Redondo Beach and hung her up this weekend. I am not sure why it took me so long to do that. For a month and a half she sat in my apartment wrapped in bubble wrap and cardboard leaning against the wall. I wasn’t ready yet. Hanging her on the wall made this my home, and my mind and emotions were still in transition. There was still a part of me that was wrapped up and in transit.

I created her in June of this year for my 1st art show in July in Portland. In May I picked the date of July 25th to have an art show and told everyone about it, and I did not have one single piece of art. I had never painted on a 3 foot by 4 foot canvas and didn’t even know if I was capable of painting anything that large. But I did it. And little did I know at the time that she would eventually be hanging in new home in Redondo Beach, California.

I remember when I finished painting her face, her dark eyes looked right through me from the canvas and my heart skipped a beat. What was she trying to tell me? At the time, I knew my life was changing, but to the extend it changed I never would have predicted. Who would have guessed that just 6 months later I would leave my home for the past 20 years and move to Los Angeles. She knew.

Throughout my life, whenever I would create I would become obsessed. I used to spend entire weekends in my room as a teenager listening to music and drawing. Most of the time, I didn’t show the drawings to anyone. I just did them for me. When I moved out on my own, I started painting with acrylics. Once I took those paints out, I was in my own world. I would become obsessed with what I was creating until it was complete. I knew this about myself, and it scared me. I wasn’t sure what would happen to me if I followed this all encompassing path of creativity. And I guess now I know, it has taken over my life.

Creating for me is more than putting a paint brush to canvas. It is my message to the world about the beauty of women. Not just the outside beauty, but the power and resilience of women who constantly sacrifice for others with little or no accolades. Most women do the right thing for their children and their families when no one is watching, and don’t expect praise. We just want those around us to be comfortable and happy.

But what if we take all that power that creates entire families and communities and use it to make ourselves feel good first? That is the message of my art. The power of owning ourselves, and being responsible for our own happiness. And I knew when my Queen’s brown eyes stared back at me from the canvas that I had to live my own message. How could I tell other women to embrace their creativity and power if I wasn’t doing it myself?

For the past 5 years my marriage has been stagnant. When my daughter started venturing out into the world in high school, I found myself with extra time and energy. I tried to engage with my husband more, so we could rekindle our connection as I knew in a short amount of time it was just going to be him and I. But he had his life set up. While I had been busy with theatre camps, birthday parties, and organizing my daughter’s life he had been living his life. He didn’t have interest in changing anything, and he didn’t really understand why all of a sudden I was making demands of him.

After a few years of getting nowhere in my marriage, I started to venture out and look for things to do. I found myself in midlife groups with women that understood and connected with me. It felt so good to be understood after years of hitting a brick wall. I craved connection so badly. I tried to share my new experiences with my husband, but he couldn’t relate. He didn’t understand why I was developing new relationships and he started to feel insecure. Thus started the wedge between us where I moved towards these connections, and he pulled away and started to feel abandoned.

It wasn’t an overnight thing, it was a slow drift that got us to where we are now. And where we are now is that for the first time in 23 years we are not spending Christmas together. He is living in Portland, and I am living in Los Angeles. We are taking a break from not understanding or connecting with each other. My heart couldn’t take being in the same house with him and not connecting with him anymore. It was like he was there physically, but behind glass. I couldn’t reach him. I wanted to reach him, I love him, and that made it all the more difficult. It was hard to feel hurt on a daily basis, and it is a relief to be away from the pain of watching our relationship disintegrate.

I am glad I am in Los Angeles. The area speaks to me, and even when I am alone it makes me feel happy. Here, I can start to mend my broken heart and regain my confidence. At this point, I don’t know if my husband and I will reunite, if I will not be in a relationship, or if I will meet someone new. It is all up in the air. But the difference is, whatever happens I will be fully engaged in it. I will no longer be confused, frustrated and so hurt that I choose to numb out to get away from the pain.

If anyone had told me even 6 months ago that I would be alone in Los Angeles at 54 years old I wouldn’t have believed you. I still wake up some nights and don’t know where I am. I think that my family is still back in Portland in our old house and I am just on vacation. It still seems unreal to me that my family is not together. My daughter is coming down the day after Christmas to spend a week with me. It will be the first time I have seen her since I moved here. She wants to go to Disneyland. I know I will cry when I see her, as she has been a brave young women through this whole transition.

Yesterday, I hung my Queen painting on the wall of my new home. I know I will never go back to Portland. That chapter of my life is over. It is sad, but if I stayed there my life would still be in a state of stagnation and predictability. Now, my life has a flow to it, and an energy to it that I have been missing for so long.

I am lonely sometimes, but it is because I am physically alone. Before, I was alone but I was in a relationship, and there is nothing more lonely than that.