Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Woman Trying to Remember What She is Trying to Forget (1986)

















This morning I have been struggling to write about this painting which came from a personal experience of domestic violence in May of 1971 when I was 21 years old.

The lingering effects of the recent upper respiratory illness are still with me. Although I got up at 6 a.m., I found myself so drowsy and headachy at around 8 a.m. that I let myself fall back to sleep. The sun is beginning to show through the morning fog, which was an ice fog before the sun came up. It was the sun coming through the fog that woke me up again.

In this painting I was trying to talk about how it feels to live with the memory of having deeply loved someone who tried to destroy your love and who failed to destroy your love but left you with the knowledge that as much as you had loved that person, you would have to live without them. The terrifying memories don't go away. Neither do the memories of what I thought was loving and being loved. One set of memories keeps me vigilant. The other set of memories, of loving and being loved, is crucial to my physical, emotional and spiritual survival. The woman walking alone by the sea was beginning to remember the feeling of loving and being loved, but then she would find her herself wanting to return to the one who had hurt her.

When this painting came to me, fifteen years had passed since that spring of 1971. During those years, I had married, tried to put the past behind me, struggled with depression, gone deeper into the eating disorder which had first manifested when I was 10 years old, begun to express myself more and more as an artist and writer, graduated from college and begun making a good living as a medical transcriptionist, which led to a decision to leave an increasingly troubled marriage and to live alone for the first time in my life at age 35.

Thirty-six years will have passed this coming May. For the entire year of 2004, I attended a facilitated domestic violence support group which met weekly and which slowly brought the healing that had so long escaped me. The other women's stories helped me see how far I had come since 1971 and that I still had a journey of healing ahead of me. Currently, I am continuing the process of healing with the help of Jungian therapy on a monthly basis. Writing this blog and reading other blogs that give me reason to celebrate life in all its complexity have become part of daily healing.

2 comments:

Loren said...

I suspect that there are several things in our lives that never totally heal.

At best, we develop callouses that make us less sensitive to similar events or feelings.

At worst, they develop into abscesses that eat away at us from the inside.

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

Anonymous said...

just found your site from visiting LW's. On this painting and your writing, I just finished reading today's poem in Poetry Daily by Eavan Boland. She's a great poet and her work might interest you. This painting is haunting and it shows what your writing says with color and image.