Saturday, December 29, 2012

To Say, or Not to Say

(I'm truly awful at titling posts, my apologies to all those pained as much by them as I am. This piece is actually title-less)
Countless times I have found myself faced with an inner battle: do I mention it, or let them wonder? Maybe they don’t notice it anyway, or maybe they do and wonder how I could be so happy. Or maybe it doesn’t matter to them, why would it? Maybe they’ll take back their compliments.
Saying it is hard though. It’s a fragile topic, teetering over the edge of an emotional waterfall. What if I say it, verbalize the secret and make it real… and suddenly, the compliments disappear. What if he’s ridiculed. Or looked down upon. Or insulted even.
It’s like presenting a painting, or another piece of art that you’ve worked so hard on. You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into that tiny acrylic masterpiece, and to you, it’s absolutely perfect. You could never have done any better. You gaze at it in wonder, wake up throughout the night to make sure it’s still as beautiful as you left it, trace the lines you painted again and again and wonder how you ever managed to make something so breathtaking.
But your painting is fragile. It’s new and fresh and innocent, a product of you. And deep down, you can’t shake the feeling of vulnerability.
You’re afraid. You’re afraid to show it to anyone else. What if they don’t like it? What if they can’t see its beauty? You worked so hard, you’re head over heels in love with it, but what if they turn their noses up, say you could have done better. What if they want nothing to do with it? Or pretend to like it all the while feeling sorry for you and you’re “sub-par” painting. What if they say they could do better? That you failed? That your painting is ugly, abnormal, and defective? You wonder if maybe you’re not ready to show it off. Maybe you should cover it up and keep it from everyone else who may not appreciate it. Who may tarnish it with criticism.
You just want to protect your painting’s innocence.
But maybe you’re the fragile one. How will you defend your painting? What will you say to prove the beauty that it captures? Will you even have to; maybe everyone else will see it? But what if they don’t? How do you tell them that your life would be meaningless without this painting, that this tiny little picture on a canvas has breathed a new life into you? Changed you? You know you could never make anyone feel what you feel.
Sometimes, when my painting and I are approached by a stranger, I wonder if I should justify it. If I should explain it so that it is better understood and appreciated. Maybe it makes a difference if I give a certain detail, maybe it will change an opinion.
But what does it matter? It’s my painting. It will always be my painting. It may not be a painting that others enjoy or wish to buy, but it is mine forever. And I would not change it.
So maybe it’s best to make them wonder. Why did you paint it the way you did, why do you love it so much, how did you feel the first time you looked at your finished painting, what will you do with it now? Do they notice your paintings almond shaped eyes? Do they notice anything at all? It doesn’t matter.
This painting was not meant for just anyone.


  1. Wow. I absolutely love this, I have felt the same way when I take my 7 month old Nikolai out. He receives a lot of compliments but I can sense they can see "something wrong" and try to avoid talking about it.

    1. Thank you for reading!

      I'm learning to let it go now, I think. There are moments when I actually FORGET Jaxson has down syndrome! Yes, forget. Tell that to the me six months ago, she never would have believed it.

      I'm mostly learning that Jaxson is my beautiful son, and if someone thinks there's "something wrong" with him, so be it! I know that everything is how it should be.