Self-portrait. Self-portrait. I used to draw, draw myself, draw my surroundings, paint, paint on the canvas without much thought, thought at all. I had forgotten the freeness I felt as I painted and penciled free of the thoughts of others of what was good or right or the way it was supposed to be. But then I found the proof. The proof in my parent’s garage when I was called to clean out my childhood items. Items. Memories. Art. Artifacts. When I found-the huge cut out peaces of paper-not one but many. I was blown away. Away. That I had painted such pieces on the canvas, the canvas of my preschool. I had forgotten. How to do. It. It. But then it said Katie B. on it and it was in fact in my parent’s garage so it must be mine. I was taken aback that I had created, created something that I would frame and put upon my wall. My wall. Because now I can’t do that. That. The painting freely bubbling colors out of my hand my mind fingertips to the masterpiece. I had forgotten I could paint. Paint. Until I found the proof. The proof. My first memory I remember is being on a field trip with my school, preschool, and it being my birthday, I had a crown and we went to the fire station. Afterwards I taught everyone a song next to the creek. A song I had made up. A brave child I a stood on the rocks of the dry creek of the 80’s California drought and there I sang, sang bravely by myself a song I had wrote and then taught the others. Crown on my head. I smile just thinking about it now.
The bravery of a child I sometimes forget I have. The bravery to really do our self-portrait. Paint it, sing it, just be it. It.
The second piece of proof of my ability to create was a photo a photo of me I found. Found-I thought it had been lost. I had barely any childhood photos; we had thought my mother had took them. But there they were in boxes, with my baby book my mother’s notes written out in her flowery handwriting, pictures of my childhood, but also my mother’s. The detest of cleaning-of clearing-of getting rid of-I found a treasure. A treasure that without it I felt incomplete. I needed pictures of my childhood so I could remember. So I could see the love, the love that I had forgotten. The love of a mother to her child- her almost always behind that camera-but sometimes in the photos I see her smile. I smile remembering the love. The love that did exist. And must still. Must still. My self-portrait. My self. Finding myself was finding my past, these lost items. They are me. I can’t be me without remembering; remembering I can paint and sing and I do in fact have a mother. A mother who let me watercolor all over my face, and run around the house naked, and make mud pies. A mother that poured chamomile lotion on the chicken pox, and let me hair stand on in, let me carry around bags, bags everywhere. I was the bag lady and still am. My self. Self-portrait. Looks a lot like her. Her. Even if I try to forget. Remember who I am. I am. I still her. She is still me.