Growing up in a toxic household I found myself playing a role for which I never auditioned. We don’t get to choose which role we’ll play, we’re cast and then put on stage. It’s another realization of just how powerless we were as children and young adults.
I made her laugh. I looked away when that was called for. Most of all I never showed true emotion and never even knew what it was until well into my adult life. When I was a in her home I did whatever I could to survive the impossible.
A Jester or clown puts on a false face, parades around and makes a “fool” of himself to get a laugh. He distracts people from the real world around them and for just a tiny bit they forget. I hate clowns for that very reason and yet I’ve been compelled to paint them.
I described one painting called “The Last Laugh” in this way: I wanted to record the place I used to be in, the role I was cast to play. Every line spoken were words not my own. They haunted me and concealed my real voice and my real face from the real world. The story of my life today is a simple one. I know who I am, despite everything and emerging from impossibilities, I know who I am. I only play the role that is me.
That last sentence is odd coming from a multiple. I only play the role that is me. Well, I am a multiple. There’s no getting around that, however, the parts/alters/others are not false faces, they’re just fractured and divided emotions and experiences. What they feel is real, what they paint is real. I don’t think I’ve ever been more real in my life which is more than likely why I keep drawing clowns and jesters. That stage is over. It’s almost like recognizing that I had no choices back then. I had no power, no voice. I just existed for others.
I let myself feel vulnerable and take risks with my heart that I never would have taken years ago. People have seen me in a ball of tears and snot and they still love me. I lived in a nightmare yet they didn’t leave me. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that they want my real face, not one that makes them look good or lets them deny reality. It’s safer these days to be me.
I have a measure of happiness, but it slips away so quickly. It’s recovered, savored, and again it slips away. But when I was younger where was my happiness? I didn’t have it to lose or regain.