Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Remembering Me

What is it with this photo of the unfinished teeny tiny doll, hanging over the side of a little bowl, with my painting over her shoulder?
I don't really know. There is something, though.
Perhaps it is her unfinished state, her somehow-hopeful posture. Maybe I love the idea of being at the "jumping off place." She is ready to dress. She is ready for features.
She is ready for hair and accoutrements.
You know, when I make my dolls, I listen to them.
I hear them tell me what they want...fluffy hair, sleek hair, wild eyes, puckered lips, knowing glances or innocent stares. They want pink - they want blue - they want black - they want some silver tinsel in their hair. They are sweet, saucy, bossy.

I don't make them into something; I reveal who they are.

So, why am I drawn to this photo, that I photo-shopped to the nth degree?

I think she is me.

I see her hopeful and waiting. She is reminded of how far she has come, and is tired, but brave.
She feels, sometimes, as if she is beginning again.

She says, "Remember me?" as she peeks over the edge on her little clay tiptoes, wishing she had her lips so she could give a curious little smile.

She realizes that she is just one doll of many that are waiting to be revealed.

She understands that I might not get to hear her ideas until later,
and she feels bittersweet over it.
So while she waits for me to listen to her,
she sits in the bottom of her cup and gets to know herself.

There are days when she wishes someone would understand her yearning to be completed, to blink, to smell smells and to share her inner longings. To be clothed is her wish.

She jumps up at the sight of me passing by; she peeks over the edge and sometimes will say, "How about now?"

"Not yet, " I say, "Not yet." But I pick her up and turn her around. I give her arms a little yank to make sure they are holding-fast. I dangle her legs to see that they are even. I glance at my stack of old crepe paper to see what colors strike me...she quietly emanates one word, "Brown."

I smile and put her back.

I care about her, and I want to listen to her, but I have troubles of my own to take care of,

so for now, I put a little square of brown crepe paper scrap in with her while she sits at the bottom of her cup.

"Well." She says to herself. She is done being angry over it all. She is even done with crying over the inattention. She just has come to a place where she says, "Well."

She quietly slips out of her cup in the night and finds the little thread scissors, which are still so big for her, and she begins to cut out her own clothes. She happily wraps herself in designs from her own little mind.

She tucks and she gathers. She wraps and she trims and then she twirls.
She has done it.
"Oh. I'm so pretty. Oh."
When I pass her by again, I look in on her to pat her little hand, and Lo! She is dressed.

She is painted. Her eyes are still shy, but smiling. Little heart lips part, ever so slightly, as I hear her say, "Hello. I was alone. But I learned to never be lonely."
On a day, sitting at the bottom of my cup, I learned to be my own best friend.
Through my headphones, I heard a song I've heard before, but this time God wanted me to really hear it.

It was Dante's Prayer by Loreena McKennit - you can listen to it, too at the bottom of this blog
And then I cried.

and I cried and I cried.
I tried to share my experience, but there wasn't time for me to talk.

Everyone was too busy -
or away -
or mired in their own troubles.
(I didn't know it then, but that was a blessing to be left alone.)

So I cried again.
Then I did, indeed, Remember Me.
And so, I shared my experience with myself,
and I painted this:

and then I could share it.
This is me, Remembering all the parts of...well...Me.
I Chose to never forget them. I Chose to take them with me wherever I go.

I was alone. But I will never be lonely.

Maybe I understand her.
Maybe I even sympathize with her.
But I also give her time to be alone, so she can get to know herself.
Maybe learning to love yourself is like peeling back the layers of an onion.
I cry when I peel back layers of an onion, why not cry when I'm the onion?

1 comment:

Laura said...

Dear Katie,

That painting is amazing! I keep studying it and studying it, knowing all the time that these are parts of what makes up the beautiful you.

It's good to be an onion. Why if those tears didn't fall (like the rain) how would anything new and beautiful ever sprout.