But the shoe fit. I was that kind of kid, and I’ve since discovered that the crazy perfectionism that drives me is probably also what makes me horrid; it’s two sides of the same coin. But so what? We’re all dark and light, rainbow and shadow. And children are so beautiful, all of them, in their innocent simplicity, no matter how much of a mess they can make, that’s how they learn. It’s when we turn into adults that we get complicated and confused and build complexes about our worthiness and our looks.
I often get stuck with my drawing practice, not too sure what to do next, and resisitant to repetition, so I decided to go back to the beginning by drawing myself as a child and by doing it the simplest way possible, just by looking back and forth between the photograph and my drawing until I felt it was finished. The proportions aren’t great, and the shading could be deepened, but so what, it felt good just to draw it. It brought me back to a perspective of acceptance, because I saw so much vulnerability and innocence in the child’s face that it opened my heart to find compassion for her/me. And, interestingly enough, as it lay on my desk next to a much more recent self-portrait, I could see that in spite of an almost 40-year span, it was the same person… the child is still there in the face of the adult.
It amazes me that I can be so cruel to myself sometimes. I would never do that to a child. But I guess I’m doing just that when I put myself down; the inner child is shrinking, cowering under the blind, cold control of the “rational” adult. Doing this drawing was a reminder of that… of the need to find in myself, and offer myself the gentle acceptance that a child needs, that all children and people need, to feel worthy and whole. Everyone deserves that, and in a perfect world, that kind of unconditionnality would be a given.