Background with blank canvas on wooden table

If I were to paint a self-portrait, I would need more than one canvas.

I would need several tens of thousands

To get it all just right.

I would start with my jaw

One canvas for my set jawline, teeth clenched in determination, breath held, strong and chiseled and unfailing.

One for a soft jaw, chin with relaxed lips pursed and parted in admiration and wonder, appreciating the natural phenomena of the world all around me.

A hundred more, a thousand, then I’d start on my eyes.

One canvas for my eyes, eyebrows raised in casual confusion, focused on some small detail and wondering how it turned out that way.

One canvas for my eyes, shining with moisture, open wide in a mixture of vulnerability, exposure, hope, fear, and love all while locked on the eyes of another.

One canvas for my eyes, relaxed, calm, newly awakened, playful, still sleepy but ready for a new day.

A hundred more, a thousand, then I’d start on my spine.

One canvas for my spine, naturally curved and naturally bowed under the weight of life and stress, money and parenting, divorce and determination and unflappable effort.

One canvas for my spine stretched to its limits, every vertebrae soaking in the sun and oxygen and adventure and new dawns.

A hundred more, a thousand, then I’d start on my hands.

One canvas for my hands clutched tightly together at my stomach, holding my world together as I roll with the waves and the winds and the words, none of them in my control.

One canvas for my hands, fingers spread wide, each pulsing with a feral, comprehensive staccato of celebration and rhythm.

One canvas for my hands, each clutching a smaller hand within it, protective and warm and all-encompassing.

A hundred million canvasses could not contain me.

For I am powerful. Incomplete. Wonderful and beautiful and complicated. Needy and sensitive, assured and spiritual, flighty and passive, comfortable and sensual.

I am joy. I am fear. I am grief, loss, anger, ferocity, absence. I am arrogance and hope and love and loneliness and determination.

I am young and old, present and past, living and dying and ebb and flow, mast and stern, patient and professional, hot and cold and tepid and alert and exhausted.

I am my grandfather and my grandchildren. I am earth and air, wave and flame.

I am fiction. I am fact.

I am every word and idea and dream and theory in one form. I am every color.

I am beautifully complex. I am horrifically simple.

I. Am.


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