Friends and acquaintances
There was a lady I knew some years ago who worked part time in an optical store who I saw a couple of times a week as I also worked part time in the same area. She also wanted to make a living as an watercolor artist and eventually she gave various classes on technique and made a couple of videos using a special paper. Her paintings caught a certain whimsical and humorous side of life. She was funny and lively and attractive and we had some good laughs along with another employee in her store where she worked. I knew, however, she was burning the candle on both ends. In appearance vivacious, in reality her life had been tough. From what I've observed people who do have a tough life don't always end well.
Recently I saw on Facebook a post from someone I haven't seen before. He also painted in watercolors somewhat abstractly. They were attractive in their own way. He posted a picture of a flower painting he had done years ago that won an art contest. I'm not fully clear on this but I think he uncovered the painting while going through someone's estate. He then mentioned C, the lady I've talked about, and how he would miss her wild and crazy and wonderful self because she had passed away, still in her 50's. On the sidebar was a photo of both their faces squeezed together in a flirting manner.
That night I thought of C and in my mind tried to give her a meaningful farewell. Many of us think of ourselves in such times and I tried not to. The funeral had been a week before.
The next morning, mind emptied from a night's sleep, I thought of the artist friend who mentioned C on Facebook. He was tall, had long blond hair recently shortened, and I'm sure played his attractiveness to his advantage as I looked at the seminar pictures he posted showing him giving classes to many adoring women. Probably at some point C had taken one of his classes or gave a class at the same seminar. Again, his art had an easy flair to it but only went so far, at least for me. I've learned to look at art on different levels.
I thought of this man as I scrutinized his face and seemed to read him and his shortcomings, both in his person and in his work. He had done nothing to harm me, but I saw what I saw and felt at odds with him. I took solace that my own artistic or spiritual pursuits or both would expose him for what he was. He settled for easy answers and that's what he got. Hence he would see my light and be shamed. It would be my way of getting justice.
But here is what briefly came to mind and has become clear in this last period of time. I can no longer run for cover under a spiritual banner. I also can no longer have my art speak for me and shield me from the world. Neither is a buffer, for both have their own holes.
Rather I am as I was when I was a kid, feeling nervous and naked and not knowing where to run to for protection. What I thought was protection isn't. I too am exposed.