Helen Frankenthaler painted this; it’s called Eastern Light and yesterday, when I was in an art gallery with my dad and my brother on the coast of Kent, it brought my depression to life in front of me. I don’t know what on earth good old Helen was trying to get at when she got out her paints and started going wild, but I see my depression when I look at this picture. I was standing in front of this painting for what felt like hours. I just looked at it. Took it in. And saw me – I’m not going to compare myself to a painting though. To me, this painting is beautiful. I can’t tell you why or how or what it is that makes it beautiful, but it is beautiful nonetheless. It evoked a reaction in me and it made me feel something. I could weirdly relate to this painting, as if it said everything I couldn’t say and had no way of saying at all. But ANYWAY.
To you this painting might not be all that fab. You might just look at it and see dark and moody colours and wonder what on earth all the fuss is about. You might be one of those arty people who’s fascinated by texture or whatever (I’m not even going to pretend I know what I’m talking about, I just look at the paintings and buy postcard prints for 95p if they have the ones I want in the shop), or you might not be fussed at all. I guess what I’m trying to say is, this painting is beautiful to me regardless as to whether it’s beautiful to you or not. Yeah, I can see the depression in it, and that’s what drew me to this in the first place. But I also see the shades of purple and I see the way the colours mask over one another. There’s more to this picture than just the feeling I can see.
The more I look at this picture, the more I see. I won’t go into some artsy breakdown because let’s face it I’ll sound like a stuck up weirdo and actually it doesn’t matter what I think about this right now. What does matter is what I’m trying to say, and that is this: you are more than your emotional baggage and crap. You’re more than your depression, your anxiety, your schizophrenia, whatever it is. You’re more than all of the things you hate about yourself, the things you tolerate. You’re beautiful. God looks at you, just like I did at this picture, and he sees all of those horrible emotions you have and all of the things that get you down, and Jesus still says you’re beautiful. You’re beautiful. Your friends look at you, your family look at you. Whoever. And more often than not you’re beautiful to them in ways you didn’t even think would be beautiful to anyone else at all. Sure they might see the depression or the anger or the worry or whatever it is. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it and it seeps out of you and you almost feel like you have no control over it. But they see all of the other things about you too. You are not your mental health. You are YOU. Just sometimes, our mental health can steal us away for a while. I like to say I’ve gone on holiday when a low hits. But that’s it, I’m still there somewhere. The Annie-shaped painting (okay, so I did just compare myself to a painting) is still hanging on the wall. Some bits are just a bit more obvious than others sometimes, but it doesn’t mean all of that beauty isn’t there anymore.
You’re beautiful okay? A beautiful, hand-crafted painting hanging in the gallery of life. Beautiful, and chosen to be.
Peace and blessings x