Here, you see the self-portrait that hangs above my TV. Nah, it’s not there because I have an inordinate amount of self-love. No big ego here. Though there is some healthy self-respect and gratitude for my life happening here.
See, this is a portrait I did in high school. Until about a week ago, this piece sat with other artwork I created in high school in a garbage bag in my dad’s garage, where it’d been since I brought it home from school. I’d always wanted to hang some of my artwork. (We should all be proud of the work we create!) But I’d never done it.
Well, over the last few months, I’ve made the decision to be the woman I have longed to be and to give into my desires as much as possible. So I hung this portrait, something I'd always wanted to do. And I started to think about what it means to me to have "her" hanging there.
She hangs in a frame without glass because while I was putting her in her new home, the glass broke, and I haven’t had the resources to go get a new frame. So she hangs there in its metaphorically perfect imperfect state, surveying the life I’ve built since I was the teenage girl who drew her surrounded by symbols of the Pennsylvania Dutch, a heritage I’m proud of. Even the red hair is symbolic: At the time I drew her, I was longing to be able to dye my hair red. (My mother wouldn't let me, so drawing it with purple lowlights was the next best thing.) Years later, I would actually dye my hair red and love it.
This life she sits there observing is pretty good. It’s not exactly what that teenage girl had imagined for herself; in some ways it’s better! Though this life isn't perfect, she’s a now constant reminder that life gets better all the time and that we can't always imagine what that will look like but that's cool because it means we get to be surprised. The progression is forward; there is momentum in my life and it’s taking me to new heights.
Looking at her, I am so fiercely proud of who I am and how far I’ve come. I’m confident that I’ll do amazing things this year and I’m so excited. And young Rosella will sit there watching!