That Time I Painted The World
That Time I Painted The World
A couple months ago I painted the multicolored 5ft x 7ft canvas of the world, pictured above. Painting canvases has been a hobby of mine since high school, but I usually stuck to smaller images and quotes on much smaller sized canvases, and my artwork had always been pretty average. Since I moved to this house, (you can learn more about THAT, here) I had planned on covering the wall above my bed in numerous multicolored, small canvases – I never imagined nor felt confident in myself that I could make something as massive as I did.
A lot of people have asked me about this map and told me how great it looks and how talented I am, which has given me a great sense of pride that I’ve never felt before. So I wanted to share a little about what brought about my rainbow world.
You know, they say there are thinkers, and there are feelers. I’m a feeler. I feel everything, and very deeply. Much more so than a lot of my peers, which often set me apart. I was a very, very sensitive person, and thought about everything I did and said and everything that was done and said to me, to an extreme. It was one of my flaws, and my feeling everything so hard often made me feel isolated.
I was always a homebody. I felt most comfortable at home. When I was little I used to have to be picked up at sleepovers because I was too scared to sleep away from home. I always wanted to have friends over at my house instead of going to theirs – I felt safe at home, I felt myself at home.
I did a lot of things at home – I had my piano there, a mirror on the wall in the basement to practice dance (way back when I did that!), I had all my books, I had my mom (who does everything under the sun and more, and loves involving me in her fun activities), and I had this little fella:
We got Deacon when I was 8. He was curious and intelligent, fun and playful, kind and loving. As a puppy he preferred to be in our arms or laps, and this behavior didn’t stop as he grew bigger. He adored his humans.
I don’t remember life before Deacon. He was my third brother who just happened to have four legs and enjoyed licking between my toes (I was the only one who let him). Every single night we disagreed over who he would sleep with (he preferred my bed, Zachary), and every morning before school we would kiss him goodbye.
He was my best friend, and I will admit I was one of those freaks who’s oddly obsessed with their dog. I used to fall asleep cuddling him…on his dog bed in the laundry room. I would lay in the kitchen on the tile floor with him for hours at a time. When he slept in my bed, I didn’t like him at the foot of the bed but instead I would tuck him in like a human on the pillow next to me. I loved his face, and he loved when I rubbed his ears.
And I was in my room a lot. (Remember, homebody). He was a constant – a rock. Many nights in my bed he was there with me, when I would cry and feel lonely. Sometimes I think he could sense my sadness even when I wasn’t crying, and was drawn to me because of it. He knew how to make me feel not alone, and he also knew that he had the power to make me feel better.
Junior and senior year of high school, both of my brothers were at college, and my dad travelled a lot. (He commuted to Philly for two years before we moved here.) My memories of those two years are of Deacon and my mom hanging out in my room. My mom and I could talk for hours while petting or playing with Deacon. The three of us were best buds.
Deacon was my sunshine. He was with me during my darkest moments and still somehow managed to bring me light. He reminded me that I was loved when I felt like the least likable person alive.
She would’ve picked me up in the night to come with, but she knew I had a test that morning and didn’t want me to miss it or be distracted. (God, she is superwoman.) It was the day before fall break, and I had been so excited to go home that afternoon, but I suddenly wasn’t anymore. I told her I was going to stay another night in my dorm.
Have you ever had your heart ripped out of your chest? Have you ever felt like you will never be able to breathe on your own again? That’s what it felt like when I heard that I would never see my furry boy again.
I was numb. Frozen. Things around me were closing in, and I felt like I was going to close in on myself. I was in a blackhole of space and time – breathing made me feel like I would explode and not breathing made me feel like I would implode. I didn’t know what I was gonna do, or how I would continue.
I spent the whole week of fall break on the floor of my kitchen creating this canvas – I didn’t really eat, or talk, or hear. I just painted the world.
My rainbow world. Part of my world collapsed and fell away, and the only way I could get through that was by laying that world across a canvas.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Deacon. Every time I walk in the house I still hear him hopping off the couch to run and greet me. I still turn the corner and expect him to be there, waiting patiently for me. He’s in my dreams a lot, too. I miss his smell, and the way his fur felt on my face. But mostly I miss the way he looked at us – like we were the only people in the world, and that we were capable of anything.
But now, when I feel that emptiness – when that hole in my chest where Deacon once was throbs in pain – I can sit in our favorite place (my room) and stare at my rainbow world. It’s nowhere near as comforting as Deacon, but knowing that I am capable of doing great things helps me feel like I am going to be ok. Plus, who wouldn’t feel happier looking at those bright colors?
When I look at that map, I’m reminded of him, his bright personality, and his face that emanated sunshine, reminding me that I can do all things.