Embrace the Fall

Originally posted on August 19, 2016.

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Above is my first-ever abstract portrait. Specifically, it's my first-ever abstract self portrait, reflecting the past month or so where I've been coming to terms with past events in my life.

I won't go in too much detail, but I recently realized that while I believed I had dealt with the past events and moved on, I really was pretending that they had no effect on me. Basically, I was in denial. I believed I was untouchable. Some of the past hardships took place as far as 20 years ago, so I was struck with the fact that I have a lot of catching up to do. This is where I explain why my self portrait is abstract: After I came to the realization, all the memories and feelings started adding weight to my shoulders; one day, I was so overwhelmed I reached the point where I suddenly saw my body in the form of flat shapes falling on top of each other and crumbling to the ground.
What was most interesting about this moment was that I couldn't remember the last time I saw a mental image so clearly. So, I saw it as a sign that I had to get it down on paper.

I used to think that realistic looking portraits, drawings that were faithful to original images, were more powerful than abstract portraits, but now I see it all differently. These last few weeks also taught me art can be used as a reminder of one's past and of the lessons that came out of it. I actually still have the drawing open in my sketchbook in my room so that I don't go through a day without seeing it. It reminds me that even though I may fake smiles for the sake of others, I don't have to fake a smile at myself.