Someone very dear to me is a painter. Her partner has managed to convince her, for the second time in less than 10 years, that she will be better off if she gives up her studio and walks away from her art.
When she told me last week she would be selling off all of her paintings — and not to worry, it’s been a nice hobby but she’s no longer a creative person — I remembered the last studio she left behind and how it took her over a year to admit how deeply she felt that loss.
Most of her paintings sold last weekend. A few of those remaining will go into storage. The rest? Have been destroyed. Her partner tells me how together they slashed the canvasses and broke the frames. She explains how she’ll probably end up smashing the ones now in storage eventually too.
She tells me this — and her face looks like a steel hatchet.
Or the rusted bottom of a sunken ship.
I cannot be kind to her on the subject; she only sneers at me. I cannot tell her that my heart breaks for her; my compassion threatens the shell she has built to protect herself from feeling the repetition of this loss.
And so I am telling you instead, my invisible friends:
If something inside you sings, open your mouth and share it.
If something inside you thinks only in colors and shapes, grasp a paintbrush in your hand and write the thought down.
If something inside you dances, stand lightly on your feet and let the world see you fly.
The art of our minds can never be destroyed. If you try doing so, the only thing left slashed and broken will be yourself.
Choose the singing instead.