It makes me laugh, and more than a little pleased, when I see pants splattered in paint selling for hundreds of dollars. Most of my pants (and tops) look like that. I think they’re beautiful, not because they were manufactured, but because they were lived in. They tell a story. I know where each yellow and blue came from. The tales of each red and green and brown and white.
When you create a painting, it doesn’t just appear in a matter of seconds. You have to find it. It takes patience. Stretching the canvas. Squaring it. Gessoing. Then beginning. The image starts to take shape, but it takes a while to see. To believe you’ll get there. There is always that point when I think, oh, I really want to paint over everything and start over (sometimes there is nothing else to do, but that is extremely rare). You have to work through that point. And it takes more than patience, it takes practice, and more practice. All this practice builds a confidence that gets you through that difficult phase before the image comes to life. All that practice is documented on my pants, and that gives me courage, gives me strength. I see the countless times I’ve surpassed that difficult period, be it on the canvas, or in life.
When I first moved to France, I had to take mandatory French language, history and culture classes. I’ve mentioned them before, so I won’t go into great detail, but for me, they were difficult. Not just the learning, but the emotional toll. We were often humiliated and isolated. It wasn’t a good situation. Each class, I wore my painted pants. In between all of the colors and rips, I wrote in permanent marker, “Everything’s going to be OK.” My story would carry me through, again and again.
Whether you document yours or not, is up to you. But try to remember it, your story. When faced with a new situation, remember the last time you didn’t think you’d get through – and you did! Your heart and soul and your hands are joyfully splattered in all the colors of “I can’t believe I made it through!” Wear them proudly. All these colors – all these victories – priceless!