The Give and Take

GiveOrTake [Recovered]

The Give and Take
Personal Expression Art
January 2020

Available for purchase online Society6

I’ve been on an 8-month hiatus, but I’m finally back with new posts and a renewed sense of purpose… well, some idea of a purpose anyway. Since my last post in May ’19, I’ve been working on original puppet designs. They’re not ready for the public eye yet, but I’m in high hopes to have at least one ready before the summer of 2020 with a skit to follow on YouTube.

In October, I started up my Memmori posts on Instagram, sharing my philosophical points of view and questions along with sticker tags that are now international.

But, enough of that – let’s talk about this piece.

The Give and Take” was initiated because of my nephew, Michael, but inspired by essentially everyone before him who suddenly decided to take a leave from my life. I’ve always suffered from a sort of affliction in that close bonds I’ve made always pre-maturely burnt out. Over the years, I’ve tried to understand why by attempting different levels of emotional commitment, physical presence, and even expressions of love, but I could never quite get it right… In all my life, only one person has ever come-in and remained constant: my life-partner, Manny.

But even he has his moments of doubt, right? Marriage is difficult, friendships are problematic, and family… well, sometimes that’s the real bitch in life, isn’t it? It can be an incredible hardship to find stability in any of these realms for some, like me, while for others, like Manny, they succeed and have a plethora of friends that remain constant for a lifetime with nearly no breaks, though perhaps a few cracks.

Scan 4

Original sketch, September 2019

I’ve been trying to find a way to express the feeling, but my emotions would get the better of me each time I attempted, and I failed to find the right words or imagery to really convey how I felt about it – about all those people that decided definitively that their life would benefit from my extraction.

Michael’s absence in-particular catapulted these emotions, along with most of myself, into a pit of depression that took me 6-months to crawl out of. To me, he was less my nephew and more like my best friend, my brother, my son, someone I loved, cherished and believed would always be present and existing in my life. I thought it was impossible that he would ever choose to abandon me and I knew I would never leave his side or remove my aid from his journey.

For my absolute trust in this, I paid.

I have a terrible time believing anything anyone says about forever. People make promises all the time about forever, but I’ve yet to see forever come true when it falls so short of just tomorrow. The few times I have ever fully invested my heart in the idea of it I have always been the loser – save one, important instance.

For, ever the fool, I am.

Fortunately, enough heartache over my life allowed me to move past Michael’s absence within 6-months rather than the years it has typically taken for friendships before him. The completion of this piece, which has been an ongoing attempt for months, is symbolic of that struggle and my triumph over that period.

Perhaps, all those periods.

I began synthesizing these emotions by sketching what it felt like to me, and to me, it felt as if I removed my own heart and held it out as an offering. Giving my lifeforce, the essence of what I am, my very life itself, to someone I loved. I wanted to share what I had to offer with someone that appreciated it, cherished it, and grew from it.

This alone did not capture the feeling though. It also felt as if something had been removed from me. Sharing a part of yourself with someone is like making a connection – a bond, the more powerful the bond, the larger a part of yourself is connected to them. When someone leaves you and tears away from that connection, they remove a part of you in their hurry, that part of you that was still attached to them, and how large of a part that is taken, is dependent upon how deep of bond you made.

Thus, a hole or void is left behind from those that we make the strongest bonds with.

Someone like me, bonds only with the heart, peering through the superficial, cutting through the materialism, and ignoring all conventions to be simply the purest of what I am.

And that, I offer.

So then, where does that leave me when someone I bonded with so deeply tears away so abruptly?

Heartless. It’s only after we reach our lowest point that we are open to the greatest change.

So, I sketched an absent heart, but rather than just an absent heart it was as if a heart-shaped window that gave us a view of much more from our place of pain. I believe wholeheartedly that Rumi had it right when he said that, “The wound is the place where light enters you.”


Unfinished acrylic painting attempt, November 2019

At times, it’s hard to tell if we are giving or if we are taking because perspective has a funny way of framing the events of our lives. I wanted this piece to speak to that as well. To be unclear if the absent heart was giving or if the hand was taking or vice-versa, but none the less sharing a connection.

I attempted to paint the sketch, but it failed. I lack the ability to express myself with paints. I want to be a painter, but I am such an illustrator. After my attempt, I thought the concept was foolish and fell back into my slump.

In December, Manny and I visited Tlazazalca, MICH, MX for his sister’s wedding and I was re-inspired by the art I saw all around Mexico. The symbolism, colors, and styles I found everywhere made it clear to me that I was not alone in this feeling or this view, and that my feelings were valid and required expression.

Upon arriving home on January 5, 2020, I got right to work on it and decided against trying to complete the painting and allowing myself to express through a medium that I had become accustomed to; Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

I’m proud of the outcome. I hope you enjoy the piece and thank you for reading about this period in my life.

Please leave comments below.


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