It’s Sunday and I should probably give it a rest but the words don’t stop and the truth is I feel a certain obligation to them to show up. Without them I’m unsure of myself in ways that are hard to explain. When you write often and honestly, people tend to tell you things you don’t want to hear or worse they tell you things about themselves which you are incapable of responding to thoughtfully because they don’t know themselves well enough to understand why they are even telling you in the first place. Perhaps this is neither here nor there, but there you have it in any case. As I sip my coffee, I glance up at the new painting on my wall, it is a breathtakingly gorgeous, nearly life sized portrait of the back of a woman who sits fully undressed, her white garment spread around her as though it had carelessly fallen off. When I selected the painting what intrigued me at first was her thick wavy hair, much like my own, tousled and piled high atop her head, as she looks off to one side. I cannot see her face but I can feel her, I can feel myself in her. The way I once sat for you as you sketched my likeness with charcoal and pencil upon a large canvas. In your small studio with the makeshift fireplace, you threw on a few more logs so I would not be chilled as I undressed before you, drank of your wine and took my seat upon a small pedestal. How your dark eyes flashed and studied, your fingers mastered each fine line of my face, my jaw, my collarbone, my breasts, my stomach. How I crossed my bare legs as I could feel your stoic gaze humming in my sex. In the presence of one who treasures such a rarity, who rejoices within it and drinks of it eagerly, there is no feeling of vulnerability and soft power like that. To be drawn, to be painted, to be seen, penetrated from a distance. To be touched, reflected, objectified. A woman knows these feelings intimately, she carries them deep in her psyche. They arouse and break her, play with and distract her. The image in my writing room reminds me of any woman but it also reminds me of myself. What it is to be human, to be silent, to be beautiful. To be curious, to be waiting. To be. Without word. Without shame. Without motion or angst or explanation. Without fear or hesitation. The portrait has a feeling of poise and contemplation to it, underneath there is also a feeling of need, want, nakedness, isolation, freedom, sadness. There are no other objects in the image, just the roughness of texture, gray on gray on white paint washed out around the woman who is facing away. I’ve turned my back on many things in my life, too, I think as my eyes take in the gentle curve of her feminine hips. Cruel lovers. Hopeless relationships. Myself, time and time again. Those who do not understand me and never will. Life is full of strangeness and it seems I am always inviting it in but I don’t want to be like everybody else. I would rather be alone with myself than faking a smile for the masses. It is a heavy world out there. People want to tame you, silence you, dismiss you. They want to whittle you down into a nub of what grandness you truly are. And as the powder blue sky opens itself over a clouded winter’s day, here I sit writing for the ones who are kind enough to listen. Of all the things I’ve ever turned away from, I’d break my own heart before I ever turned away from them.