Twenty minutes to write. To write whatever comes into my head. I’m thinking of the rhubarb and yoghurt I just ate. It was good. I’m thinking of the ceiling I just painted. I hope it’s good. Painting has a way of looking good until the paint dries. I’ve been painting regrets out my hair. I’ve been getting paint in my hair. My face is splattered with white paint. My heart and mind are splattered with remains of colours of a different time and different place. Those remains are stubborn – hard to remove – as persistent as the remnants of the colour choices of past tenants.
Did they regret the colours they chose? I know I would have. I started out regretting the colour I chose. Seemingly no colour at all – one of the endless choices of ‘whites’. Country White – I like it now. I’m painting over memories of other countries. Other lands. Hoping that, when the paint dries, there won’t be patches left uncovered.
Twenty minutes to type. Two weeks to paint. Painting over forty years of inhabitants in this house. I’m starting a new writing project this month. I’m painting and writing and cooking and praying my way into a new start – a fresh start – a fresh lick of paint.
I’m getting rid of things too. Sixteen years in this land and so many things that I haven’t touched for so long. They can go! Most of them. They may, or may not, find a grateful home. The local charity shop are always glad to see me come. They’re desperate for donations of things to sell, apparently. Ireland hasn’t quite recovered from the bust of the boom – people are hanging onto things longer now. I had no economic boom and therefore no economic bust. Just stable years of making do. There have been highs and lows of other kinds in this girl’s life. But the making do helps you keep a loose hold on things. I’m learning to hold my hands open to give away the things that weigh me down.
Now to give away those thoughts. Give them to someone who can make something beautiful of them. Painting helps, but it won’t do the trick – not entirely – the old colours will leak out when the paint dries. No, give them to someone who knows my every thought. Who gives me words to sort those thoughts. Someone who speaks their own words into my thoughts. A voice outside of myself.
I can breathe again – take a big deep breath (in a well ventilated room) – stand back – admire the paintwork! So fresh and clean and bright!
I can breathe in – because I can breathe out – ‘sighs’ breathed out to one who listens and heals and makes things fresh.
No painting over stains and gaps and blemishes. A painter who gives you a whole new home!
Twenty minutes is up! Back to that painting, girl!