Human Beyond Reprieve

14 October 2013
9:51 AM
Manila

M.–

I woke up gasping around two in the morning. I fumbled around in the dark for awhile, disoriented, unsure of where I am. I didn’t feel safe. And I just–

I cried. For hours I curled into a ball and just cried, not knowing why. I just did.

Now I feel raw and bruised, and so wounded, M.

Last winter, during the course of preparation for the retrospectives, I found myself on the crest of an unspeakable loneliness. Stopped, I told my children that I would like a day to myself and went to the National Gallery. I arrived just before the doors opened and waited on the steps leading up from the Mall, sitting patiently as in a doctor’s waiting room. Admitted, I went straight to the Rembrandt self-portrait, painted when he was fifty-three, my age. He looked straight out at me, and I looked straight in him.

There is a sort of shame in naked pain. I used to see it in my patients when I was working in psychology and nursing. They found it more seemly, more expedient to pull over themselves thin coverlets of talk. There is wisdom in this, an unselfish honor in bearing one’s burdens silently. But Rembrandt found a higher good worth the risk and painted himself as he knew himself, human beyond reprieve. He looks out from this position, without self-pity and without flourish, and lends me strength.

– Anne Truit, 3 September, from Daybook: The Journal of an Artist

I don’t know how to get through it, when this happens. But I must.

I must.

T.

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