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Self Portrait: A Collaboration with my Heartbroken Self

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Now usually when my feelings get hurt...I shut down. I get physically sick. But I decided it'd probably be productive, maybe even therapeutic to do something else with that energy.

I'll start with Kelly Smalll, aka the man who came to my 22nd birthday party to break up with me. The embarrassment and chaos that soon followed is something that OTHER people still remind me of. It didn't stop with the ruining of my party tho. About 10 days later, he revealed the new love of his life on IG and I was beside myself.

Rod, the man who pursued me while I was in previous mentioned relationship. Someone who pursued me again years later, to the point of telling me to move to NY to be with him and that he would get me a job...only to hit him up to visit a couple months later just for my calls to be ignored. I was greeted with a text that asked what I wanted and followed with he couldn't chat because he was doing laundry with his girlfriend.

Nathan, the man who ghosted me after an 8 hour long trip from Arkansas to Atlanta where we were on the phone during the ride, made plans that night to meet at the museum. All this led to him ghosting me so bad I thought something happened to him. Luckily, I saw he was alive and well via IG.

Patrick, the boy who kicked me out of the house EYE paid for in the middle of a pandemic. The boy who then ran up an electric bill of $1,000 in my name with the roommate (who would soon turn out to be his fuck buddy.)

Byron, the guy who for the first time in a long time had me excited for a first date. We spoke every day for two weeks, only to be told the day before our first date that he had to cancel because of "class." For a course that was not graded, for a project he told me he was working on all week to ensure he could give me his undivided attention. It didn't stop with the cancelling of the plans though. He then "unmatched" from me on the app we met on and never returned a following text.

In all, these types of situations are common and really left me questioning myself...and for that I thank these people for bringing me to a place of self-reflection. But I still have feelings, and I wanted to put them somewhere.

I have never received an apology or even an explanation from anyone on why they would treat me this way. I ask myself like, " Damn, I'm not even worthy enough of a explanation? No type of communication?" Though it would be nice to know, I feel I'll never get any answers and that is what I have to make myself okay with. I believe most of us have to at some point. Though I like to close things, so the other party has no question or has no space to wonder, not everyone follows the golden rule of treating others the way they want to be treated.

But when the self doubt sets in, I welcome it. Though those thoughts may not be positive, they are valid and I know they will soon pass. I'm allowed to be angry. I'm allowed to be sad. All these feelings are where the idea for this painting began.

I wanted to do this painting in black and red to symbolize my thoughts at the time. Although, I would never give ANY nigga the satisfaction of painting tears in my eyes...there is pain here. Blue would not have adequately depicted my sadness since it was cloaked in rage, confusion, and the desire for revenge. And while all these feelings existed while painting those same fleeting moments I felt excitement, and hope, and resilience. I remembered how these connections started. I remembered how I felt discovering these new connections after I had seemingly told myself how hard it would be to find what I had lost.

While red symbolizes, rage, passion, love, is also powerful, and assertive, and lively. This imagery is in the similar dichotomy of black symbolizing death, mystery, and depth while also showing elegance, resilience, and stability.

Though there are downs, there are also ups...even in "heart break."

Black woman artist self portrait in healing after heartbreak
Bri self portrait after heartbreak

I have many other thoughts centered around my painting practice and process, but I forsee the next few paintings being similar, so maybe I'll be able to articulate and share later on.

Hope you enjoy.

P.S. On the positive and gushy parts of the heart, I have

a cute short playlist...

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