My personal views are no longer fueled by the exuberance of youth. They are not driven by recent discoveries of social injustice, nor motivated by new betrayals of reality against my ignorant understanding of the world. My views — political, religious, and philosophical — are deliberate and calculated resolutions to questions posed to me by decades of life experience, education, and analytical reflection. For those courageous enough to be open to them, I have become a wise adviser. For those more possessive of their entrenched relationship with the universe, I am heretic and imbecile, lunatic and fool.
I am confident, however, that I am on the right path.
So what is my responsibility concerning these views? Do I keep them to myself? Do I only reveal them during the uninhibited haze of a cocktail party conversation? Do I write about them? Paint them?
People who know me will tell you I’m not afraid to express my views openly. But they are wrong, for I am afraid. I am afraid to express those views with the true force that feeds them inside me. I am afraid to unleash them with the vehemence they deserve to promote change. I am afraid of alienating those people I have gathered around me over the years as shields against loneliness and social exile. I’ve been afraid of all of that…until now.
One of the side-effects I’ve noticed from pursuing my new need to paint is courage. When I paint, I let it all out. I reserve nothing for the trip back. Every painting is a suicide mission.
I don’t do it to impress anyone. I do it because I feel I must. That is what makes this type of painting so fulfilling — the courage it takes not to give a shit who likes it. And though I would have claimed that type of courage long before now (and even my friends would have agreed that I possessed it), I know that it is new to me.
After waiting so long for it, I hope I don’t let it go to waste.