Original Oil Painting “One”
What it represents to me.
What it means to me is acceptance, of the world, of the way things are, in all its complexity. Even if I don’t understand a lot of things.
It’s about learning that in life things of opposite nature live close side by side and without one you cannot have the other: Ying and Yang, female and male, negative and positive, dark and light, opulence and poverty, life and death.
I was thinking a lot about dualities and my attitude towards it.
A few years ago, I was invited to a party, in someone’s home or what seemed more like a museum/castle. This person seemed to have the whole world and all that is available in it – the best! Family, money that will never run out, social standing, good health, looks…
I was happy and grateful to be invited of course…but afterwards for several days it had an interesting effect on me…something I did not expect…not at all positive.
I found myself incredibly depressed and crying a lot, things weren’t making sense and I just couldn’t understand how there could be such extremes in the world.
It’s one thing to kind of know about it and a completely different thing when it’s staring you right in the face.
Just days before going to this party I accidentally came across something on the internet; it was a statistic about homeless children in Russia. I am Russian by the way, I was born in Estonia and came to US when I was 15.
It said that it was estimated that there are between million and five million homeless children living in Russia. One of the stories was about a 6 year old homeless boy, who was buying glue in the store, (a lot of homeless children there sniff glue…beyond heart wrenching…) a cop saw him, took away his glue and squeezed out the entire bottle on top of his head. Yes, a 6 year old child! I felt that my insides turned, I wanted to lay down on the floor in fetal position and cry my eyes out from the intensity, cruelty and injustices of the world.
Every emotion came rushing in, engulfing me in a tidal wave of confusion. My own life experiences came to mind…my childhood, where I grew up…
I grew up in Estonia, which used to be part of Russia. Mom worked 2, 3 jobs, going to university and raising me as a single mom without any support, except my grandmother, who was living on the opposite side of the country.
We had to live in this old communal house, government controlled the living situation…what is communal house? It’s basically a tiny room…you walk in the wing where we lived, there is a long hallway, along the sides were doors to the rooms where each family lived. There was a communal kitchen, with 2 stoves, 1 sink, no hot water, no bathtub or any kind of bathing facility, just a toilet that basically was a hole in the ground.
I remember the tiny window in the bathroom, it felt so creepy there…I had nightmares for so many years about living there, in my dreams I was always trapped in that house, trying to escape as it’s collapsing or being submerged under water.
It was a house of horrors, the walls had such large cracks you could put your entire fist in there…there were some epic spider webs, the whole house was infested with bugs and rodents. One night the rat crawled inside our radio (this radio was very old school and big), it was squeaking all night and my mother couldn’t do anything about it.
The neighbors weren’t kind, they would get enraged when my mom played classical music and treat us with a lot of hate. It’s like they thought that my mom thought she was better than them because she had an education and class.
We lived there for 12 years. At one point it was my mom, my stepfather, my newborn sister and me in one tiny room.
When my sister was close to year, the three of us went to the mayor’s office to declare hunger strike, that’s the only option we had to get out of there, to finally demand healthy living conditions. My mom is my hero on so many levels.
So yeah, that’s a super short story of my background. It’s hard to take that much of opposites, it’s hard to process it in my mind. If someone told me when I was little that I would be living the way I do now and in US I would have probably died from happiness.
It isn’t that I wanted to live in that big mausoleum of a house or have the social standing, I never cared much about that, it was just that it was really hard for me to accept things that were on such opposite sides of the spectrum.
But it definitely took a lot of soul searching to make amends with my past and to accept life with all its variety of dualities and experiences. I count my blessings every day for having come such a long way from where we started and for so many good things in my life.
I am also grateful for so many hardships along the way, they shaped who I am today, helped me to have courage and ignited the passion within me for life.
I also strongly believe that all those experiences have led me to discover myself as an artist. It’s like a whole mix of good and bad that made way for something higher and beautiful. That’s probably why I feel so strongly about seeking out beauty in life, wherever I may find it.
Posted on October 3, 2013, in Art, Inspirations, Life Journey, Life Lessons and tagged dualities.opposites.extremes.meaning of a painting. accepting opposites.making sense of life. embracing life experiences.. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.