My son drew this last year. Last year was a hard year. Challenging behaviors that got worse worsened and I wonder how that’s even possible. But here I am staring at this beautiful picture that he drew, that didn’t win the Rare Artist contest, but who cares? It is still flipping awesome. Layer upon layer of oil pastel. I could, in fact, make an oil pastel chip cookie from the extra wax bulging from this picture. But that is what he does. More and more and more of whatever he is fascinated with, or not so nicely put, whatever he is OCD’ing about. But this I can handle – because at the end of the binge is something positive to show for it. I walk into his room and collect his art, as if on a treasure hunt, and I keep the ones that evoke a response from me. A smile, perhaps a wince, because they aren’t always neat and pretty. Sometimes the pictures involve teeth, lots of pointy teeth. Why does he draw the pointy teeth? Why does he so easily drift to the dark side?
I remember when he was little he was stuck on painting a red smiley face on crisp white paper. It always made me happy. One such painting on canvas was bought for $100 through a tuberous sclerosis charity auction. It was a proud moment. But after a couple of years – the layers of stacked red smiles became a little too much. I begged for him to draw/paint something different. After a few houses and sunsets – he graduated to complete faces. Some are like the above face but most are not as nice. He titled the drawing above, Mummis, layer after layer of colors that represent both an explosion of emotions and an entrapment of emotions. Again, how is that possible? For my son it’s possible because he lives with “Mummis” everyday. For him to feel sadness, frustration, boredom, hopelessness, confusion, embarrassment, anger, frankly any emotion without the capability to express it often leads to the explosions. Explosions of sadness manifest as anger which leaps out in acts of aggression. Layer upon layer of emotions that for him can be catastrophic.
I like Mummis. In this still form on paper it appears to be pensive, even peaceful. Peaceful—the opposite of my life right now. I could layer and layer that forever.