My worst part’s self-portrait


Acrylic on wood, 2011
35×60 cm
© Emanuela Mae Agrini

This is a self-portrait I painted two years ago. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was alone in the house I was living with my ex boyfriend. I was a selecter dj, an artist, kinda a popular personality in my social slice at that time. But something was broken inside me. My life was chocking me, I was feeling everyday more lonely and lost. The date of this painting is around 5th September 2011. When I was there painting, sitting on the ground in front of the mirror, I didn’t know that in some days I was going to change everything, starting a long, difficult, sometimes desperate travel in my life. But from months a sense of emptiness was all I was having inside; it was causing me panic attacks when going alone out of home, I was continously scared by the people, even the closest persons I had were not real friends to me. Paranoias were all I was gathering day after day: I was not anymore able to drive, for example, or to go to have a coffee with someone by myself. I was weak, feeling silent even if talking, and painting was my attempt of screaming in those days.
The 23th of August 2011 was my 30th birthday, and probably the day I realized that I had to run away from the situation I was stuck inside. I wanted to have a party to celebrate an age I was feeling important, a passage to a different stadium of my life. But when I started to think on it, I realized that I had no one to invite. Or better: I was scared of none of the people I was wanting with me were coming. Paranoia, maybe. But I still think there was a good probability that it was happening: while falling to pieces, I was being in the middle of society under the appearence of a strong person, just a bit closed. People are not feeling how much they can hurt you most of the time, but if they think you are strong, they give even less importance to that. You will survive, after all, better than others.
So, it happened all of a sudden. I made friends online trying to escape my everyday cage and talk with people without having to carry, at every word I was saying, the rest of my life. I couldn’t sleep so much at that time. In the early morning I was still awake. My ex boyfriend was angry at me, he screamed that I had to choose: changing my habits or going away from that house. I remember the moment I made my choice. I knew I was not going back, never. My heart was throbbing heavily in my chest and I had a pain there so deep I thought I was dying while I was dressing up and putting random things in bags. Then I saw my self-portrait in a corner. Sad and desperate and dark. Not even in it I had the courage to lift my eyes to look at my life. I took it with me and I went out of the house, crying, with my ex boyfriend trying in vain to stop me.

Lately he confessed me that, when he saw me going away with that painting in my arms, he thought I was completely mental. And maybe he was right. Took me long time to understand why I took it with me that morning. Now I know it was because in that self-portrait there was the true worst part of myself and I had to take it away with me. To correct it. To cure it, change it.

Now more than two years have passed. I’m not exagerate when I say these have been the toughest years of my life: I worked a lot for gaining things lately I unfailingly lost, I found myself without direction, going around sometimes lost in foreing lands. I had personality crysis, other paranoias, I suffered loneliness anyway. But now, whatever happens, I have around people loving me; the most important thing is I know it and I know also that they do for both my strenghts and weaknesses. The self-portrait is at the moment in my ex lab, waiting to come home with me. It will be there as the last fragment of myself before I say finally goodbye to the place. And then I will keep it with me, so when I miss my previous life (because I miss it, sometimes), it will always remind me of how much freedom costs, but also that you never pay enough to look your life straight in the eyes. And smile.

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