“Paint a Turd”

A while ago my EMDR therapist gave me an assignment to “paint something hideous.” I was more terrified at that notion than if she had said “go memorize every muscle and bone in the human body and recite them backwards while hanging upside down from your pinky toe.”

What the hell?

I can’t explain it. Okay yes I can. I lied. I am a perfectionist. My inner critic hates everything I do, even if it admits later, that something came out alright. I am a nun, shaking her ruler, glaring and WHAP goes the ruler across the hand. YOU SUCK. So then how is it that paint comes out of my hands and out of the brush and onto the canvas and doesn’t look like the worst thing I have ever seen? Usually, because I am copying some other person’s work! Copying a photo. Beep beep. Robot artist.

But “paint something hideous.” Now that is impossible. That assignment has appeared, at least 7 or 8 times on my daily “to do” list. It keeps getting circled as undone. Scooted off the page of today. And the person rewriting it on the next day’s page is hiding a devilish grin, knowing, that this assignment won’t survive. No hope at being scratched out today. Better add it on to tomorrow. And the next day. And in June.

When I saw my EMDR therapist on Monday, and announced I had not yet painted something hideous, she handed me a pen and paper and said, “Here, draw something ugly. As ugly as you’d like.”

I just sat there. Mouth on floor. “I can’t” the snotty little bitch voice in me said.

Then I cheated. I drew something that had “appeared” mysteriously on my bathroom window. Something I am 99.99999999% sure I did not draw, but it was there, and no other ghost will cop to it. That is a subject, and a photo, for another post.

She crumpled up the paper and said “use your right hand.” At which point I drew big round eyeballs in the dark. The whites of them peeking upwards and slightly stage left. The eyes were under ground, blanketed in darkness. Yet open. Above ground was the sun. The eyes, shyly looking up at it.

ET says, “So, is that maybe someone who is in the dark, yet has the knowing, that the sun is out there?”

Man I hate therapists sometimes.

I left feeling agitated. The next night, I had dinner with a good friend of mine who invariably has me laughing even at the worst of times. And he gave me a new assignment.

“Paint a turd.”

A what?

“A turd. A big heaping pile of shit. Paint that.”

My face lit up. Oh my god! I WILL paint a turd! A hairy, moldy, steamy and disgusting plop of shit. I told him thank you. And now, that I felt I had “an assignment.” A direction. Something, yet nothing, to paint. A turd, I can do. Something “abstract” and from the heart, NOT. “Allowing my soul to speak through my brush?” NOT. Use the colors of my imagination? NOT. Let go, let God? NOT.

But a turd? That is something concretely hideous. Requiring no special blending skills. No deep knowledge of history of painting poo. No specific details. The sky is the limit! That I can do. Because that will make me laugh. And there is NO way to make a turd beautiful. Or is there? I don’t know. But the good news is, it doesn’t matter. I can’t “polish a turd.” Right?

That’s my next assignment. I promise to post. I want to share my hideous turd with you.

Thanks for being here,

The Cockroach

Copyright © 2019 Kissing The Cockroach® All Rights Reserved.

~ by Kissing The Cockroach® on May 10, 2012.

14 Responses to ““Paint a Turd””

  1. Oh, that perfectionism sounds so familiar to me! I don’t draw or paint, but I used to write. I used to be very good at it–went to a fine arts school, did an MFA-level program before I turned 18, got published. Now, when I try to write, everything comes out sounding dead. I hate it. I can produce a technically proficient poem or short story, but what’s the point when it’s missing that spark of life? The voices in my head just keep yelling that it’s utter shit, that I’m utter shit. So I don’t even try to write anymore. I just knit and do crossword puzzles. It makes me sad–writing was who I was for so long, and now, what’s left of me?

    I hope you enjoy the turd painting and find a respite from the brutal perfectionism.

    • Thank you. I totally get it. How appropriate that we think our words are “utter shit” and I’ll be painting just that! Writing will come back to you….it has not left. Just casually observing.

  2. Eeeeeee…. Gurl you are so funny! My only question is… Where’s the pic?????? Hahaha…

  3. make a colorful turd with glitter 😉

  4. What a great idea! lol…Do post it when you’re done? I’ll love to see your hideous turn artwork when complete!

  5. Make it a purple turd!!!

  6. You described a very serious problem in a funny way. I like your therapist 🙂

  7. This is one of my favorite postings, EVER. Let go, let Poo! 🙂 This is brilliant and I love your writing as always!! I wanna see a picture of your “shit” painting. 🙂 xoxoxoxox beep beep

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