Visual Arts

Eisenberg: My Ride or Die

Susan Emery Eisenberg

My mind pre trauma was ordinary and therefore beautiful. People, places, and things were as they were and the portraits pleasing because the layers beneath were unknown and blissfully so. The hard truths of life had not touched me and why would they? Why would I let them in? I was blessed with a beautiful family, a successful career and all the trappings of an envied life. A rule player always. Who would want to deviate from what they know?

But it came unprovoked, violently, shockingly and my mind was forever slanted. My shock, rage and post-traumatic stress found me groveling through the stages of grief, vacillating between denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In truth, denial escaped me. The most powerful coping mechanism a person can have. This was lost when I could no longer deny the suffering, pain, and anguish of others.
For I had developed what I refer to as recognition. The ability to see in others what I felt myself. The disparity and reconciling of who I was and what I became. Have my two parts come to terms? At times yes, and at other times it is a forever work in progress.

The acceptance is what bites at me. What was and what is, a sad thing to ponder when life was always there for me, and I could not see it through my grief.
This journey to acceptance has been fraught but revelations have been made. I did not live Monday through Friday. I existed. The quest to live failed me at every juncture, but I managed to live nestled in the forty-eight hours of the weekends, behaving like a ‘normal’ person. However, my new normal became one of solitude and the thinking brought me to places I should have visited years earlier.

It began with a visit to Palm Beach months after “that happened” and it just felt different. It was revelatory. It was necessary, and the path to who I am, began. If a soulmate could be a place, then Palm Beach would be it. And then I saw her, my Eisenberg.

My first original piece, bought at consignment years earlier. I looked a little harder and then the pieces started to fit. What was pure beauty was now complicated and if a painting could speak it would have said “You’ve got this, I too was a blank canvas until I was brought to life.” Brought to life? If there was a moment this was it. My Eisenberg on acrylic, transparent in spots and obscure in others with the parallels between me and the painting so apparent, I touched it, gently, to thank her for her patience and to give my gratitude to something which had previously, simply adorned a wall. Her and my accoutrements in a prior life, now so alike that she will be with me wherever I go. She is complex, changing with the light. She beckons me to look deeper and I do. I thank her always. She knows. Beautiful Eisenberg. She and I, my ride or die. G&S

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