I will braid my sadness

A beautiful mixed media painting by Danita Art
One of my favorite paintings of all time, a self portrait made when life is giving me many reasons to braid my hair.
This painting is very special to me. I love the beauty of her face and her soulful eyes. She is me, and I am braiding my hair.

I wanted to share with you a bit of the process, how she started from a rough sketch on the canvas into a full fledged painting on this timelapse video, and the inspiration that brought me to paint myself like this.

The inspiration for this painting came from a poem by Paola Klug that reflects my life situation now. I am battling a lot of fronts at the same time right now. This past year life has delivered me and my family so many blows that our life has been turned completely upside down. In Spanish, we have a saying, Llover sobre mojado , “It rains on wet ground”. We use it when things just keep on piling up, just like rain over a flooded garden.

This situation has put me into a constant battle against the dementors of my depression. But I must be strong, if not for myself, for the sake of my family. Escaping from the dark clutches of sadness and sorrow is getting increasingly difficult, but I must prevail. I must braid my hair, and when the time comes and the stars align, I will be able to let it down once again.

When life just keeps coming at you… What do you?

Here is the full poem, “I will braid my sadness“, it’s beautiful.

“My grandmother said that when a woman felt sad the best thing she could do was to braid her hair; in this way the pain would get trapped between the hair and could not reach the rest of the body; you had to be careful not to let the sadness get into the eyes because that would make them rain, also it was not good to let it go into our mouths because that would make them say things that were not true, don’t let it get between your hands- she would say- because you could over roast the coffee or undercook the dough; and sadness likes a bitter taste. When you feel sad, girl, braid your hair; block the pain in the skein and let it escape when the north wind blows real hard. Our hair is a net that’s able to catch everything, it’s strong as the roots of the bald cypress and soft as the atole’s foam.

Don’t be unprepared if melancholy takes a grip of you, my child, even if you have your heart broken or your bones are cold due to some absence. Don’t let it getinto you with your hair down, because it will flow cascading through the channels that the moon has drawn between your body. Braid your sadness, she always said, braid your sadness…

And tomorrow when you wake up to the sparrow’s song, you will find it pale and faded in the loom of your hair.”

– Paola Klug



2 thoughts on “I will braid my sadness”

  1. My worst time was when my eldest son was hit by a car and left in a coma – dealing with that meant my income stopped & I still had 7-year old twins to care for. Just putting one foot in front of the other was enough, making it from one day to the next. But always I was aware that others were in even tougher situations; at least my son was alive & there was hope – that stopped me from allowing myself to sink too far. Plus a streak of black humour and the support of amazing friends.
    (My son did wake up, by the way, & although he does have a brain injury & a largely titanium skull, manages to live on his own & go to college with minimal support. Where we could dwell on the fact that he will not go to university, I prefer to remind myself that he could easily be in a wheelchair needing me to change his diapers. Any other response would drive me crazy!)
    So just keep going forward, having faith in the future – and keep on creating.

    1. Hi Penelope, thank you for sharing your story.
      You went trough very difficult times!
      You’re right, sometimes all we can do is just put one one foot in front of the other and move on for the sake of our loved ones, hoping things will get better.
      I’m so glad to hear that in the end your son recovered and he’s doing OK. ❤

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