I have never had a song written about me. When my parents named me, they decided against the name Aubrey, the title of a popular song at the time. I was born with deep brown eyes, so they used to sing the Van Morrison song “Brown Eyed Girl” to me, but my eyes mellowed to a more caramel-hazel color as I matured. There are no songs that can be sung for me. I have never been a muse for any artist. There are no portraits, no sculptures, and no sketches that have been created in my honor.
As a girl, it was somehow impressed upon me that to be truly loved, truly adored, one must be idolized, and made perfect in the eyes of one’s lover. Any flaws were to be made lovely, and glossed over in an artist’s rendering. As a woman, I have yet to find a person to love me without also seeing my insecurities, my scars, and my failings. The people who have loved me honestly have not placed me on a mantel where I could topple and break: they instead kept me close to their hearts, in safety, while also allowing me the freedom to live.
When I dreamed of being an actress, I also dreamed of all the people who would finally see me for how I wanted to be seen: beautiful, talented, and perfectly yet tragically broken. I have always admired the dichotomy of a person; how one can be both intelligent yet foolish, gorgeous yet have a quirky body part, funny yet grim. And, I wanted to be seen for it all, and accepted all the same. I wanted the song about me to include where I have striven and fallen, and to leave the listener yearning to love me just the same. I wanted my rendering to somehow capture the essence of how I may be perfect in one light, but with an underlying darkness to balance the frame.
To have the freedom to be oneself, without the worry or fear of rejection. To have the audacity to accept oneself, whether or not anyone else ever acknowledged the other’s worth. To be unashamed and unapologetic to be alive, breathing the same air as others who ignore one, and to refuse to be unseen. This is the confidence, the bravery, the radical sort of character I have learned and continue to learn to embrace.
I may not be anyone’s muse, or inspiration: but I have a pen and a paper, acrylics and brushes, and a sketchbook and charcoal. Perhaps I am meant to be my own muse, to portray myself as I ought to be seen. I can best draw myself with tears streaming, and a crooked grin fixed on my face. I can best jot a poem that joins all the pleasant aspects of me, along with the ones I would most like to obliterate: and it would make an all the more worthy piece. The portrait I would paint would include the shapes and shadows that another may edit; but I would paint me in my entirety.
I am no one’s muse, but my own.