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A Family Portrait

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Hours of endless cleaning: clearing away the seemingly endless boxes from the move to make space for an art room. For a while the only contact with a human being I'd had was the Bob Marley music streaming out of my I-pod, until I found it: that old family portrait mom used to have hanging in the living room. Of course, now that we've moved into a fancier neighborhood, beautiful pieces of art cling to our walls rather than photos of our dysfunctional looking family. A quick glance of the picture reveals even the personal disorganization; I prettied up at age five in multi-colored pigtails and winter stockings for our summer time photo. Larger scale, my two brothers were yet another portrait of the mayhem: four-year-old Jimmy sporting some classy sunglasses, however never as convincing as his younger competition. No one could miss the youngest child, Matt, filled with naïve wonder at the ground far below his bottom, which was firmly stuck to my mom’s waist. The woman’s young and weary face was insufficiently hidden, with a kid glued to each limb in spite of their working fathers’ attempt supportiveness. It was he who stood out in the photo, calling to us viewers with his loving concern for the children’s whereabouts. The assured safety of his children almost hidden from him, the man was eager for even the thirty-second photo to be over with to see why in the world his daughter was upset. Little did he know, although it should have been assumed, she had no intentions of sharing with her father the self-conscious concerns she had. Times had changed little. As usually occurred in my brain, the long analysis of my relationship with the father began. With all of the mistakes, and choices I would have made differently, it was hard to be thinking so critically while knowing that in the back of my mind laid a very similar brain as that of my father. That brain that led him to make selfish decisions- such as in the future holding back the daughter he felt so passionately about in the summer time- Christmas card picture. After letting the self-judgmental cycle go for a while, as it is often hard to stop, the thought of my dad’s neediness snapped me back into reality. What to do with that old portrait, if that’s what it can even be called. In my opinion, a family portrait is a classy, posed shot of a family in their Sunday- best; the picture in my current possession was much less intriguing. And there I went again with the negativity! I glanced down again in shame, only to catch the eye of my younger- version dad. That second glance told a whole different story than the first, shorter. “Stop worrying so much!”





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