"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Sunday 30 May 2010

From a Young Halle?

Now that we know each other a bit, I would like to tell you the story of my avatar standing in for me here at “Facade”.

About twenty-five years ago I took an art course in the summer. For a week, some friends took various classes; mine were in photography (where I learned to process black and white photos, and took some very artsy shots with lots of varied depth of field and shading) and sketching. The sketches were done with pencil, charcoal, and conte crayons. No different from most budding art students, it was particularly challenging to capture the human eyes and mouth. For practice, I drew a number of self-portraits of my reflection.

One of the sketches from that time was a drawing of a young woman from the waist up, with curly hair and a rather serious expression.
It and all the rest got put away and pretty much forgotten not long after being produced.
Last year, looking through some stuff, I found the collection and realized that the young woman’s eyes, nose and mouth were mine, from those studies I had done over and over, while the hair and body was that of a woman whose shape and size were not that of my body twenty-five years ago, but not unlike my body now. Unconsciously, I had drawn a self-portrait of Halle at about thirty years of age.
Starting this blog, wanting to give readers an idea whose words they were reading, it made sense to scan and crop my sketch. My intention at that time was to replace it as soon as there was a decent photo of Halle available for general publication, as so many of you have done.
Now comes the true confessions part. There will likely never be a photo of me here, because this pencil sketch has become more important to me than a simple device for readers. I look at that face daily. I take in that attitude, and into those eyes looking into a future she never lived, and she challenges me to aspire to be more than I was yesterday. It must sound very weird, yet I try each day, now, to live up to the expectations that the artist (an earlier me) put into that fictional lady so long ago. He would have denied up and down that this was a self-portrait; it was just the best image he could make at the time.
If you have looked around here, you know that these are letters sent to my younger self. My younger self seems to have reciprocated.
How is it possible that I could create my own role model that far in the past, for a time I never knew would come?
Every one of us is a miracle, you know. Do not underestimate yourself, or the capabilities of the human mind.


  1. WoW! I really got that. I needs be careful here, as I have just arrived, but what you see in those eyes IS you. It is you from the past. And yes. There was a challenge there. You apparently chose NOT to accept that challenge and instead put the drawing back into some drawer. That drawing has seemingly re emerged to again look you in the eye.
    Personally, I would think long and hard before taking up THAT particular gauntlet. Some stones are best left unturned.

  2. Well Anne, if I noticed anything at all back then, I really ignored it well, but now, you are so right about wondering what sort of road she challenges me to travel.

    Thanks for the perceptive comment.

  3. Halle,

    Thanks for opening up about the sketch ... I was wondering and now I think I understand. We all have an image of our true selves and most are fuzzy. Your's has been refined. Better than a photo which only shows the best we can do at the moment, you have a portrait of who you are becoming and I don't think there's any turning back. Embrace the dream.


  4. I just happened on this. I've always know the sketch was the true you: I didn't imagine the story behind it though. Thank you. To me, this is sharing something much more personal than a photograph. You've share your soul. Never doubt your bravery.

    1. I know you and I share this. It might seem easy to put your heart out for display. It is very risky business, but the rewards compensate us. In the end it has become the only way for me to relate meaningfully. That lady is me.