I Love Hate You

Roughly four years ago I made this painting. I still know every word that is on it. This painting has been with me to every house that I moved to.

I Love Hate You

Beginning in Leeuwarden in 2013, the canvas was still empty. I may have done some experimental painting on it, but I made the first real painting after a strange experience. That year I was struggling with myself more than ever. So many dark thoughts and feelings came up, that I often had to go outside to walk and breathe. One winter night I decided to walk into the dark meadows, to a small path away from the city and near some farms. It was pitch-black when all of a sudden I saw a white figure running towards me. It jumped up at me and I realised it was a beautiful, huge white dog. I kept walking and the dog walked next to me. I walked until I reached two girls walking their small dog. I told them I didn’t know who’s dog this was. They took him with them to find his owner. They had never seen this dog before in this area, and knew he was not from the farm nearby. This was such a special experience, it was mystical, peaceful and strange at the same time. Back then I was very much into Christianity, so it felt like Jesus was walking with me that night in the form of a white dog. Inspired by this experience I made my first painting. It was a black painting with stars in the sky and a white figure.

After that, I may have painted several times over it. But the second big painting, and also the last, was the I Love Hate You – painting. Being back home with my parents in 2014 sturred a lot of feelings inside of me. Wanting to express my feelings in a creative way, I decided to put my hand in red paint and slam it on the canvas. Then, I wrote ‘I love you’ in red painting. But I hated those words, I could not say them to myself. So I crossed it out and wrote ‘Hate’ instead. Over the next several days I kept adding things to the painting. A few drawings, but mostly words that had been said to me, words that I had said to myself and words that I believed about myself. Releasing these words onto canvas was scary and and the same time a huge relief.

After that, I didn’t want to paint over it anymore. I took this painting to every house I moved to for the next four years, always hiding it a little bit for most people, while some would see it and others I showed it to. And now it is here with me, while all my other stuff is gone. I have my backpack and will leave today. But the painting is still here, and I don’t know what to do with it. I love looking at it. I love the words, the pain, the journey, the place I come from. It no longer scares me to show it to others. I was afraid that people would feel sorry for me, look down on me and see me as less. Now I don’t care. The words do not define me, even though sometimes I feel like they are true.

I do not want to destroy it, because I want everything on it to be allowed to be there. But, I do not yet know where it will go.