To my way of thinking though, there is a far worse imprisonment than the locked cell door. It is the prison in my own head. That is the place that has caused me the most heartache in my life. It is in my head that the main battles have been fought. And there is nothing to kick against in there. Only my own contradictory thought processes. It can be an interminably long sentence to endure, but with luck, and a bit of self knowledge it can be got through.
The key that kept me unhappy for so long, was the one that got stuck in the lock early in my life. The key that jammed the door marked 'relationships'. I wanted to be loved, and to love in return, and I made many attempts at seeking that pleasant state. I did love. I used to fall in love easily. In fact I was likely to fall in love with any woman who showed even the slightest interest in me. Sadly though all my relationships failed. Some lasted longer than others. Mainly down to the understanding women involved. But I always knew that they were doomed to failure. Although it took me years and years to finally accept that it was my fault.
I do not trust. That is my problem. If you say you love me, the words are magic and please me greatly. But why would you love me? I would like to believe you. But I don't. I know that you will give up on me sooner rather than later. I keep telling you that. If I repeat it often enough, when the sad day arrives as I know it will. Then I can rightly tell you, as I have been telling you all along: "I told you so."
Today, as I grew ever older, there is still that hope that I will meet someone special. But realistically, it is not going to happen, and honestly I am quietly content with my lot. The prison gates are open now. My mind is free.
This self portrait was painted, soon after yet another relationship had failed. I was lonely and miserable and living on the top floor of a tenement block, in a rundown town. I had no job, no money, and I was cold and hungry. It was, to my way of thinking, far worse than any prison could be. Once again a situation of my own making. When I look at this self portrait I see my life story in it.