Five Paintings to Put In Front of Your Face When Your Words Evaporate In a Cloud of Self-Doubt

by a contributor

from Susan Rukeyser, author of Just like Lily:

  1. The Broken Column, Frida Kahlo. It’s possible you won’t see your strength until your vision is cleared by tears. Let ’em fall.
  2. The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli. Depression wants your unconditional surrender. Like any nightmare, it draws strength from shame. Call it by name, out loud.
  3. Any of the Olive Trees series, Vincent van Gogh. The world vibrates with light. See it. Let it absorb you. You’re part of this. You’re essential as a tree, dirt, the sun.
  4. Black Iris, Georgia O’Keeffe. Look closely. Shift your perspective. Stay open to uncomfortable ideas. You’ll never go wrong, celebrating a flower or the female.
  5. Proserpine, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Some mistakes can’t be undone, but never forget: your mother loves you. Why not call her right now? You know how she worries.