Family Portrait

Painted family portrait sits upon the wall, happy smiling angelic faces, that mask the rot beneath.

Beneath the painted smiles, beneath the mask of oils, another picture lays, cracks painted over with the fine oil cover of the image glaze.

Look deep into the eyes beyond the image masked in oils, and see, and really see, what lays beneath.
Smiling father figure, angelic face of old, hides behind the mask of public face, the darker side to life.

Unseen, forgotten, broken child lays lost alone, it does not understand why love means pain.

Hidden from the colours bright, the public mask of shame, that hangs upon the family wall a picture lays unseen.

Sweet colours of the daily light, paint over broken bone, hide from view blackened eye, painted out of sight.

Behind this world of brighten coloured oil paints, lays the reality of living, of breathing, unwanted, forgotten, lost.

See how the colours merge, to mask what lays beneath, see how empty walls are filled with gloss and glaze, to paper over cracks of what is left unseen, unsaid, undone.

Endless nights of hunger filled empty tears are shed, endless days of lonely agony as one bruise falls, to be replaced by yet one more.

Angelic smiling family faces hanging in the family home, mask the empty walls of unseen childhood dream. Bright painted colours show a happiness the child has never seen, they do not show the pain inside, nor marks upon the soul. They do not show the mothers spit dripping from its face, they do not show the agony of all out war, the dreams like family furniture broken on the floor. They do not show the suffering, the hunger or the pain, they do not show the boot print left upon the skin, from happy smiling fathers face, the anger and the hate.

A captured moment of happy family life, left hanging on the wall, masks the reality of what lays beneath, hides from view, not just the today or here and now, but the years to come. That inability to form deep and meaningful relationships, to stand close and true, that deeper fear of people, of life, that lack of understanding love with out pain.

That happy family picture does not show, that what is to come from broken dreams and damaged body limbs, the years and years ever after, the silent nightmare of never really knowing love, or happy family times, of never seeing any place as home, any place to belong. That picture hides the times from view where growth was stumped, as child stumbles from fist to foot, where hunger stays a constant friend. It masks the ever after, and the ever after that, as years unlike bruises, continue to weep pus, eating away at the mind like a tumour, no one can ever needle out.

It’s not the acts of violence where in the cruelty lays, it’s not even the words that bite and sting much harder than any kick or punch, it’s not the broken window pane through which the head is shoved, all in the name of love. It’s the silent deadly nightmares of the years to come, it’s the lack of feeling for unknown love, it’s the inability to let love in, for as a child love falls at a price of hidden pain, but as an adult, the lack of childhood understanding eats away like acid dissolving  all it touches. It’s never today or tomorrow but the years and years of torment to come, endless pointless relationships, the agony of not being able to touch the most pure, most beautiful, for fear of clumsy damage deep with in, unintentional, but damage still the same.

The years and years to follow, of lonely isolation, devoid of people, devoid of love, devoid of understanding. It’s the nightmares that come in dreams of remembrance, the fear of ever having children of your own, that fear, that you too would cause that pain, not for today or tomorrow but for all eternity, passed on in family blood line, lost and locked in oils.

Reach beneath the surface and really see what lays beneath. See, really see, the darkness of that family life, painted over with smiles of family members, coloured over, by artists eyes, seeing only what it wants to see. Look deep with in the shadows of those happy smiling faces, see the shadow that lays beneath. That shadow that lingers and follows of the real family portrait, that comes for years upon years, that undermines and underpins all that child will ever try to do.

See how the shadow reaches out and grips, in darkness grasp the hands of one that was so innocent, that sought only love. Now see years later as it try’s to form recognition, as it seeks out love with out ever really knowing what to do when it finally captures just an onunce, a small fragment from the great table of life, that feast all bar it are invited to, see how with greedy eyes it devours it, swallows it, clinging on to just that fragment, as if its bitter life itself. See the lack of understanding in its eyes, see the fear as those around draw near, watch how it bolts from the door, another painted image on its face, anything, anything, just to stop them getting close, just to stop the hurt, the pain, that tumor growth.

Look beyond the mask of happy family portrait and see the fear, the deep, dark, fear, dawning as light in the eyes of the innocent, like a bone with in a leg, hidden, unseen, behind this world of the positive lays the very real world of the negative.

All its seeks is love, all it finds is pain.

Look deep into happy family portrait, look deep into the eyes of child hidden deep with in, see the horror, see the pain, feel the hunger as the darkness feasts upon that once pure light. Look deep into the eyes of child, look deep with in my eyes…. see and really see what lays behind the painted image, hanging fine on family wall.

~ by Duma Key on December 19, 2009.

19 Responses to “Family Portrait”

  1. Duma –
    I’m sorry. Sorry you have the wisdom and knowledge and feelings that allow you to write this… but glad that you have the talent, ability, and creative energy to allow you to get it out – and put in in such a way that it can make many think about things that perhaps, they don’t like to think about – but, should.
    Let it out. Keep letting it out. There are those who are listening… and understand… and, in some weird way, this can help all of us.
    Thank you.

  2. I’m looking in a mirror here…

    I shuddered while reading this.

    you are utterly brilliant.

    • Disturbed Stranger….. That saddens me much, life so unfair, cruel and bitter at times, I understand so much how you feel.

      Your comments are an honour from one who writes so well, expresses such thought and emotion in her words.

      Your last post knocked me down, so powerful your words and thoughts… so many times when I read your blog… I long to leave comments!

  3. You’ve touched such a sensitive reality with this writing. What it really is, the truth hurts. What is hidden, we don’t know. Those unuttered words, those quiet sobs that no one hears, the pain masked by ignorance.
    I actually cried while reading this, it is a compelling explanation of what we might not know. Beautiful writing, you have a power with words and this is your gift.

    • Thank you scentedsummer for your thoughts.
      Always what lays beneath the surface, untouched, unseen, but there all the same.
      Memory’s record pain, lost chance, forgotten years, sometimes I have to take these things out, look at them analyse them, then lay them back to rest before, bitterness can set in, consume.

  4. This chills me to my core on such a personal level….I am haunted by your words and the images you chose. I actually don’t know what to say…..

  5. I have read…left…come back….left…and also sat here unsure of my words…as a mother…this tears at my very being…but as dark and horrifying….your blog is a reality for many…I see it in my work…I see and hear of it in the news…and I always will believe that these children that survive will have a special blessing from God for their suffering one day…and their tormentors will perish a horrible demise…but what of their daily lives…? what of their adult lives…how will they ever trust and love?

    I will probably be thought of unrealistic or sappy but I hope…I believe…that someday along their life…they find their voice…somehow they find a way to voice their pain…to become open…and that they will find others that will help them…learn to love…and it is always my personality to be the kind of person that never judges anyone for you never know the road they have taken…and I try very hard to always be open to help be that friend for anyone who ever needs…and for the children that are out there….now….alone and afraid…I try to keep my eyes open…aware…and because I know and have seen up close a few who have suffered…

    I hold my daughter a little closer on some days…I treasure each breath…

    Hugs you very tightly

    • Summerrain, thank you for such kind and deep thoughts.

      It is the ever after that lingers on, not so much the time and place, as hard as it is, but they years to come is where the damage lay, in finding more and more the broken character, the face behind the mask. Never being able to forget, not really understanding and that inability to form deeper relationships and thoughts, to find that fit. Even though forgetting would be easier, never goes away, lays unseen, never quite at rest.

      I don’t understand this world at times, and often I don’t understand people, but through the ages the reality falls and always the innocents left to pick up the pieces.

      Your daughter is lucky to have such a warm light as you in her life.

  6. This hurts to read this, still, I read it all the way. It hurts, really hurts, though I havent been in that place. I watch the children of the past walk through the adults of the present and feel helpless, knowing their pain is something none of us could heal. In their pain, the others, even the ones who might mean well are shut out. In their pain, whatever the other says, is seen from the point of fear and hence makes it more painful…I wish it was different.

  7. Your writing is very intense and as is visible from the comments above enables people to bare their wounds. As Mark Twain said’•Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody”.

  8. Beneath the painted smiles, beneath the mask of oils, another picture lays, cracks painted over with the fine oil cover of the image glaze.

    That paragraph read like poetry.

    Very pretty writing…just made me depressed, is all.

    Hope things are going in a better direction for you.

  9. Your pain is the door… to the love that you are. Every word you write shines with it. I can tell you that for me… pain illuminated the path. I said long ago to God that It/He/She could do whatever was necessary to bring me home. And the love has grown exponentially.

    Om, shanti, shanti. Peace.

  10. Sometimes no faimly is better than any faimly at all. I’ve learned to survive on my own since I was 17. The holidays kind of suck but then again I don’t have to put up with all the BS. But I would rather have a family of my own than spend it with someone elses or the so called faimly that I have. Sometimes “dysfunctional” just doesn’t say it.

  11. I hear you, god I hear you …and I see your eyes, everytime I look in the mirror I see your eyes and everytime you do my own haunted ones stare back. We are still the lost children, it never goes away – even when the memories are locked so tight that we could never visit them again the scars inside still stay. They still take hold everyday in the way we live our loves, always scared, never deserving. Pain that was never wanted, never asked for, is now ours to keep! I see you … everyday I see you!

  12. She walks this earth inside her mind

    Her fear of love has made her blind

    She wears a smile with distant gleam

    But all is well, or so it seems

    She spat at love eternally

    And swears this is the way to be

    This is one thing she feels she can control

    Yet there’s a hollow in her soul

    for which she can’t quite fill the void

    Thus, She walks though life quite paranoid

    That there is something in her being

    That’s lying dormant; unforeseen

    An imagined evil just on the surface

    For which she cleverly keeps in place

    By a trillion thoughts of self reduction

    Repetitive thoughts; causing obstruction

    Of true desire for what can make her feel

    worthy of love, of life, of zeal . . .

    So long these thoughts have tricked her mind

    She scantly remembers there being a time

    When she knew how to live outside of self

    When she felt deserving of being blessed

    She thought she could live this way forever

    But the universe willed her to discover

    The backwards spelling of the dormant evil

    The love she stubbornly won’t allow to spill

    She fears the pain she may evoke

    That take her breath; make her choke

    That pains her more than anything else

    Since her mind’s convinced her she can’t help herself

    So she wears soft shoes that hurt her feet

    As a constant reminder of past retreats

    She has not learned the power of self forgiveness

    For she’s convinced she deserves no blessing

    So love resides in remission; deeply submerged

    For years in dormant; yet soon to be emerged

    Love is pushing its way from inside out

    Though she’s quite successful at keeping Love out

    Each time she feels Love peeking around

    She changes directions to ensure she can’t be found

    Yet, God has other plans for this child, disguised as woman

    LOVE WILL crawl from the hidden place she’s tucked Love in…


    I wrote this for me some time ago, today I’m passing it on to you,,,

    You’re talking; you’re speaking; you’re writing, you’re releasing the pain – You are emerging, my friend! Don’t let the pain remain stagnant within you. Your words are filled with so much pain – pain that must be released, emptied from your soul – continue to emerge, Duma – let 2010 be the year of your rebirth, no matter how hard the labor pains may be!

    Blessings as always, C.

  13. This is so familiar…so very familiar. Facing the darkness of this kind of experience is something that can take a lifetime. It’s something that I struggled with for a long time and being able to come to terms with everything that happened was pretty painful.

    I never link to anything that I’ve written but I would really like to share this with you: How to Challenge Your Darkness (

    It’s not so much about what He did to me but how I handled my abuse and my abuser.

    I wish you peace. (hug)

  14. Duma,

    I want to thank you for your honesty. There have been times in my own life that it was all that I had. I feel comforted by yours, even though I am unable to read all of this post at this time. That may sound a contradiction, but I think you may understand me.

    I see you alive, not empty or dead inside at all. Please never stop writing, living, you are here for a purpose and you are fulfilling it even when you think you cannot find it.
    With much care-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: