The Gallery of Self

Keyukemi Ubi
6 min readNov 12, 2023

Hi, welcome to the show.

Today, I will take you through the corridors of Self (-Loathing). You shall bear witness to many shades of colour weaved beautifully to tell stories that may or may not entertain. You might feel some things, of course, that is the intention. We shall be all shades of angry, sad, pathetic and loathsome…and I, Who am I?

A blurry picture of the Author, Keyukemi at an Art Exhibition
Your Tour Guide

I will be your worthy and ever-present guide. You will not be lost; I will guide you, show you as much as possible, and tell you as much as I know. I will describe every detail as long as I can find the words.

Sometimes, you may not understand because you can't see the whole picture. I am sorry I will not be able to show you anymore; I didn't paint these pictures on my own, and the aisle we are on is only my side of things. But don't fret, you won't get lost. That's my promise to you.

I will keep it short. I don't want to waste your time. It is precious, after all. No one likes the darkness, although that is the only way to appreciate the light. Meh, but why does it matter? The world is already sad anyway; my predicament can't make it worse than it already is. I am just one person.

Red: The Red Lady

Description: There is a shade of red for every woman — Audrey Hepburn

A picture of the Author, Keyukemi at art exhibition. The picture has been edited to highlight her red jacket amidst the darkness around
The Lady in Red

Sometimes, she underestimates how much hate and resentment she carries. She thinks she is healed and finally above it, and forgiveness has happened. Everything is okay; she is growing and thriving, and then — Bang! A trigger, all the healing walls come tumbling down. Band-aid ripped out, wounds open, gushing and bleeding like it is day one. It is all happening again.

I have talked about this before in One, two, many. Hurt, grief and healing are strange things. Someone recently told me they were Sine waves.

Sometimes, she wishes their paths never crossed and never heard those words or saw those faces and expressions. She says she has forgotten. That the memories have been erased. Depending on the days of the week and the time of the night, she is probably telling the truth. But she is a God-awful liar.

On most days, She does not see them; they are not there, nor do they exist — The septuplets dwarves of hurt she has birthed — Rage, Irritation, Torment, Envy, Disgust, Frustration and Fear. But like matadors and bulls, all it takes is telltale signs of red, and every one of them comes charging in.

Brown- Dirt roads and stains

Description: "Shame keeps us silent, but silence keeps our shame alive.”
— Brené Brown

She knows that the subject and object of these feelings is no one but herself. She is angry, sad, disgusted and pitiful. She wants to blame someone else; she wants them to carry the burden, but she can't. After all, It is her fault.

"What has she done? Why does she carry so much?" you ask.

She accepted less than she deserved. She let herself be trampled on in ways she would never have imagined. She had always swore it would never be her, that she would never be that woman. Oh, but she was. She was silent in the face of her true desires. No! She wasn't brave; she didn't stand up for herself or stand for what she wanted or believed to be right. She forgot what she needed when it truly mattered.

The lady in brown shut her eyes to what was before her for many years. She saw everything but denied the truth. She remained and let herself be consumed by loneliness and denial, masquerading as devotion and affection.

And now she is covered in shame. She knows it is not hers to bear, that she is wearing a garment that is not hers, but no one else is in sight. No one — For millions of miles. All she can see is the dirt roads, thick fog and the stains on her clothes.

Blue: A frosty crown

Description “Sometimes the chill outside mirrors the frost within, and feeling blue becomes a dance with the cold winds of melancholy.” — Unknown

When you look, What do you see?

Make way for the Ice Queen. There shall be no more thawing. No more weeping, wailing or mourning. There is no warmth here. The specialist said she should talk about it. She has done that, but is not enough a salve, or is it a matter of time? How long must she apply this balm? When does it take effect this healing they speak of?

The barrage of emotions is foreign grounds; she has no idea what to do here or how to handle it. In the past, she would melt, cry, and find succour or relief. But she is Ice Queen again, so all she has is brewing pent-up feelings with nowhere to go. She has forsaken warmth; she has forgotten how to melt and cry.

She wants to talk about it. She thinks she should, that it would be healthier. But, oh lord, the embarrassment. Everyone is tired by now, hearing the old, tired story of pain and anguish. They don't say it, but she can see it. She can hear the silent disdain and weariness in their consolations and sympathy.

Anyways, It shouldn't matter anymore; it's been thousands of hours, weeks? Months? Years? It should be over now; she should be whole. Look at her chest. There is no hole; nothing is missing. Now more than ever, she is herself, poised gracefully on her carefully crafted ice throne. She is back in her frosty blue glory.

Grey: A million shades

Description: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” — H.P. Lovecraft

She used to be so sure — so confident. But now she is clothed in the many patches of grey, tending to fear, living scared.

She fears she will repeat the same mistake or maybe do something worse. She is scared she will betray herself again. She felt she was right the first time. She trusted herself, her guts and her ability to do the right thing. She thought she knew all the answers.

Now, she is constantly doubting her choices, intentions, words, desires, actions and inactions. She is poking at it, ripping holes in the fabric of grey shades she has adorned. Miss Greystein doesn't trust her judgement anymore. She doesn't know anymore.

She will run at the first sign of affection. She cannot distinguish between what is genuine and what is a farce. She doesn't trust her eyes or Self, so she cannot bestow trust on others. Now, she will keep running, and when anyone tries to hold her hand, she will pull away, protecting whatever unbroken part of herself is left.

I know what you will say. You will tell her to be kind to herself, to forgive herself and be patient. She doesn't know what this means, and it seems rather lofty. Is she supposed to recite a word of kindness to herself every morning, hug and pat herself on the back for all the pain and hurt she inflicted on herself? Tell me. How does this work again?

Black: The vortex

Black is such a happy colour, darling — Morticia Addams.

And what you see now is what I call the Void.
Nothing. That is what you get. There is nothing for you.

A person is capable of the most incredible kindness and the most heinous evil. It is the curse of the duality of man, and you cannot discern when they will turn on you. It is even harder to identify when you are peeking at them through the blinding colours of love.

The truth is, it is that time of the year again; the horrors are back, and sleep has again gone into hiding. And when I can get a hold of sleep, he brings the boogeyman along with him.

I am not sorry for taking you through this aisle; after all, misery loves company…

Your tour guide,
with love always,
Keyu 🖤

Ps: A song

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