When I moved to Portland 4 1/2 years ago, I moved into a Craftsman house not too far from where I currently live with my old boyfriend Matt, and a guy named Nick who went to the same college as us, but who we had not known there. The house was cold and drafty and we didn’t own enough furniture to fill it. But we tried, and we had some fun there. I remember one night we were going to see a trendy DJ at a trendy club and Nick and Matt both wore my clothes as costumes and we got home late and drunk and tired and made grilled cheeses in the yellow kitchen.
Around March Nick left to go to Alaska for a seasonal job training sled dogs and Matt and I gave his room to an Israeli named Yoav. Yoav was a force. Someone once described him as, “the only genius I’ve known in real life.” with Yoav came a lot of movement in the house: meditation in the yard, an endless stream of travelers and otherwise transient people looking to smoke something and talk. Or play music.
It was overwhelming to me and, though it took awhile, I moved out. I call that year the worst year of my life for reasons not totally related to happiness. I was much, much less happy In high school, but here I felt like fundamentally my needs were not being met. I didn’t even know what those needs were.
I moved and almost immediately I started putting paint on things. I realized pretty quickly how important that kind of thing is to me. Basically everything I made that summer was complete crap. I bought all these bowls and vases from thrift stores and painted little terrible scenes on them. I bought a blue plastic bowl from Fred Meyer and painted dog paws all over it. Why did I do that? I didn’t have a dog. That bowl felt so embarrassing. One thing, though, was a tall, clear bottle onto which I painted tiny dots. I love it and it has been in all my houses. It is a show-level trinket. When I look at it I feel love for young, silly Britt who was so earnest and hopeful and who continued making crappy art, knowing full well that it was crappy, but also knowing that one day it would be less so.