16x20 Framed. For Ashley F.
I remember back at Bikram Yoga Green Valley how often you would practice in front of me. Front right, because you always got there early. I was always late, in Hell's Corner by the second door. You had the strongest practice. I remember you started a thirty-day challenge, then pushing it to sixty, and after that ninety days of Bikram Yoga in a row. Specifically, I remember how when you started, you could barely kick out your foot in head to knee, but after that 90 days straight you could kick out, hold it, and put your forehead to your knee. I was amazed. I wondered how many classes it would take me to be able to do that. (Update, 9 years later I still can’t hold my head to my knee but hey. I do my best. I can kick my foot out, hold it for three seconds, and fall out. :)
Thank you for always being so nice to me. I always felt like you lived this very large and fascinating Las Vegas kind of life. You go to all of the nice things, appreciate good food, and know-how to photograph it. Once someone told me I should ditch my serving job and try to get into PR. I didn’t actually even know what PR meant until I started seeing what you do.
I know you love the Golden Knights and I understand that it is because of the way they gave you hope, and excitement, and pride, and something to look forward to - during a year where that might have been the last possible kinds of things you would be feeling. Not only did they uplift you - they elevated the entire city of Las Vegas. Your love and loyalty to them shine so brightly. That sparkling loyalty and radiant love is exactly what you are. It is all that I see.
Because of what you share and how you share it I donate blood every 8 weeks. The people even know me now “Ah your weird white tattoo on your wrist. We remember you.” Having lost my job with Covid I now work only with myself, my headphones, and my dachshunds. I don’t hear work banter anymore. As I sat there hooked up the blood machine I really genuinely enjoyed just hearing the people all go back and forth as they did their jobs. I also love the cheez-its and mini Oreos. You’ve brought me examples of strength, yoga, PR, beautiful bulldogs, and free snacks.
I was reading about how you would be back at the hospital for 35 days. Your brave face makes me more brave. Your resilience gives me resilience. There is so much that you illuminate. You are the true gold. The heart and soul.
I wanted to paint you this so that I could tell you that the adversity that you’ve been through isn’t your identity. It’s a part of you, yes, but it isn’t you. I wanted to send you illumination for the days when you are feeling so sick. When you just want your old life back. When you just want to go the fuck home. When you just want it to end.
Because I am with you the most during those moments. I will try to be some extra light that catches your eye, that pulls you through. I hope that this painting will remind you of the light that so many hold with love for you, always. This painting is messy and unorganized but it is the most gold. She is true gold. She is the girl in the front row kicking out with her forehead to her knee. She is the embodiment of your power, to me, forever.