Learning to speak without words

Abraham Villarreal
2 min readNov 3, 2017


Lately, I’ve been learning to write without words. There is so much you can say without putting pen to paper, and I’ve been doing it in the form of art.

An empty canvas can be so liberating. When I found myself staring at one, a rush of thoughts came to mind. Why is this happening to me? Why can’t these problems be solved?

Why can’t things be like they always were?

Because I couldn’t find the answers that set me at peace, I turned to a paintbrush, acrylics, and an empty canvas. It was the only way I could speak my mind.

Writing has always been my favorite past time, and I’ve made it a goal each week to say something to you all that’s positive. Something that will bring a smile to your face, a memory of your childhood, a warm thought of a friend or loved one.

So today’s commentary is the most difficult, and most delayed one I’ve ever confronted. And I’ve come to this point because art freed me to be here.

When I first learned that my parents were getting a divorce, I suddenly became a kid again. That kid you see in the corner with a world of pain all over his face. You don’t know how to comfort him because you can’t.

I felt like the kid whose world became fractured. Home wasn’t home. Those family pictures you remember seeing felt like they fell off the wall. They became broken pieces and no matter how hard you tried; nothing could put them back together again.

Today, I’m realizing that life is forever changed, and it hurts.

Emotions are so hard to explain and even harder to share. We never want to admit that we are down, and I was holding on to a false pretense that this part of my life was perfect, but nothing is for anyone.

I couldn’t write and tell you this before because you deserve to wake up and read something uplifting. You should be empowered to be better through the written word. That’s why I turned to paint.

Overnight I painted oceans, trees, galaxies, hearts, roses, and thorns. Abstract and real, the paintings became a new way to learn to speak without words.

And as liberating as this new medium became for me, writing this to you today is even more freeing.

There are lessons learned in all of life’s twists and turns. I’m learning that honesty and openness among loved ones, no matter how challenging they may seem at the time, are always the better options.

Life is tough. Loving is good. Crying is ok. Forgiving is necessary.



Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.