After my last post, and in an effort to believe in my art more fully, I’ve decided to attach a link to my current art pieces. Please do not see this as an attempt to sell my pieces. I would really like to share a part of what makes me happy. It is still difficult to see my work and try not to compare it to truly talented artists. I am still working on being able to appreciate my art alongside others’ pieces. All of my insecure being is saying DON’T PUBLISH!! I think there is comfort in being anonymous especially when my work is attached. Then if people don’t like it, it really can’t be connected to me personally. Anyway, enjoy or don’t. There’s really nothing to fear anymore.
If you do enjoy my art, thank you for taking the time to look.
I am a jealous artist. If I was a “real” artist I would never claim to be one…or so I’ve been told. I am a jealous artist. I feel unseen and after walking to the ledge my mind demands approval.
I started painting because I loved art. I still love art now, but things are somehow different. Now that it is my hand trying to recreate the myths of reality, my hand carving a canvas with memories, the relationship has become pain and shame. Pain that my hand can never keep up with my eyes. Shame that I even spoke up about it at all. I wouldn’t have to have any great works if I never claimed this role. Hmmm, something feels off about calling a hobby a role. Since when did anything exciting become mandatory? If I gave it up forever than two versions of myself would suffer: the one with a natural love and the one that capitalism created.
Capitalism watered me among rays of competition and a poverty mindset. If they succeed then I cannot. This thought is ridiculous and I get that, but my mind cannot rip out the roots no matter how aware I am of it. Rather than celebrate those who see the world and wish to shape it with creativity as partners in crime, I’ve been taught to strike them while they are low. Make sure to get ahead! In this dog-eat-dog world, you only have yourself to trust…and blame.
But is this true? I’d like to believe that even my seven year old self would be able to smell something fishy about this concept. If all we can trust is ourselves, then how do we treat the same person when things do not go according to plan? I am not a gladiator. I do not fight to the death unless someone is stealing my pizza. I want to be better and do better than what capitalism taught me. How can I unlearn that monetizing my hobbies is the best use of my time? How can I unlearn that only the ruthless survive? How can I open my mouth and express the discontent of these teachings in the hopes that others are able to wake up and walk alongside me?
The answers seem limitless and unattainable at the same time. They seem large, yet simple. The only action I feel comfortable pursuing is the act of trying. I can try (not my best), but with intentionality. Act because there is a purpose guided by mindfulness and a spirit of health. I doesn’t feel good to be trapped in a merry go round of creative death. In a path less taken, I want to see more.
I feel an emptiness
The flowers are out, the garden dry
And I am worrying about the emptiness within me
Is is selfish to wonder?
Am I selfish to wish to see my smiling face in the mirror?
Maybe I’m the most generous person in the world
I could be doing all of this to make your day better
I don’t want to make it any harder
Or give any reason for you to hate me
My existence can cause me trouble
But I’ll be damned if it inconveniences your life
Maybe I’m strong for getting up in the morning
On days when I say nothing matters
On days when I honestly don’t give a damn
Can it be brave if all I did was walk outside?
It’s too late to put proper pants on but maybe I can open the blinds
It’s too late to have a long phone conversation, but maybe I can hug my cozy companion
It won’t always be too late
It can’t always be this hard
Because change is constant
I can trust that the situation will always continue to morph like a butterfly trapped in metamorphosis
The dark thin wings
The flutter to stay alive
In awe of the eternal
As Mary Oliver’s poem “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches” was read aloud, her perceived cadence and tenderness was displayed. Her words remain tender and gentle as they challenged the reader to acknowledge honesty within its being. Viewing the world as entertainment is a novice yet culturally-relevant perspective for many in the Western world. We spend our lives as observers. Look how we document our triumphs and heartbreak but on social media systems to produce a semblance of human connection. Our connection becomes artificial, cold and yet we wonder why we all cry out in existential crises. Where is the meaning, we say. Where is the purpose? A large world of social beings screaming from a lack of social connection. Forget social, grieve for the lack of spiritual connection that exists in our world. How sad it must seem for our man-made systems to be so backward. Mary Oliver describes our crises as missions. Our busy bodies are kept in movement as we look for our souls. Souls that are boundless are lost. They have traveled far without their keepers to watch over them. Can we be angry at the flower that left in search of water?
I watched a Ted talk today about suicide. I had typed ‘existential’ into the search bar looking for something that could bring insight into whatever crisis I am currently experiencing.
It’s interesting when people talk about suicide, all of a sudden thoughts no longer focus on yourself. I think of the people that aid in preventing suicide or those who have lost loved ones to the tragic act. Depression can make our brains so focused on the iron-hot pain that we are not able to stop and look outwardly. We cannot look out at all those who genuinely love us. Instead, we believe depression when it puts us down. Tells us to stop trying. Tells us there is not enough strength or power in the world to make it better.
I bring this up to say that sometimes it is really hard. Some days are better than others. Some days life seems worth experiencing because what would happen to our dreams if we never let them free? If we never let our younger selves rejoice in our accomplishments and relationships made, then what was the point of dreaming it in the first place?
But on the gray days, I see a world of hate and people who are more than happy to spread it. I see death, hurt and anger as it spreads like a filth among humanity. On these days, I am not sure what constitutes enough. On these days, I ask myself how we can possibly come back from it. On these days, I want to give up. For the selfish act of pain management. And if we are truly extinct after our last breath then do the consequences truly matter? Though I do believe there is somewhere to go after we die, how easy it could be to just believe in nothing.
I acknowledge that these thoughts may be triggering and my intention in sharing is to voice the normality in which these thoughts occur. It frightens me that I could be having lunch with friends, have one thought and immediately dive into something darker. It feels like my brain has been hijacked and I am only hoping that the soul inside can hold on until the sun comes out. I don’t know where to go from this, only to grip tight and wait for the light so that I may rest. Unfortunately, I know that depression is a cycle. Hopefully one day I can have a better response when it comes back around. A response that tells it to go to hell.
I’m sure there is a piece of my depression that deserves comfort and understanding, but I am not there yet.