“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
"If only you'd have know me, before the accident.
For with that grand collision, came a grave consequence.
Receptors overloaded, they bust and disconnect,
'til there is little feeling. Please work with what is left."
-Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie)
It's an excellent quote. However, I don't think I have looked fear in the face, but I have lived through this horror and I have created a Heart Warrior. I had been working on some Art like this piece to help me through the rough time. To express how I feel in a constructive way, instead of just burning their house down, which would be bad, but equally satisfying.
However, I feel very conflicted this past week in light of Historic events. Ill get into that in a bit. the context
is important (I promise.)
I had thought I was doing quite well recovering from the emotional manipulated Destruction of Pompeii my Ex put me through this past 6 months: Constantly sucking me back in with kindness and promises of "we'll work it all out" only to break up with me all over again so I could not fully recover from the blow as he kept knocking me down by emotionally manipulating me, the situation and the ways in which we communicated with each other. It was a trick, a cruel one that he used to punish me. It's really made me
think of how much of a Monster that makes him. It also makes me question what kind of person does that, really. It's a pretty cruel thing to do, especially when all I wanted was to actually work things out, to find a solution and work through the problems. But he blocked any sort of progress or possibility for that. There are really only two kinds of people in this world: Problem Identifiers and Problem Solvers. B (my Ex) certainly is not the sort that likes to Solve Problems, only make them worse or make more problems.
In any case, Heart Warrior, was a piece that I began well over a year ago. As you all know I participate in the Illustration Friday weekly inspiration illustrations from time to time. Well around the end of April (2014) they posted a topic "Survivor." B and I had just started fighting more than we have ever fought at the beginning of that month. I moved out of our bedroom and into the upstairs (my studio at that time) and he did not speak to me for about a month. It was a very rough time, obviously, and affected my ability to work on art or to really do anything. Until finally I forced myself to do something and a week before IF Friday posted Survivor they posted Natural.
So a week later, IF Friday posts Survivor and I have the idea for the piece I completed today. I just was not strong enough emotionally at the time to complete it. I sketched it out kinda sorta.
I had a vision of a Heart (the muscle not the icon) walking strongly down a road in the middle of a desert. He'd be covered in stitches and scars, implying he had been torn and ripped to shreds but slowly pieced and stitched and pulled back together again. He's on the road, a Survivor of cataclysmic or apocalyptic events.
I wanted it to feel like a Mad Max or Resident Evil (3) sort of Universe, where the land is barren and devoid of green or nourishment of any kind. I based his clothes and weapons off concept art for both of those films. He looks very worn and torn which is how I have felt. It felt very apocalyptic and war barren.
There is a beautiful Japanese philosophy called Kintsugi. When things break into pieces, they are mended back with gold. They believe that you should honor the history of the object. That all it's experiences are important and should not be hidden or forgotten. It is what makes the object beautiful. I love the sentiment and have thought about it a lot recently. It's the reason I pulled this idea back out of the morgue and began working on it again. I knew that I could finish the piece and really needed to for myself. So I drew this little Heart Man and showed all of the scars and places where he had to be pieced back together. It's important to show fragility and weakness sometimes other wise the display of strength that comes after doesn't have the same impact or importance. I have planned a few pieces that relate to this philosophy in the context of my recent breakup as a therapy for myself. I am channeling strength from the creative ether from this practice, I believe.
That is how I felt then and certainly how I am feeling about it now after being dragged through possibly the worst 6 months I have ever experienced at one person's hand. I made a decision around that time that I shouldn't sacrifice what I wanted to do with my life for someone who could treat me as if I meant nothing to them and make me believe that they didn't. What purpose does it serve to make someone you care about feel that way, anyway? It was then that I decided that I would move to NYC and continue to pursue a career in Illustration. Which I am working on doing this year (making it happen).
Thus far things are falling into place and I feel, now, far enough removed from this messy and nasty breakup that he put us through to move forward with my plans unencumbered by an emotional tie to him. This sentiment has been driving the car, so to speak, ever since and I have been creating art that would allow me to vent out my frustration and anger about these past 6 months. Until... Marriage Equality is made legal last Friday with the ruling of the Supreme Court.
You can't keep from getting your heart shredded and stomped on but you can choose what you'll do next. I chose to stitch this little heart back together, nurse it back to health with a lot of liquor among other vices and get him back on his feet, armed to the teeth, on the road and ready for whatever is coming next in life. It's a great unfortunate truth that my Ex will not allow us to be amicable and that he chooses to behave in very immature and nasty ways that hurt us both instead of trying to be part of the solution. I ran across something Deborah Reber (young adult fiction writer) had said about breakups, “Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” I can't control how he has chosen to act, but I can choose how I live my life and what I am going to do with it. I hate that he made me choose between him and advancing my career as opposed to trying to find a way to stay together and accomplish my goals as well. But, it has made me realize that the "team" he always talked about just meant "Team B" and not "Team B&L" It's obvious my needs and what is important to my life are not important to him unless it's convenient for him and he doesn't have to sacrifice anything or be challenged in anyway. It's sad because that's how relationships grow and become stronger. So for better or for worse and because he chose to set up the parameters of the situation this way, his string gets cut and he gets let go. Ultimatums instead of Solutions is such a terrible way to be.
But, I guess that's just my opinion.
So all stitched up with scars and all, I track my way through the rest of this year until I will move to NYC at the end of this year. I will miss all my friends here but am VERY READY to Start my new life in NY. A fresh start and a new sunrise to shine on my face, scars and all.
until next time, friends...
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art.