where there is culture, the artist sees beauty


an inspirational creative outlet for artists and visual creators focusing on photography and graphic design, as well as appreciating art in culture

lesson II: while you are breaking, you are becoming


The woman I am typing this as, is not the same woman I saw in the mirror six months ago. On the surface, the past year seemed to be accelerating in my favor. I was in a city I loved, figuring out who I wanted to become, educating myself, making memories with those closest to me. There was no looming crisis or drama unfolding. In fact, I had even begun to open my heart again, allowing myself to imagine an alternate reality where my soul didn’t feel so alone. Light surrounded me from all sides. I held the universe in the palm of my tiny hand and watched from above, as the ground shifted to form a glowing path in front of me.

Despite everything, my heart still found a way to ache. There were days where I existed with a dark cloud over my head and a gaping hole in my heart. Pain inside of me that I had spent years suppressing was seeping out, making me cruel and impatient. I spent hours wandering the city streets alone, demanding that the world continue to work in my favor as it had before. When it didn’t? I would scream at the sky and blame my misfortune on those around me. I would drink or smoke until I was numb, trying to avoid the inevitable. I did not want to self-destruct. Why couldn’t I continue on as I always had, storing all the loneliness I felt in a box at the back of my mind, surviving as a happy, carefree soul? Why did my demons suddenly banish me to my room, chain me to the left side of my bed, and force me to confront the parts of myself that I hated?

They teach you in school about evolution - how we do not just appear, but mature and develop, in order emerge as revised versions of our own species. They tell you that the cocoon continues to grow and shed, revealing a being that has caged itself off from the volatility of everyday life in order to utterly transform. What they forget to emphasize, is that evolution only happens after destruction. You cannot allow your soul to breathe in a body that is deteriorating. Eventually the past will catch up with you, forcing you to confront the demons you tried so hard to outrun. You will not grow until you are uncomfortable, and sometimes this requires burning your past self to the ground and never looking back.

It is still difficult to admit that a part of me ever broke - if you ask me about this in person, I might brush it off, saying it was all ‘for the art.’ But it wasn’t. I confronted my ego and let go of my pride. My past self was someone everyone thought had uncanny mental strength, because I never showed any weakness. This was not strength - it was avoidance of every emotion I chose not to deal with. I spent years evading what I thought might hurt me, and abandoning people who needed me most, out of selfish attempts to save my own soul. What brought me peace was finally allowing myself to feel everything. I felt hurt and loss, loneliness and pain, that had built up for years. I felt all the kindness I wanted to show to those closest to me, and the most heart wrenching guilt for how I had treated them while I suffered in silence. I learned that unconditional love is selfless - it will ask you to give everything up and expect nothing in return. You can try to hide from it, outrun it, drown it in liquor, but ‘feeling’ does not make you weak; it makes you human, and it allows you to grow. My old soul is buried somewhere in the ground, pretending not to mourn, with a fake smile on her face. I don’t know her anymore and I feel free.

Hope you’re all enjoying this introspective series… lesson 3 coming Friday 5/24.