Life and Art

Art can seem like a tragic thing when you think about what tends to inspire it. On the other hand, turning a handicap into an advantage would be a great thing. That’s what art gives us the power to do.

Traumatic incidents and the feelings associated with them tend to be the inspiration for some of the best artwork. Traumatic incidents and periods of semi-consciousness are part of life, but their effects can be crippling. I’ve discovered that these blackout moments will end up taking on personalities when they become connected with any kind of abuse. The people who you found the cruelest will become as if they were the actual moments of trauma from previous experience. This is where we are said to have demons.

Unfortunately my personal experience with trauma, abuse, and the resulting mental illness has been pretty deep. Ultimately, it’s a vicious cycle that seems impossible to get out of once you find yourself in it. The bad stuff goes in, and it ends up coming out one way or another. You find yourself setting yourself up to be mistreated. Perhaps you’ve even lost your self esteem. When someone who is supposed to care about you spends enough time and energy berating you, this is liable to happen. A kid without self esteem is like a cat without claws.

Life, at least in one aspect, seems like a giant game of hot potato when it comes to trauma and abuse. We externalize our trauma when we abuse others. This provides a release. In the same way we project our undesirable traits onto others so we can safely condemn them, others can also find their way into our heads. Abusive people will prey upon the weakest quality they can find. They love to hit where it hurts most, and they desperately want to make a horrible impression that lasts forever. Maybe that’s part of the reason artists become artists: that need to show society what it really doesn’t want to know about itself. It’s no wonder society appreciates artists so much.