The online world is full of happy moments. A view of lives that look idyllic and happy. But there are all the other moments as well. Sad ones, fragile one’s, less-than-confident ones. And what happens to those? They are less often shared. They make us feel exposed and messy, and can make us look and feel as though we are not coping, and that can feel very uncomfortable.
When my uglier bits surface, the raw parts of myself that I would rather not look at, sharing them actually helps me feel much more connected (and this lesson took me a long time to learn). And I feel the same when someone shares theirs with me. I feel entrusted with their heart.
So where do people hide their meltdown moments? Where does vulnerability surface?
The world certainly needs more authentic expression, and it is in art that we find it. Art is where emotions, sensations and memories surface. As acting coach Bernard Hiller says “Be the artist, and make your soul visible to the world.”
As an artist I pour all parts of myself into my work (details of my upcoming exhibition coming soon). It is a relief not to have to use language to translate complex feelings. Sometimes what I am trying to say cannot be neatly summed up with words. So instead I create images that are layered and express many things at once, and that is satisfying.
Making art is a way for me to reflect on life’s complexities. Choosing to share my art however comes from the desire to connect with others. When my work resonates with a viewer I feel understood, as though we share, or at least appreciate similar things. There is a sense that my experience of life speaks to theirs.
So, if you feel as though you are drowning in the photogenic moments of other people lives, let art guide you back to yourself. Watch a film, look at an artwork, read a book or listen to a song that resonates in your soul, and know that someone understands you.
(Image: detail of ‘Guidance’ by Michelle Seelig)