Friday, August 24, 2012

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

This is my latest piece, another tree that has a beautiful little antique frame waiting for it.  It’s going to be a fall tree with fall approaching.  This year has just flown by at such a pace it’s amazing that yet another season has passed and a new one is approaching much too quickly. 

I am an artist, it is who I am today and who I was at the beginning of the year but it is nice to finally be free enough both physically and mentally to just throw myself into my work and the upcoming holiday season.  Yes the upcoming holiday season when the leaves will fall off the trees and snow will fall (perhaps, last year it didn’t).   I think sometimes when we are artists we expect that life will be perfect and we will figure out the meaning of life and how to pay for it.  Sometimes the gray or even black zones take over and we find ourselves swimming upstream against a strong current without even the oar of an embroidery needle handy.  That’s where I was for much of the year, while I was blogging and waxing metaphorically about being an artist I was a hair away from Vincent Van Gogh (I did manage to keep both my ears though). 
Depression for whatever reason is a malady that no one wants to talk about, a secret that must be hidden from the masses hence the happy inspiring work of a hand embroidery artist with dark doors surrounded by light become a silent prayer for one’s own sanity to return.  Interpersonal relationships left me deeply entrenched behind the dark doors to my own mind only to erupt in the most heartbreaking of ways.  I spent a week on the behavioral unit at Glens Falls Hospital. 
But as I look back at the week on the behavioral unit I see that I am a lucky soul.  I have had one of the most meditative relaxing mediums at my disposal every single day, other artists and ordinary people are not so lucky.  The madness becomes overwhelming, they end up in places they cannot comprehend drugged, scared and primally screaming.  I guess it is a drawback to being creative that when light is present we are wonderfully productive and wonderfully inspired but when darkness is present we try very hard to keep it hidden and keep our ears on our heads.  Many artists deal with depression and frankly who does want to see a piece of art that depicts the anger, hatred and downright toxicity of a marriage gone bad.  I guess a writer or a song writer can do more justice to heartbreak then yet another broken heart or even worse a hand embroidered picture of a woman screaming.  No one likes the ugly picture of a woman screaming or a man for that matter.

But then again I’m lucky, my week on the behavioral unit was a week in which I met an amazing bunch of people who life has not been kind to, it made me realize just how fortunate I am that one week will probably be my only week, the final straw that made me move forward and out of the prison I had put myself in.  It made me realize that for some people behavioral units are a revolving door of drugs, containment and horrors that they will never escape for very long and that even ordinary kind of eccentric hand embroidery artists can lose themselves and find themselves in one short week(or several).  It showed me that even people who have lost everything still are valuable members of society and deserve our admiration and prayers for they may not be far from their next behavioral unit but they are strong and resolute and among the living and that too is a gift that many an artist or ordinary person no longer had the strength to endure.  So bless them and I hope the lovely people stripped of everything except their hearts of gold will endure and find peace and hope and happiness in the rest of this life or the life that lives beyond.

Thank you to all the artists, writers, musicians and therapists who find a way every day to guide us to the light beyond  the dark doors and inspire us to make beautiful uplifting art instead of women screaming.  Your gifts that come from your darkness shine a light for the rest of us when we find darkness.  If you are an artist and you feel you can’t go on another day, please find a way or find the nice soft fall of a behavioral unit where they make sure you are fed, that you sleep, that you are clothed and showered, that you are medicated if you need it and finally that you are alive.  Who knows what masterpiece lies in you waiting to be discovered?

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