I learned the day that I was hurt, the day that I cried myself to sleep and woke up crying that emotions is like an internal black hole sucking the life out of me.
It wasn’t fun! I was on my senior year of college and focus is an absolute must. Instead I find myself crying over a giant loss on my final and biggest competition as a collegiate athlete and a broken heart. Yes that’s how I ended my college life. I wished it was easy for me to simply shrug everything off.
No I was not like that. I was the type of person who embraces her emotions. I acknowledged the joy, the pain, the love, the anger and the grief that I feel. I cry if I must and I laugh when I should—and whenever I feel, I write, I draw, I express myself through art.
That day I woke up crying and unable to get out of bed to face the beautiful morning which felt like the post-apocalyptic era where everything is dead and all hope is gone, I wondered, if I had been the type of person who just ignores, who just hides her feelings, who just dismisses her emotions to avoid having my feeling etched deeper into my heart, my soul and my mind, could it have been easier?
Was it supposed to be easy, had I not felt the way I did? If I didn’t feel the need to be friends with the people around me, to impress the people I admired, to fall in love with a man who clearly did not feel the same way about me twice, could it have been easy?
I was, or at least I’d like to believe that I still am, a passionate person. My emotions drive me to do my best, to give it all. Whenever I step on the mats a crazy scenario enters my mind. That person in front of me is the enemy. If I don’t defeat her, the evil empire will take over the world. I am the heroin in the story. Of course that scenario will fade as soon as the match is over. But that’s how I worked. That’s how I studied, that’s how I came up with stories and how I express myself through art.
But one day, when everything is too much, when I had no idea what to do with all the pain and grief, I just decided to turn everything off, keep my guards up and hide behind the Wall of Castle Black. Keep the Others away, and swear that I am the Night’s Watch and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife… wait.
Okay we’re getting off topic.
Basically I just turned off the feelings and when I start to feel which is sometimes I could not help, I convince myself not to get attached, don’t trust them, don’t tell them anything about yourself.
It’s been pretty lonely. For six years, yes I haven’t had any strong emotion for any one. It didn’t hurt but I didn’t feel anything either.
And then the writing stopped, and so did judo and art.
Sometimes I try to write but midway I stop. I just couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do next.
Recently, when I was clearing my room, I dug up my old stuff from high school and college. It was a habit, to carry a small notebook where I can write and sketch whenever I feel like it. I also found my old essays from creative writing classes. My professor told me I had a distinct voice in writing and that my short stories were beautiful. My art professor told me that he can tell in my art if I was inspired or not. All of these good pieces were inspired by a very emotional event or a person who caused me to feel raw, jumbled, confusing emotions and the only way for me to express them is through art.
I wanted to write again. I wanted to paint again. I wanted to freely express myself again.
And so I did it. I finally faced the dark shadow behind me and lit a bright light. No more hiding. I let myself feel and admit that I was happy, I was hurt, I still cared and I still loved.
And I cried, and I wrote and I laughed, and I painted. I found my voice again. And I felt light, as I carried a much lighter past.
And I am much older now, much wiser, but my heart and my mind will be forever young.
Art is an expression. Neil Gaiman said “make good art”. When you stumble or when you fall, make good art.
So that’s what I will do. I will feel and I will make good art with it.