My longtime friends might remember that I used to be a very very negative person. It was not on purpose, but I used to always see the glass half empty. I used to be prepared for any bad road something could take (just in case, you know…). Until not these many years ago, I complained about something. I can see it with hindsight now, I must have been one hell of a person to be around (and is probably why I lost everyone in 2003, as friends and family ditched me all at the same time), reaching rock bottom.
I won’t thank them for putting me through Hell. But I understand how they did what was best for them. And you know what? I talk to most of them years after. I did not forget, the hurt is still there, but I forgave…
At 33 years old, going on 34, I have learned to accept this part of me that finds it easier to see everything through a negative lens. I know part of my Essence is made of the same Spleen that filled Baudelaire; but also that it is not the entirety of who I am.
And this is by reaching the bottom that the possibility to rise above appeared.
Yes. When I think about it, I often picture myself in a very deep pool, sinking deeper and deeper… sometimes I see myself just there, at the bottom, in the water… until something shifts and I tap my foot to get above. Rising. I am always rising, eventually. I was talking on the phone with my Mom this morning, about my career choices and she told me: “you’re like me, resilient. And belligerent. I know you will figure it out. I just know it.” and it felt good to hear.
A few years ago (2015?), I decided it was time to invest in myself and to find my people. I was in Hannah Marcotti‘s «Magic Making Circle» class. In this class, Hannah put the emphasis on the art of flipping. You take a negative thought that is bothering you, and then you find a way to switch it to something positive.
This is something I try to teach my daughter. Something I wish I knew how to do when I was a teenager.
It is not easy work. There is no switch you can pull so it magically shifts. But I do believe that the magic resides in the process as much as in the positive outcome.
We hear everywhere that there is no light without darkness. I say a big FUCK IT to this. Yes.
I am a big believer of the power of positive thinking and of wishful thinking. However, don’t tell me my life can change just because I desire it. With experience, I now know that desire without concrete action is nothing but energy put to waste.
How art helps me shift
I will usually take refuge within my art journal. Between the covers, I feel safe to express whatever needs to be addressed. I can do whatever I want without the need to share everything. I let the pain, the hurt, the anxiety go within layers upon layers of paint.
Also, creating my Nixies is a huge relief in general. They are not planned out. I learned to surrender to my emotions as soon as I step inside my ArtCave. I sometimes start simply by stating something like “Please, help me release XXX through what I will be creating today” and let it go. My most precious artwork was born from a deep place of darkness…
I do the flipping, but I didn’t know it as that. I made a conscious effort to switch my thinking because I hated where the negative thoughts took me. Its not an easy road, but at this point in my life, I am able to do it easily, and swiftly, so that the negative thought doesn’t get control. The art you do share is beautiful and expressive. Thanks for sharing.
Kimi, doing it swiftly is a force: I hope you recognize that. Many people I know notice the negative thought but do nothing about it. And it’s something nobody can do for you… I am glad you can!
And thank you <3
I envision the negative thoughts as coming from another me inside myself. I thank her for her opinion and tell her i’ll Let her know if I need her. This seems to help. ?
I love that you see it as another part of yourself. Still something coming from you, but one thing you can detach from your true self. Thank you for sharing how you deal with it!
Yeah, I call this the ‘reframe’. I don’t deny the difficult emotions or experiences, but I do my best to mine them for wisdom or strength or some kind of hope. It helps.
“Reframe” is another great way to call this shift. I use to battle it SO hard, it was exhausting (and pointless). Now, I acknowledge its existence and it gets easier to let it go.
You know, it’s funny, I’m a worrier! I worry about shit all the time. It is probably one of the most frustrating things I dislike about myself. I don’t know how to turn it off. Still, even amongst the worries, I’ve always been a half glass full kinda gal. Crazy, huh? I just feel like it will all work out like it’s supposed to in the end. So, why on earth do I continue to worry? No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to stop it. It just doesn’t make sense!
Hey, want to know a secret? I worry all the fucking time, about tiny things most of the time but I suffer from anxiety. It took me time to be able to see the glass half full though, but oh gosh I am glad I reframed (as Effy says).
We often don’t make sense you know, I am over-analyzing everything, too…
I love the reframe but I also have to acknowledge how I feel. I learned from my coach to ask myself, “How do I want to feel?” It works a lot of times. I can still get carried away by fear and anxiety though until – I find the reframe.
oh absolutely, acknowledging the feeling (whatever it is, actually) is essential in the process <3
It can be so easy to slip into a spiral of negative thought sometimes! And, when I pull myself out of it, I’m often shocked to realise how far down I slipped. Your post is a good reminder to be aware of our thoughts and of how our attitudes can affect others (including ourselves!) Your art is so wonderfully moving and expressive. Thank you for sharing. <3
I agree with you, Sue. I deeply believe that’s why having a support system helps, as well. People who know who you truly are, without all the masks, and can call bullshit on you to help you rise above faster. Art is in my support system as well, even though often, I don’t want to create when in a dark place (it can be an indicator, by the way)