“Look in the mirror and ask your soul if you’re alright.” That’s the line from the twenty one pilots song. Some odd combination of all these things made me think about the way I view pain and how I label it. Recently I have been in pain and every morning I decided I would ask myself if I was okay. I have started every morning and ask myself to rate my pain. 1-10. Some days I would wake up and be a 2. Maybe a 5. Some terrible mornings it was a 10. But it varied. I could have a 10 every day for a few days but then it would go back down to a 1. It wouldn’t stay the same. I sort of came up with my own philosophy that allows me to acknowledge how much pain I’m in on any given day. To put a number to it. I’m honest with myself about where I am. I can say “Yes, this is a 10.” And that simple thing, it carries me. It lets me feel everything and to be upset. I’m not scared to cry or to admit that today is a bad day. I think that helps me appreciate the good days even more. It also helps me to see that pain is temporary. That things will change and how I’m feeling one minute might not be how I’m feeling the next. But I think it’s important to allow yourself to feel pain and acknowledge it. That’s what I’ve been doing.
So I’m writing this from my hospital bed where my physical pain is a 1 and my emotion pain is a only a 3.
But I don’t want to write about my being sick. I wanted to write about art and how this has been what makes my pain level decrease significantly. I’ve been creating art like my life depends on it, because in so many ways, it does. My survival has hinged on my ability to write incredibly over dramatic poetry. I take photos like it’s the last time I’ll ever get to hold a camera. Much like Alexander Hamilton, I’ve been writing like I’m running out of time. It was so bad that the day after I won NaNoWriMo (just barely dragging myself across the finish line at 50,022 words.) I started the fourth draft of Forlorn Hope. There is just this need in my bones to make something. I have almost drawn through an entire sketchbook that, prior to this summer, I hadn’t touched since 2014. My body has been waking me up at ungodly hours of the night to write poetry. I mean, I will jolt awake at 3am and impulsively grab my phone, and jot out an entire poem while I’m half asleep. In the morning when I read them, I actually love them. I feel like if I stop creating even for just one second, my heart will collapse. Art has been the one thing that has brought me relief.
I think, for the first time, I’m starting to consider myself an artist. Because things inspire me and there are things I want to say with these pieces. I have a perspective that is unique to me and art to me is different than art to other people. But I am so thankful for all the people that have inspired me in these ways. Really, I’m thankful for my heartache, because it’s when my heart is the most broken that I create the most beautiful works. But someone said something to me that has stuck with me. “I hope happiness makes you write. Not just your suffering.”
(Enjoy some of the art I have made in my pain. And soon I’ll post the art I make in my joy.)
(Also I blame to incoherence of this post on the pain killers.)