Excerpt from my Photography Journal for College, 2014. Topic set for the class “Self Portrait – Reflections – Identity”
Is it that I show you the world, or is it that I show you my world?
I think of my wrist poem series. Something I’m ashamed of because it so publicly displays my brokenness. And yet something I wear publicly because I need to display it.
My blog, which is so often about tearing down the image that is being formed of me. Tearing away another layer. Being more vulnerable. I can’t bear to be suffocated by my own ‘public image’.
Walking away from class, having talked about the DID, feeling myself sullen and afraid and angry. The shying away from (their) curiosity. Don’t see me as my ‘identity disorder’. Don’t see me as my pain. Don’t see me as my successes. You don’t see me. (And I don’t see you) Walking in the twilight and a girl smiles at me as we pass each other crossing the road. And suddenly I’m happy again, the spell is broken, I’ve come up out of the dungeon into the autumn air and the world is beautiful and velvet with buses and my mind is full of thoughts and I think of the aspect of my queer identity and how I’ve not even touched on that yet, yet this beautiful girl with dark hair and the lovely generous smile has woken my heart and reminded me of joy. Who am I? I am a student, sitting on the red steps of the Tafe, watching a woman lift a stone from her shoe as night falls and the buses go home, because I have to write these thoughts, because I feel alive again, because she gave me a smile and made my heart glad, because I talked about soul with my tutor and she gave me back my identity as an artist.
Life doesn’t get in the way of making art,
Life is the subject of art.
If pain stops me from painting, then write about pain.
If sickness stops me from sculpting, then document it with photographs.
Go into the places of fear and vulnerability. The things I’m reluctant to explore or display. They’re not distractions, they’re the subject.
The art that I make because I must, to keep myself alive is ‘real art’. The photos I take to document the hard times, the ink on my wrist that stops me from slashing it, the poems in my journals. Even when no one else sees them. They are art. They are not a distraction from the ‘real’ art.
This is art too, this place of rawness, intensity, need. The place I’ve learned to shield and conceal. Does anyone write what they really think in these journals?
What an idea.
It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” ~ Stephen King, On Writing.