Art Was Always My Consolation

I used to think there was something inside of me. Something special. Even when other people didn’t. Even after an uncle made fun of my singing, I kept singing. Even when I couldn’t make sense of written notation and my playing abilities were limited I kept writing songs. Even when nothing made sense in my mind I kept on scribbling.

I don’t feel that way any more. And I’ve come to realise that my motivations for wanting to be creative are very different. Mostly I’m just hoping some creative output will make up for the hopeless failure I feel I’ve become. Unemployed, unhinged, uninvolved – so many ‘un’ words, so much lacking. I can’t be who other people want, and I can’t be myself and I can’t seem to find a way to be happy. I can’t hold up pretenses. I can’t pretend I’m not completely disillusioned with everything. I know it’s been a really long day and that I’m dabbling with things – art supplies and techniques, specifically – that I know next to nothing about, but right now my heart is breaking. I just want to give it all away. I want to get rid of all these art supplies and stop embarrassing myself.

Art was always my consolation. In my loneliness I would take comfort in the poems I’d etch out. When peers would ignore me I’d receive interaction and stimulation instead from teachers happy with my work. And that day I told the person who made my heart sing that I loved them, that day when they admitted they weren’t interested in me at all, I told myself I would at least have a song. My heart couldn’t stand the interrogation my mind was giving it. Asking over and over “why don’t you like me? why am I not good enough?” didn’t seem to change the facts that you didn’t and I wasn’t. So I distracted myself with lines and rhymes, counting syllables and changing chords. I mourned at my Roland keyboard, keeping busy and sane.

Art was always my consolation, but I hoped that it might too be my salvation. I hoped it would make things better. I hoped it would explain things, I hoped it would explain me. I hoped (if not the son they imagined) it would produce a son of which my parents could still be proud. I hoped that it would impress the next person to steal my heart. I hoped that it would somehow fill all the various voids.

But it’s too much – and not enough, all at once. I feel the shame of not feeling like enough coupled with the pressure to be prolific and profound when in truth I’m just a very amateur, very frustrated painter hack. Things need to change. How, I don’t yet know. But things need to change.

1 comment… add one
  • Art is my consolation, too. The drawings and painting you post here console me when I need a hit of happy. I used to say, when I was in my 20s, “If I don’t publish a novel by the time I’m 30, I’ll quit.” I think I said that for the same kinds of reasons your post explains. 30 came and went and I realized that I like writing for its own sake. I still think it would be great to publish a novel. But even if that never happens I’m not sorry for all the time and energy that went into all those unpublished novels. They were a consolatiion even without the prize. I hope you can still find consolation in creating things, music, art, poetry. I hope you find joy.

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