It took me years to understand my anger, hurt, and depression. I was either trying to suppress them by escaping my emotions and ended up hurting myself more or I was overwhelmed and felt utterly broken. There were times I tried to express my pain through dance, writing or conversations and I seemed to always get the same response. That’s beautiful. A response I actually got quite often and it would infuriate me. How could these people listen to me or watch me express my pain and yet see beauty? Couldn’t they see my pain was real? That I desperately wanted out of my life?
Once, during a dance audition, I was overwhelmed and tears streamed down my face as I danced. Later, the coach came up to me and told me I danced beautifully and I was really good. Although the comment made me smile and say thank you I was really confused. I was crying the entire performance, my face was flushed and my eyes pink. I was embarrassed to perform at such a weak emotional moment. Yet everyone seemed to ignore that I was upset.
There were times that I tried expressing myself in writing. And when I shared my writings I was told its beautiful and deep. There goes that word again, beautiful. And I would think to myself, what don’t these people get? Why do they not understand? My writings were about pain and depression. I don’t know exactly what kind of reaction I was expecting but I stopped writing. I stopped expressing myself and decided I wanted to become emotionally numb. I was tired of feeling.
After years of feeling isolated from everyone, with the help of my sister and a group of new friends I learned how to accept myself and love myself. I came to know myself better and learned to embrace my emotions, to allow myself to feel what I was feeling, to understand those emotions and grow from them.
I finally understand the word beautiful. I understand why no matter how hard I tried to express my pain people saw beauty. Being able to execute pain into an art form draws people in on your passionate, emotional experience. Letting them feel your tears, sympathy, fear, laughter or enjoyment. Applauding your brilliance at expressing familiar emotions that they possibly could not express so accurately. And appreciative of their own experiences and having the comfort of knowing those sentiments shared.
Now when I paint, putting every emotion on canvas, I hear those familiar words “It’s Beautiful” I pause and ask, how does this painting make you feel? They respond with emotions that I successfully expressed on canvas. I carefully observe their reactions while they talk, loving how we can connect and share the same from different times and events in our lives. To me, it’s that connection that is truly beautiful.