Of Artists, Demons, Creativity, and Fear of Feeling

By: Zeinah Hesham

An artist’s imagination is a power that is converted to energy through paint and pencil splashed over canvas, capturing the essence of all emotions that are mighty. Vincent Van Gogh is a legendary artist whose paintings were inspired by his unstable mind, one that was crawling with demons and yet, his words were nothing but descriptions, metaphors and euphemisms about all that is holy about the world and what a beautiful yet simple thing it was to do a natural and basic human function – to feel.

Van Gogh once said “I feel that there is nothing truly more artistic than to love people”, he simplified all what thousands of poems and songs were and have been repeating for centuries – unable to express what their lover made them feel by their existence.

His words never appealed to me when I saw them. It’s been a long time since I’ve believed in love and the wonders that it could do to you. Perhaps the reason behind this was my ineffable fear of commitment , the fear that made me reject every person that has shown liking to me , the fear that elevated my lack of trust , the fear that is making it so hard to allow myself to fall in love – with someone that won’t hurt me like you did.

I’m constantly praised on my so called courage that was seen by others as I told and retold stories about my struggles , my heartbreaks , my fear yet no one’s pointed out my cowardice. No one felt the need to tell me that I’m a hypocrite , that I preach about letting go and coming face to face with your demons yet I could not do so. I could not believe him when he says that he likes me , I could not trust the photographs when I saw a majestic body that has been demonised by my body dysmorphia , I could not trust them when they repeated that they would always listen to me talk about my indefinite struggles that never seem to lose , I could not trust myself when I said that I have to stop torturing myself.

Previously , I have spoken about loving yourself and I’ve spoken about loving others. It takes patience to love yourself and it takes courage to be in love. It takes courage of me to believe that someone’s feelings won’t fade away because of an argument or a disagreement. It takes affirmations at my reflection to believe that true friends will listen to your problems and provide you with everything you need instead of listening to your disordered thoughts and leave you deal with your nightmares on your own. It takes effort and forgiveness to be able to love myself unapologetically without comparison to others.

And it takes years to admit – I am a coward.

I’ve allowed myself to feel all that is darkness. No one has been able to do what I do, to deal with nothing but your sadness, anger, grief, hate, shame and nothing but. Courage is allowing yourself to feel everything – the good and the bad.

Courage is admitting that this has not been easy, that I have struggled and fought and I continue to do so. Bravery is me accepting that maybe in order to let myself fall, I have to expose myself and I have to trust. I have to do something that I have not done in a very long time – I have to let myself feel.

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