Reclamation of my Sensitivity
All through my childhood I was told that I was “too sensitive” and it led me to believe that sensitivity was the worst of character flaws. I hated being “too sensitive”. Easily brought to tears or made to blush with embarrassment, it makes you such easy prey for abuse.
Unable to find a way of not being “too sensitive” I developed, as I got older, a stony shell with which to protect myself. Essentially an act to believe in. A hard and cold carapace able to withstand the rowdiest of attacks and equally able to deliver some pretty strong stuff back in the other direction.
Unfortunately, in order to fully believe in my tough guy act I had to put sensitive me into exile. He was of no use with his soppy empathy and gentleness so he had to be locked away in a tower. Desperately sad and keening for freedom while bullet proof, titanium me stumbled around trying to ignore the lonely cries.
But with sensitive me locked away, robot me was lost for any sense of direction or purpose, never mind a moral compass. Stomping around, banging into the furniture. Hurting himself and anyone close by and so sad and alone. So sure that Sensitive Paul was faulty beyond repair he looked and looked for some kind of… not even happiness, just a release from the horribleness of it all.
There’s been therapy and meditation and yoga and for the past few years a Buddhist practice and they have all helped me reassess what it means to be a sensitive human being (in fact, is there actually any other kind of human being?). But the main thing that prompted the reclamation of myself was exhaustion. I just got exhausted. Exhausted from searching high and low for something that might release me from the anguish; and also exhaustion from lugging around this bloody suit of armour for years.
I finally just laid down and admitted defeat, and when I did somebody emerged from his tower, blinking in the daylight, and gently tended to the tortured man lying exhausted on the shore. Offered the poor wretch love and forgiveness in exchange for guilt and shame and slowly, slowly the two began to make friends. Turns out that the sensitive one was pretty tough after all.
Art for me is the reclamation of my sensitivity (and, ergo, myself). The celebration of it. Sometimes it’s even a rageful rebuke to the “too sensitive” squad that chased me with fiery torches into a tower for all those years. A critique of those self appointed, wrong minded critics. Of course that may not be always apparent to them from my pictures; they might need a certain level of sensitivity to see it.
Written by Paul Trussel
Paul sums up everything so perfectly. Many people make art and the meaning behind it can be a lot deeper than what meets the eye. But when on your journey as artists, keep digging to find out why being creative is so important to you. The more you dig and find out, the more uplifting and freeing it will be.
I know that when I found art, it was freeing. It allowed my mind to breathe and everything just started to make sense, something I had longed for. Even now, I only get a set two hours a week to work on my art but after these two hours my mind is so much clearer and I feel so uplifted.
So have a think, why do I make art? What is it that urges me to create? I’d love to hear from you about this.