I See the World Differently
1. Trigger Warning (discussion of mature topics, 18+ recommended, body/sex/church)
Some of the most interesting things to me are some of the most boring to others. But as a creative personality that's no surprise. Something as mundane or ugly as a dead tree captivates me while repulsing others. I truly have no explanation: I see the beauty in the way the limbs divert course, shift, flow and angle themselves. They may have been filled with green leaves at one point, but they no longer thrive and I'm always curious why... was it the air, soil, water, lack of nutrition, lack of care?
I could explain bridges as well, they terrify some but to me I find bridges to be like people. They're all unique, can be dangerous to cross, they hold so much weight on their shoulders, and they're stunning.
But... as a creator, inspiration comes from everywhere. The beautiful, the ugly, the stunning and the most terrifying aspect of humanity. This is where creatives thrive!
I think I have a different perspective from many people based on the way I was raised, religious history, personality, experiences and influences.
My Life in a Nutshell
I grew up in a very religious household and church community. It was very much oriented towards being "spiritually clean" to paraphrase. Purity culture is rampant in the church (regardless of which denomination) and that 100 per cent affects people.
Girls are, and even secularly, expected to uphold various statutes/rules inflicted upon them. While boys also experience restrictions, the standard (I found, anyway) is far less critical because, "boys will be boys."
Virginity pledges happened.
Cover yourself comments happened.
Being made responsible for the thoughts of men happened.
Asking for trouble comments happened.
Men are dangerous comments happened.
Sex before marriage is a horrendous sin indoctrination happened.
Your husband will want you to be pure indoctrination happened.
Masturbation is evil and empowered by the devil shame-mongering happened.
I could go on...
At any point did teachers, society, the church, etcetera, stop to think and realize that women are human beings rather than pieces of property? Humans with emotions, feelings, desires, and needs. Humans who experience trauma, neglect, pain and shame. Likely not.
I remember once, there was a special guest and some of the youth were running around having fun because he had gone over the time and was speaking late. As kids, we were bored and just wanted to have fun. So, we came back up and he stopped talking, pointed at us and said, "I feel evil coming from them."
Imagine the audacity to say that publicly about a group of teenage girls. Tell me you're uncomfortable with females without telling me you're uncomfortable with females.
The shame that was so poignantly put toward our bodies, simply for not being boys, was gross negligence of care in my opinion. It took me eight years to get over the shame of masturbation. I felt shameful because it wasn't something people talk about, but it became worse after I revealed my actions to a woman in the church. She had me pray for forgiveness and vow to never to do it again. She later brought in a speaker for the teenage girls who talked about the devilish ways masturbation had hurt her and how she was now reformed. I was fourteen.
Fast forward to 26 years old and I have my first boyfriend. The first person I have intercourse with. Initially, nothing bothered me. But over time I felt like I was being shameful, hiding it from my parents, and it started to take a toll. Then other things began shifting...
To me, it began feeling expected. Whether that was the intention or not that was how it began to feel to me. I did it anyway because, as you know, in the church women are to be subservient to their husbands. While we weren't married, in my mind he was still my partner, making it my duty.
After my parents found out, after I blurted it out, they told me, "we consider you married to him..." because Biblically we would have been for being intimate.
I think that shook us both and that was when the relationship crumbled like old brick walls that were never maintained. From start to finish the relationship lasted eight months and I was positively devastated.
In my stupidity, I got myself into a rebound with someone who turned out to be a sex addict (though not diagnosed). That went even more horribly awry (I choose not to divulge) before I left and then moved three and a half hours because I needed to know to what life was really supposed to be like.
This is when I began anew...
I will not say all teachings from religious are bad; the commandments are generally a good idea to keep (do not kill, lie, steal, etc.). What I disagree with is the shame placed on girls and women for simply being human.
I could go into explicit detail of my life from the point I moved away, but I'll save that for another time. But I will say that I created hundreds of new experiences and memories.
I began to unlearn the dangerous indoctrinations of the church, through hard work with a therapist and my own determination, to be my own person. I began to learn who I am and what really happened to be in that rebound relationship. The toxicity, anger, desperation and shut down were all roads that didn't need to happen in that relationship. Of course, his pain became my pain through his actions.
This is still a struggle as residual energy and pain remain with me four years later... Overall, it's truly a different kind of journey to be "forced" into. I don't know if I would change it for the simple reason that it's given me a totally different perspective from the general population. But, similarly, I don't think anyone should go through any of what I endured.
I've realized I have truly missed out on so much in life growing up and throughout my twenties.
No Trick or Treating/Halloween.
No Easter Bunny.
Christmas stopped at 11 years old, never had Santa Claus or a Christmas tree.
Public school didn't start until grade nine (15).
Dresses to church.
Church every Sunday.
I often wonder if the shame I felt as a teen and early 20s adult is part of what lead me to my dramatic weight gain and inability to function... to take that an internalize it all without truly processing how wrong it all is can be debilitating on a mental, emotional and spiritual level.
To quote Wake Me Up from Avicii, "I can't tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start."
Living life to it's fullest.
This year is the first where I don't feel an overwhelming anxiety about not knowing where I'm going to end up, or go, or how I'll make it. This is the first time I've felt a calmness to my life that is bringing me peace.
I made these realizations over the past year and I'll be 31 in June of 2022. While part of me is furious at how much I lost in my youth and twenties there's another part of me that's excited to experience life as I choose it, rather than how someone else decides for me.
How Does This Affect My Creativity
Everybody gets ideas from somewhere... mine just happen to come a very different set of life. Every single creator (artist, musician, author, actor, etc.) stems from their own unique background. No two will ever be exactly the same.
My life has been one of constant learning, empathy, change, passion, rage, trauma, joy, peace, calmness, wildness, adventure, trust, faith...
Every single moment of my life has impacted my art. From being carefree to being the most closed-off human on the planet. There is something to be said for every experience.
I don't know where all of mine will eventually lead me, but I do know that when I write it's from the heart. I write for people who may not feel like they have voice, because I never felt like I did. I write for people who are anxious, because I understand that pain. I write for people who hide from the world, because I did too. I create for people who want to be heard, understood, seen and validated. We all need that.
I think that coming from this background, while detrimental to my life for three decades, has influenced my art to become more empathetic, outreaching, passionate and authentic. That's what creators strive for.
I choose to live my life, my way.
I choose to live my life for me, not to please someone else.
I choose to create for myself and for others.