14th Story of Transgression: I Wear My Heart on My Sleeve

“I was born to feel in public.” Andrea Gibson

I have this in common with artists like Andrea and Amanda Palmer and others who share deep feeling through their creative expression. Some of us don’t have a choice in the matter, we are emotional mountain climbers who come back to the village and are driven to share the stories of where we’ve been. Terror. Hunger. Grief. Loneliness. Betrayal. Ecstasy. Desire. We draw maps of these places and our community pins their “me toos” on the places they’ve visited.

Once a friend told me that I was like a big walking emotion. I feel everything. Even on antidepressants. Even smoking cannabis. I feel big. And I tell people how I feel. Which isn’t popular. People don’t want to know when their carelessness or bullying has an impact. People also cringe at being told how magical and beautiful they are. It doesn’t matter if it’s devotion or anger, we don’t want to talk about how we feel or know what feelings we are sparking in others.

Culture conditions us away from feeling because if we were in touch with our feelings and knew how other people felt we wouldn’t tolerate the oppression of ourselves and others. We numb our feelings with all the things and hide away in isolation so that we don’t take a risk of being hurt again (because we’ve all been hurt before).

One of the core aspects of all anti-violence and non-violence strategies is being aware of our feelings and able to communicate them without causing harm to others. We must become emotionally literate if we are to find a way to cohabitate this earth without violence. We must feel our pain and process our traumas if we are to relate to what is real rather than our projections.

And so there are artists like me who reflect what is real in the heart space and invite others to share what is real for them.

Feeling is resistance. 

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Art by Anjelika Apocalisse @apocalissea
I had to have this piece when I saw it at a Makers Market on the Square downtown about a year ago.

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