even though i still feel broken

Pending revisions after I stare at this for a while, I am happy to present my 6th Emotia painting, “even though i still feel broken.”

It’s been about a full year since “i do believe in new beginnings,” and my emotional landscape has gone through a lot this year. I have begun to manage my anxiety symptoms and spent the year on medications that greatly reduced my daily experience with anxiety and almost eliminated all but maybe five panic attacks for all of 2017. I think that’s what the stitch in her head is for. The worst wounds in my brain were kind of fixed, but my feeling of my brain being broken is definitely still there.

I also got the best job I’ve ever had, where every day I put on a smile and bring light, safety, and comfort to kids who are further in that maddening darkness than I’ve ever been. And while it has given me a safe space to talk about how yes, anxiety affects me too, it’s often been undercut by my own feelings of anxiety and insecurity that make it hard for my joy and satisfaction at work to be authentic. I have told many coworkers I become a different person at work, and nobody would believe how socially anxious I am, or how mean or cynical I am, in my real everyday life. So the mask I put on for work is there, and its strings are navy because that’s what I wear to work, disgustingly, haha. I struggled with how I incorporated work because it really has been a huge part of my life this last year, and I really thrived there and got a promotion and everything, but…I don’t know, last summer I told a patient I really liked that believe it or not I get told on a daily basis I’m someone’s favorite tech, but that approval, that validation, just kind of hits a wall in my heart where compliments don’t get through. I know what I’m capable of at work and I know my strengths, but I still suffer from a heavy, overwhelming belief that I am worthless and incompetent. It’s really sad, and it’s the one thing I am setting into 2018 trying to change.

The eyes battle with each other because of a deep and intense anger that I had for most of 2017. It was all because of the blood on my hands, the loss I suffered, the mistake I made, the people I hurt. It was a deep and hollow anger and hurt that I knew all that could be done about is to get through it.

The anger became something of a coldness in me as the year wrapped up. I have snowflakes on my shoulder for two reasons: the holidays were one of the emotionally hardest part of my year, and all my anger and disappointment in myself made me feel cold and numb. Work was awful, and I just really struggled feeling wanted or a sense of belonging. And the frustrating part of that is that there’s no good reason for it. I have not one but two families who have loved and accepted me. But I was wildly PMSing on Christmas and that did a lot of emotional damage to me. So, holiday snowflakes, internal numbness.

The shattered chest is a throwback to my original Emotia drawing, “feelings I don’t want.” I still have feelings I don’t want. I did things I shouldn’t have done this year. But again, a lot of this painting circles back to how poorly I feel about myself. That’s why she’s the first Emotia girl with my body type. Except her tit’s a bit perkier. I did gain weight throughout my first year of marriage, and that’s always just felt like something that is completely out of control and yet is still something I feel extraordinarily guilty for.

Still have my foofy wedding dress on. My relationship has been one of the only things unaffected by my emotional turmoil. Only one of my panic attacks last year was about us. We are growing, we are coming together, we are passionately committed to each other, and being married has just given us something unifying, something that keeps us close and alive and intense, even when everything else in our lives is pretty much routine.

So there it is. Something came up on my Timehop this morning of like a simple drawing of me and Hoshi and I realized once again my impossible art standards for myself are probably a huge part of why I don’t produce as much art as I used to. Can’t just do a doodle. Need to do a fucking 14-hour portrait.

Enjoy Emotia in succession.

 

2 comments on “even though i still feel broken

  1. Being “eye dead” as I am, I never realized that the images were a series, revealing your internal struggles — and victory (I notice that in all but the first and last image, Emotia has some sort of smile on her face — one is ironic, one joyful, and one mischievous…maybe look at that, too! If she is a manifestation of your inner self, then 3 out of 5 times, you’ve got something to smile about…not a bad ratio.)

    Very expressive, daughter-of-mine!

  2. Something that really rings out to me is we all have many sides to us. You at work is you. It sounds like it is a happier you. Why do we have to call that a mask. It is still a part of you. It’s harder to see ourselves.

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