|Valya - 091212|
What do you care about me? What do you think about me? These questions are the basis for many of my behaviors and how I interact with others. What I chose to let out of my mind and share with others is greatly regulated by my concerns of how I am perceived by others. That bullshit needs to stop.
I am in therapy. With that statement, I am opened up to many prejudices, stereotypes, and misconceptions. I don't really care anymore if people know about it. I don't wave a therapy flag or force this bit of information in a moment of too-much-information. I find it humorous to see their reactions. They are usually slightly shocked, hold and awkward pause, then very cautiously ask me, "are you ok?" For many, they are concerned, for a few though, the judgements start coming.
Why am I sharing this "devil may care" attitude about my personal life? It is because of therapy. During my last few sessions I started discovering that due to my concern of how people view me and by the potential of me letting them down, I am not truly living with the real me.
This self sense of being Mr. Nice Guy and trying not to ruffle feathers, smooth those that are ruffled, and avoidance of delivering bad news has held me back too long. Because of this I tend to take on too much onto myself when others should be doing their job or make their expectations more realistic. I lose track of too many tactical, cultural, familial and other types of obligations. I am spending too much time on this shit.
A year or so ago I had a dream where my wife told me "I am not going to help you clean up the façades you built around yourself." This profoundly hit me and cuts to the core of my tendencies to placate. I build up all these façades to keep the peace from falling into pieces.
While that revelation is big for me, it took a simple observation from my therapist when I told her of that dream. "Those narrations in your dreams are written by you, not the person represented in your dreams." Whoa... For the past year, I've subconsciously believed that statement represented something from my wife. While it may be something she believes, it is my projection on her, manifested in a dream. Since it is my dream script the message is directed at me... from ME.
I know that should be very evident and elementary in terms of psychology. I have a degree in the subject. Unfortuntely, I never thought that those things said in my dreams are my script and messages my soul, spirit, and intellect are trying to convey to me. I may get inklings of the messages during awake time, but it takes a dream to live those messages.
Out of all of the therapy cliches, here is a big one - the role of my parents in my current psychological health. I will put that net out wider to include all family, many close friends and coworkers. For years I've said "yes" to many things while suppressing my real thoughts, ideas, and desires in fear of hurting and disappointing these people. Once my therapist got this out of me she asked the next huge question --
"How does this affect your art?"I have two self-identified types of art I create, the secular and "sexular". The "sexular" is all my nude photos and those images that have overt erotic elements. The secular is pretty much all my other stuff, portraits, landscapes, commercial work, etc. If you go to my commercial website, you will find most photos are my secular works except for a harmless, tiny, implied nude of Candace.
Back to my therapist's question, "How does this affect your work?"
For my secular art , I am concerned that the craft and art in it are not strong enough to be appreciated or accepted by those who are important to me (see list above). I love making these photos. Most do not have deep contextual artistic meaning, but they are fun and rewarding to make.
For my "sexular" art, I am very concerned by how I am perceived by it. I've published publicly very little of my work in this area other than on my blog. I think all this angst over showing this work and how it is important to me to those who may condemn me makes me put up even more façades.
This subconscious drive most recently manifested in my newest series I am creating - I Objectify Women. In this series, I am grappling with objectification of women, and how I am part of it. I am hoping it will help me answer some of my own tough questions and self-doubts. In the end though, it is becoming a statement piece saying, "This is my art and this is who I am." Maybe it is time for me to live that mantra in more areas of my life.
"This is my work and this who I am."
"These are my desires and this is who I am."
"This is my sexuality and this is who I am."
"This is my body and this is who I am."
It's time to drop so many of the facades around me. I need that energy for more important things.