Here comes the time of year where I tend to have the most problems with mental illness. Historically for me and my history in this lifetime, mania tries to kick in or depression leading to mania tries to kick in. This year seems a bit different though. After a couple years with a new therapist/ healer and myself being a reiki enthusiast and healer, and many daily meditations, I feel good. At last, good enough to feel that this year will be the easiest so far to deal with my mental illness.
I heard from a great healer/writer that bipolar is a “genius gene.” One where seemingly genius comes from. While the thought is a bit flattering, I’ve come to think the real genius is in sanity. To be able to maneuver through life and NOT suffer, NOT worry, NOT cause a fright in the others around you, seems to me more appealing than the latter. Mere normalcy can sound boring, and rightly so, but for me, year after year of pain and low self esteem has led me to believe the straight life of getting by day after day and surviving and prospering on an even keel has more interest than ‘losing it.’
Crazy insane art with amorphous, bulbous protrusions for no rhyme or reason seems to be passee and boring. Yes, insanity makes for some great spectacles and yes, chaotic energy can be fun, but to live with it day in and day out, loses its staying power. It fizzles out like a firework, melting into the night sky of obscurity. Much like the obscure art that no one gets.
Van Gogh was one such ball of energy that just fizzled and burnt out way too young. As well as Basquiat, and a treasure trove of singers and actors from the seventies and on. Genius can be catching and enlightening, but too much of a good thing is just that-too much to bear. It becomes a cross of unwellness. I think of Picasso and his permutations of mutations and all he did for art history as a great boon for humanity. But at what cost of his own humanity did he have to give up for that? Clear thinking and clear art seems to have lost all edge in this world. No spice for the flavor, but sometimes too much heat burns.
Add a dollop of something sweeter and/or more fulfilling and you’ve got a new style. Saccharine to some, but a bit more palatable to the maker in a manner of speaking. You see artists pushing and pulling to be ‘more unique’, ‘more interesting’, ‘more something no-one has ever seen’, but they don’t stop to see what’s more healthy for them, what’s more healthy for humanity. Do we really need more people bleeding at the edges of their aura in order to convey pain, anger, frustration, insanity?
For me, for my own sake, I want my art to be healing. For me, and humanity. Is that a greater contribution to the whole than putting myself through the torment of different different different, insane, insane, insane? Well, it is for me. I feel better making something for my own healing and for the world’s healing than from the viewpoint of distortion, demented, angry, etc viewpoints. That is why that caustic energy of distortion does not work for me anymore.
That is why I am trying to heal. So I won’t have to make that art anymore unless I want to. That chaotic art with wild tangents and fizzling doesn’t work so well for mental health.
Tim Edwin B.