So, I Pinterest (is that officially a verb now, like “I Googled it.”?). Welp, I’m making it a verb today. I like looking up inspirational quotes, beautiful pictures and fancy-shmancy recipes that I’ll never attempt to make. While wasting a bit of time today, I came across this picture and quote by Zooey Deschanel (she’s quite lovely, no?). I love how she describes femininity and the courage it takes to be vulnerable. So many times in my life I’ve been called “oversensitive,” “too nice,” that I “feel too much,” and that “my head is in the clouds.” These comments have always made me feel less, that somehow I’m weak for feeling things.
As writers and readers and artists and creators, I’m sure we can all relate to feeling too much and being criticized for it. Our heads are crowded with thoughts. Our hearts feel two sizes too big for our chest. The beauty and intimacy of enjoying a glass of wine with our friends makes us want to cry in happiness. The gigantic and hollow aura of an empty room can make us crumple in sadness.
Although females are criticized for feeling, males really get the brunt of it. To me, seeing a man cry is one of the greatest signs of strength. If a man trusts me enough to express his feelings like that, it’s an intimate moment that can never be taken away. It does take courage to be vulnerable. And damn it, all humans should feel everything. Hemingway, probably the antithesis of femininity, said this: “The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.”
Sadly, those virtues destroyed the very man who said those beautiful words. He felt and lived and wrote with abandon. But, he drank too much and suffered from depression and paranoia; we’ll never know what he was thinking in those last few moments in the space between living and ending it all. This manly creature who lived with such vigor, died probably feeling lonely and tired. Sometimes feeling everything can sap the marrow from your bones.
I’ve been guilty of closing myself off to avoid pain, but I refuse to do that anymore. In this life don’t you want to feel it all: the ugliness, the beauty, the sensuality, the love, the kindness, the loneliness, the connections, the heartbreak – everything? And yes, those feelings can destroy you. However, my creative friends, maybe by writing all those feelings down and sharing them with the universe makes it all a little less heavy. And isn’t it thrilling to read something that makes you say, “Wow, I feel that way, too”? Or even better, how about someone commenting on a piece you scrawled out, telling you how it moved him, made him feel something or that it touched him deep inside his soul? That would feel pretty damn amazing.
I think art is meant to save us. It may take us to the brink of destruction while we create it, but the end product is a purging of all that messed-up , crazy and beautiful raw pulp inside of us, just waiting to be released and shone onto others. And within that release, our souls are freed to create once again.