Abstraction and Shape

Hello again! I feel miserable again. It’s just a thing going on right now. I know this is an illusion. Things will change; I’ll be fine. So, I’m going to do at least one thing today. I said a few days ago I’d write about abstraction. I’ve written about it before in terms of fine arts but I also want to apply it to reality and my lack of belief in a reality.

Abstraction and representation are the usual ends of a sliding scale for art. Is it an accurate representation/does look like the real/tangible/object? Weeeeeeeell, that’s not a helpful question. Try asking “what does it represent?” Maybe the best way to express a feeling is a broad stroke of colour, or a sculpture so heavy it cannot be moved, or a performance where you blow up a queen sized air mattress to understand the stress of single handedly trying to make a two person relationship work. (That’s something I did once guys. 520 breaths. It turns out that in blowing up the air mattress I loss most of my body heat and proceeded to tremble and shake thinking “this is the end. I’ve accidentally gotten hypothermia.”) In this system, all of representation is inherently abstraction because it is not the thing.

Now for incoherent tangential thoughts on the application of abstraction and representation to my life as anxiety begins to overwhelm me. If I can remember that nothing is real or has a way is “should” be then I can operate better. This does run the risk of dissociating, which sometimes happens to me. I develop the inability to feel grounded. Reality starts to dissolve, I hallucinate, I have to be around others or I spiral into tremendous panic. When it works best is when I stop thinking of how to fit in or make things work an begin asking “What do I/my behaviours represent”?

I am not my anxiety.

When I’m having a breakdown moment and I know I can’t trust myself to accurately gauge my surroundings I am an abstraction. I am representing something real without becoming it. Example! Lately, I cry because I’m afraid to be hungry. I cry because I’ll have to eat. I am giving shape to my anxiety. I cry and that too gives shape to my anxiety. However, one is more helpful and manageable than the other. I’m going to be anxious. I know this. I’m going to be okay if I can give that abstract overwhelming fear an essence or purpose. This is another example that shows me how hard it is. Especially as someone who looks “healthy”. Today I got out of bed because I was scared of going back to sleep. I wake up feeling like I’m starving. I’m at the point where I can’t tell if I’m hungry or nervous. The feedback loop of my psychosomatic stomach pains has developed in a way that I experience stress  and pain whether or not I’ve eaten. I cannot escape my internal suffering but I can give it shape. I can control what those feelings make me do.

I reach my hands above my head and I hold myself as straight and stretched out as possible. I tell myself “I will be at peace with all things, at all times…” and I reach down to hold my toes and finish “…and in all places.”

I find it useful to give my feelings shape through spoken or written words, through tears, ritual actions, and stillness. There are days when the only thing I can do is sleep away the feelings.

Whoa, so much better. Talk to you again soon. sorry if this is all moody and dark but right now I need this. I need my feelings to go somewhere.


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