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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat

: TAW wk 01 - safety

I am thinking about those writers in the closet who become therapists so they can have a secondhand storytelling experience and still fulfil their [frustrated] creative needs. Now that I write, make art, have a different (more grounded) creative approach to life, now that I have taken the courage to go from a UAL FAD course to finishing my degree, I realise how much less I want to do therapy, how therapy is NOT my primary vocation anymore, how I have taken the courage to move my therapeutic website into my artistic one. Maybe therapy - as I considered it up to now - has exhausted its course and this is why I am more comfortable in thinking about transforming therapy into mentoring and support / supervision aimed at artists, writers, creative people and ordained / consecrated people.

Back then, I thought I was too old, too different, too weak, too poor, not good enough to explore the artist in me even if my own tutor at the counselling course told me he could not understand why I wasn’t doing art! Bless Fran Cullen! But there was a lot of envy, bitterness, bitter envy! within me, a sense of frustration for not being able to do what I craved to do; I needed - I thought - recognition and acknowledgement: I craved FAME, and little did I know that what I was really craving was something else. Don’t get me wrong: I like the praise and the positive feedback, and that people like what I make BUT I’m interested in people READING my books, not just buying them! because I think I do have a message I want to share. I am interested in people bouncing ideas back to me, starting a discourse and engaging with the practice, and not people smiling and telling me: I really like your stuff, coz what I make is not STUFF.

So, now, after years spent making things, receiving feedback, personal exhibitions (albeit small) I find it mesmerising to go back and do TAW as a means of looking BACK to my evolution, more than an exercise in looking and planning ahead. I remember my very first TAW and how many ideas I had! I did this process at least once a year and I used to fill my journals with plots, ideas, thoughts, expenses, lists and lists, and lists of lists, plans, one-year detailed plans, quotes from videos and lectures I found online. And some things were repeated journal after journal: being VATA, liking Ayurveda, connections to the Bible, the colour blue, minimalism, make large things, make repeated things, bring things together, coalescence, Venn diagram; looking for the right word, the right definition. I was missing words and I was feeling strong and powerfully emotive explosions within me and that scared me a lot. I was looking and looking, armed with metaphorical torches while feeling I needed time, more time. Then I was reverting back to a safe place, strong and grounded, solid and sturdy; the one which I knew best: work, money, a boyfriend. After about 42-43 days I was feeling less and less that this floating platform I was on was comfortable enough and could provide anything I ever needed. And then, like a strong wind, it turned every time into a claustrophobic pile of wrong words which in turn shifted into a spinning cage and I couldn’t breathe and I needed to go, leave, move, explore, get lost, find me again, do another TAW, another round of therapy, more tears, more snot, you know the drill...

So, where is my safety now?

Do I deserve to be me, an artist, to create? You know what? I think I am even past those affirmations which I needed at the time. I have definitely grown more confident in my practice, which now has become my praxis - i.e. my path. There is a sense of merging between who I am and what I do, which at times feels strange and there is still within me the need to pacify that soft spot of recognition and understanding, esp when at university where I still make work to get a good grade. But I also know, and I have confirmations as a constant reminder, that the path I chose what the RIGHT ONE FOR ME. And that I had to learn to trust more my gut instinctual feeling. I always said I needed to do a specific path : i.e. to study the theory because to me and my art, making without a conceptual framework, makes absolutely no sense at all. Making for the sake of covering a canvas with some paint arranged in whatever shape and shades you want, feeds me with nothing.

Now I am here: making. And the WHAT is not important.

I am making, I am channelling… no, I am allowing for Creativity to run through. I am… I don't think there is a word now to express that… I am … well: I AM. That’s it. I am and there is a merging between the temporal and the eternal, the aethereal. I become the observer. There there are no boundaries, no limitations, no containing, no demarcation. No framing. Even using words to describe the experience, is reductive.

Anyway, one word that my art is and is not, is: playful. There is playfulness in the making, but also seriousness, a sense of importance, significance, big implications and urgency to the existential process of creating which is not playful, at all! But I can assure you that once you get it, it can turn to be playful again.

This week most important dream has been about me floating in the middle of a deep green sea, surrounded by pieces of polystyrene. All of us, floating. Like if I were there and my raft, boat, or whatever I was on, broke in thousand little pieces... I know I am leaving a safe shore for a journey into the unknown.

Do I trust enough? I'll ask the question again: where is my sense of safety?

ad maiora,


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