Emotia is a series of introspective self-portraits that was born in 2014. This was when I truly began to understand my emotional landscape, and I largely credit that fact to this series. Some of these are still painful to look at even 8 years removed, because they reactivate the emotional struggle from when the painting originated.
Below you will find each of the digital paintings in chronological order. The text accompanying each is taken from their original blog posts, which are also linked in the image.
Feelings I don’t Want
It represents “Feeling What You Don’t Want” as in those moments when you’re gripped with jealousy or rage or disappointment and you desperately want to dispel every scrap of it from your body but it just won’t get out. And you hate yourself for it and you want to break yourself to get rid of it but your heart’s still whole and as long as it’s there then the feeling won’t leave you till it chooses. You’re not about to cry and you’re not about to scream you’re just so concentrated, fruitlessly, on crushing that feeling.
It will work out (I hope)
When I was making sacrifices. When I was holding my breath. When I was letting the tide wash over me. I was fiercely protective of who I used to be but I’d taken those boots off trying to find satisfaction in a life I didn’t really want. I was looking ahead, because there wasn’t much around me to revel within.
The purpose of this girl is supposed to be that she is ready and determined and she has already been through shit (okay, mud), but she’s still planted and she’s not moving yet. She’s bright with hope so much sometimes that it makes her want to fly but it also weighs her down (I literally just made that part up now, but yes).
Rise again, fighting
Everything fell apart. I made a giant mistake which financially cost me and shattered any trust I had in myself and my decision-making abilities. I had fallen closer to rock bottom than I ever had, and it killed me knowing it was a series of impulsive life choices I made that landed me right where I was. didn’t feel like myself anymore but the line of decisions and experiences between me and who I wished I still was was getting longer and longer. It took me forever to come to rational solutions for my situation. But I did. Finally.
This included taking on art classes through a community art program for the first time. Right now I’m halfway through a . This new year has been metaphorical and temporal. I realized this morning, amusing as it may sound, that I haven’t cried in January. I can’t tell you how cool that is, considering the months I was climbing out of.
E N D U R E
what emerged from the painting is an expression of how well I ended up being able to endure after all. In a way, since it was completed some 5 hours before my breaking point, it was a harbinger for ripping out that handful of feathers, the beautiful but challenging parts of my life I realized needed to be purged for now. The piece is pretty dark – strong, but dark. Because when I realized that I didn’t want to endure anymore, I kind of broke. Kind of in the same way as the girl in this painting. She’s not broken, but she was definitely falling apart. I see the feathers she’s clutching in her fists and I see how I realized that something had to give.
i DO BELIEVE IN NEW BEGINNINGS
This series is and always has been an evolution of self. It’s shown so many wildly different selves that began in July of 2014, two and a half years ago. Since then, I feel like I’ve gone through so many self-facilitated changes that have had huge effects on me.
In “I Do Believe in New Beginnings,” I feel like I have unified myself. That’s why an element or more from each of the previous Emotia paintings are all represented. I’ve still got tears and loose ends, but it all comes together now. the giant white foof skirt is a nod to my recent marriage, which has really helped make me feel like I’ve accomplished something as a person and I’ve come together with someone who will protect me, encourage me, and strive to understand me for my whole life.
eVEN THOUGH i STILL FEEL BROKEN
The eyes battle with each other because of a deep and intense anger that I had for most of 2017. It was all because of the blood on my hands, the loss I suffered, the mistake I made, the people I hurt. It was a deep and hollow anger and hurt that I knew all that could be done about is to get through it.
The anger became something of a coldness in me as the year wrapped up.
The shattered chest is a throwback to my original Emotia drawing, “feelings I don’t want.” I still have feelings I don’t want. I did things I shouldn’t have done this year. But again, a lot of this painting circles back to how poorly I feel about myself.
Still have my foofy wedding dress on. My relationship has been one of the only things unaffected by my emotional turmoil.
i AM GROWING BUT PLEASE LET ME BE
I’ve got my heart on my sleeve. Hell hath no fury like my opinionated ass if you start to rile me up. This has not felt like “me” either.
And…the eyes. Your body becomes public property when you’re pregnant. Maybe it’s because I’m someone who has had mental health problems for years and years but someone asking me how I’m feeling ends up feeling offensive, intrusive and disingenuous.
While I originally wanted to incorporate the floofy white skirt that was in my last two paintings, I opted out of that and just highlighted my wedding ring. I really would be completely alone without him.
wHAT LITTLE HOPE i HAVE i HOLD FOR YOU
The misfortune hasn’t been strictly my own but that of my loved one so I’ve had to explore to what extent I hold their pain as my own and how to navigate that space while establishing myself as a professional. FINALLY.
Ah yes, and my leg. After a year and a month I still have nerve damage and regular nerve pain as well as chronic back pain from my herniated disc. Yes the cyst was traumatizing and Ronan’s birth with the C-section were traumatizing but not anywhere near how devastating my back injury was. Not only in its effect on my day to day life, but its lasting impact and to what extent it made me question my own strength and my body’s ability to carry on. The lightning looks pretty dope though huh.