Today we seek to talk about the art of denial and the denial of art in response to comments readily volunteered by readers – “I am not an artist,” “I don‘t have a creative bone in my body” and “It doesn’t matter whether I paint or not, does it?”
Author Arnold Patent states, “Everyone has at least one talent that is not only worthy of being expressed, but must be expressed for the individual to be at peace with himself and his universe. The talents want out. Holding them in requires effort. We hold them in at our peril and at great cost to our physical and spiritual well-being.”
Everyone uses denial to a greater or lesser degree to avoid painful experiences and elements of one’s self we have learned are less acceptable. But when that coping mechanism is a way of life, it compromises our own values and priorities and we do not know who we are.
The need to create continues but is met with an automatic, mainly unconscious, blanket denial about being an artist. We are not the boss of ourselves and are preoccupied with illusions of safety; our evolution is blocked
Denial will tax the body. When what is bred in the bone is denied, at some level, we know that at the very basis of our being, we are living a lie. And the brain is paying a tax – certain neural circuits languish unused, unvalued, while others race about all day intent on creating a world for us in which our values and priorities are rejected.
Perhaps these taxes are the basis for so-called age-related diseases of bone and brain.
We will look at amnesia as a coping mechanism in an upcoming column about dissociation.
A friend who proof read our column commented, “I come from a background that never considered art in any form to be a value that was needed in life to thrive, and this I’m sure influences my thoughts and words.”
The blessing of all of this is that we can recognize the desire to create this lifeline into our birthright, to our own values and priorities and being who we really are. The avenue of expression is the road home.
What has been assimilated in the formative years is not all there is; there is a bigger picture.
It is not about the painting, it is about the painter. With support and sharing, we can break down denial, come out of the closet, pants no longer on fire and “occupy” ourselves.
– If you would like to talk about your art or comment on what you see here or would like to see here, we can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.