For this series, I have two artist statements because this series has multiple meanings to me. It is inspired by two separate yet autonomous issues that have affected me for quite some time, and still continue to shape me.
In the midst of an abusive relationship, I became numb by means of diversion. Before him, I ruthlessly made life give me all it had to offer. I bled every emotion out of every experience, both good and bad. When he no longer allowed me to do that, I justified his rules by changing who I was and telling myself that it was making me a better person. I decided that I would become a functioning member of society who abided by laws and social norms, with a perfectionist mentality. I lived in fear of consequences and yearned for acceptance among the masses. In other words, a “healthy” individual with a linear human condition. When I made this switch, I did not know that I wouldn’t be able to undo it.
This series encapsulates the mundanity that comes after blood, trauma, tears, promiscuity, guts, glory, highs, lows, and feeling every emotion fully at both ends of the spectrum. It follows a life of going through the motions when you have decided not to cry over spilt milk but instead, clean it up. It encapsulates the time spent alone after you’ve shut off your emotions. The nothingness while watching your garage door open after a long day of doing everything right. The numbness of refusing to feel an ex lover. The memory loss of blurring through each day just to finish it. The disconnect that helps you to feel less and push harder. The limbo of living a still life.
I went away to Chicago for a year. Moving out of Fort Wayne, Indiana had been my lifelong goal since I was 11 years old. If you are familiar with the abundance of wealthy families and white supremacist males from Fort Wayne, you can understand the toxicity of the city. It's a place where good souls and unrepentant creatives go to ruin their great minds. A place heavily bombarded by stereotypes, littering, factory waste, and radical missionaries. A place where the lifelong goal is to marry someone your peers approve of in order to raise a family that's entirely on board with hiding their emotions and telling the neighbors that the skeletons in their closet are just for the science fair. I could go on for hours, but you get the gist. And I made it out. Little did I know that I sold my soul to multiple devils to do so. One year of freedom was all that I got before extenuating circumstances arose from every angle and I was forced back to my roots. It's been nearly 3 years and I still can't breathe in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The stillness of life here haunts me every day as I feel my mind conforming to the molds that the city predetermined for me. I try to remain a square peg in a round hole but the suppressive nature of living here gives me a constant fear that I am losing the spark, divinity, and individuality that has given me so much ridicule yet so much pride in who I am. I see it every day in the way that, I too, am living a still life.