Writing About Art

Entry by: Daisy

2nd June 2015

The first time she truly entered her mind,
It was a normal grey English afternoon.
Her art therapist handed her a badge which just said, 'be'.
There was no further information,
It was confusing, what was it supposed to mean?
"'Be' who you are, be who you want to be -
Only you can set yourself free."

She pinned the badge to her satchel determined to understand his enthusiasm.
Over the months he demonstrated many artistic ways in which she could feel;
Illustrating the horror of what banged in her head - making her reel.
Bravely she undertook the task of seeing the beast within:
Remembering every conversation that she'd ever had;
Snap-shots of the moments of injustice she had endured in her short life;
Without meaning to, she had rebelled against her childhood strife.
Starving in a protest she didn't understand,
The images on the paper reflected her despair first-hand.
Feeling guilty for the pain she had inflicted,
She politely drew the demons - characters without words,
And better understood why she had been mentally convicted.

A few years passed, she drew most days -
Three years at art school to channel her creative ways.
At home she never stopped working -
Daily she drew a self-portrait to check what might be lurking;
Hours spent staring into a mirror to accept God's nude,
She asked who she would be when she was grown up -
She'd no better idea of what she had been.
Lost in no man's land, hoping to catch the glimpse of her ghost;
But nobody thought it of import to help her find the crying child -
The main drama was over, the past forgotten by those with delicate tastes.

Daily her sketchbook was the most disturbing in class -
Flirting with images of self-harm and suicide;
Her public flagellation tolerated because it was of spiritual consolation.
She did the work fast and faced up to her humiliation;
Methodical, symbolic, and honest.
Her tutors wondered for her personal safety;
She drew her story as they questioned,
Just how unstable could this waif be?

Convinced that her art was now going around in circles,
She considered the philosophy of the badge which said, 'be',
And told her tutors that she was leaving to be an academic -
There was no future in her brand of art.
"I'm sorry," she explained. "It's no longer good for me."
"Are you sure? You're an artist, this is where you belong.
Artists don't write essays. I think you're wrong."
For the second time in her life someone challenged her on who she could be.
The battle horn had been sounded -
She politely agreed to disagree.

She put the sketchbooks in her car-boot:
Determined to swap her life from a paintbrush to a pen;
Making a promise to herself to start again.
How could she liberate and set herself free?
All art school had taught her was who she didn't want to be.
She bought some new clothes and dyed her hair,
But, art was fluid - bound to escape the page it had been set upon.
Feeling lost - she began to try her work on.
Tattoos contrasted with dresses and stilettos -
Her body became the canvas on which she then wrote,
Convinced it would one day tell the story of her suicide note.
An unstable Romantic - narrating quietly on flesh that wasn't seen;
Only on her death would viewers behold the true story of what had been.

At university she became the academic she had hoped;
Despite multiple break-downs - she coped.
A transcript of three years was all society wanted;
The 'truth' barely mattered - words were easily manipulated.
Pictures were just propaganda in her course of inquiry,
To be locked in a museum for casual conformation.
But she still etched on herself the honest pain that society ignored,
Her body was worth more than a thousand words.

She desired to tell the art therapist -
She had at least tried to be as honest as she could be,
Even if her future was something she was still waiting to see.
Her story - artistically written in ink and blood;
Because words were too easily forgotten, not permanent enough.
The pictures on her skin redefined how her adolescent life had passed;
In the darkness she had rediscovered the lost child at last.