self as performance – self-exploration in public

Why am I so publicly sharing my exploration of self? Why am I engaging with the solipsistic themes of self, identity, introspection and ‘I, I, I’? I know there are many asking these questions. Someone once said to me, “The personal is never as important as the political.” For me, there is no politics outside of the personal.

The answer is simple: The ‘I’ and ‘the world,’ ‘the private’ and ‘the public,’ ‘self’ and ‘other,’ ‘relationship with self’ and ‘relationships with others’ are inextricably related. I cannot relate to the world, the public and the other and have relationships with them until I understand myself. I cannot function as a human being until I explore what it means to be human, and in order to explore that and then relate to the world of human beings, I need to create myself as an individual, by my own definition. I am only an individual in relation to the world, in relation to others.

My self-exploration thus stems from the passionate belief that if I am not myself I simply mirror, mimic and assimilate by being what others see me as, by being what society views me to be. And for me, that is existing, not living. And that is why this journey is so important to me. I have flirted in a macabre dance with self-annihilation in its literal and figurative sense for too long. Facing the loss of self by my own hand has awakened within me a powerful instinct, not to survive, but to live passionately and creatively as myself.

I have learnt that there is only thing more insidious than society’s suffocating need to put me in a box of labels. And that is my own need to limit, label and inhibit myself out of a need to belong to that society. ‘That society’ is a ‘them’ vs. a ‘me’ that is terrified, small and voiceless; a me that has had a strong need to see myself as a victim, a sensitive, poetic, visionary who was not meant for ‘that society,’ a self who is only mistreated, misunderstood and hurt by ‘that society.’ But I’ve realised that ‘that society’ does not exist outside of my own pathological delusions. ‘That society’ is something I’ve existed in opposition to for too long.

The society that exists in reality is simply a group of people, a group of human beings struggling with what it means to be human, struggling to be an individual, fighting daily with what it means to be an individual in relation to a society that we’ve collectively decided exists without us and controls who we are.

All I want to do is share the world as I see it, thereby giving validity to my vision, giving that vision a voice, hopefully inspiring others’ voices. I have been voiceless for three decades, playing the ventriloquist’s dummy to what I thought I ought to be. And in order to play that dummy convincingly, I have labelled myself in various ways, inhabiting those roles and those selves as a madwoman in a straitjacket.

Life Writ Large is the vehicle through which I explore life outside of that straitjacket, outside of the loony bin’s walls, outside of the other walls and boundaries that I convinced myself existed. And for the first time in a very long time I am able to explore myself with the freedom that only comes from knowing that there are no boundaries, walls, identities and realities outside of the world of illusion and its map of comfortably inhabited territories that are safe and well-trodden.

Those territories and paths are no longer safe for me, because I’ve overcome the terror of acknowledging that I was desperately uncomfortable and unhappy inhabiting and travelling them.

So I will continue to explore, to create, to transgress. And I will continue to do so publicly. Because without the public, the private has no reality, no validity for me. To undertake this journey without a world with which I can communicate the me(s) that I find would be to be truly self-obsessed and solipsistic, because all, and everything, I’m trying to do is to relate the truth of who I am to the truth of who you are. Everything outside of that, for me, is meaningless.

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One thought on “self as performance – self-exploration in public

  1. Pingback: My 3-year anniversary as an artist, a creative, a creator of self | life writ large

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