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  • cjhardeman

Everything is Terrible

Updated: Feb 28

Things are very bad in the world. Everyone I know is blinking back tears, crying in the car, crying in the shower, trying with varying degrees of success to hide it from our kids. We're scared and heartbroken and helpless, we're horror struck, we're overcome. We are filled with dread. We're angry. I'm angry. And I think we have been so disabled by a society that doesn't value anger, that actually contaminates emotions with "good" and "bad" qualifiers. We don't now how to grieve, we don't know how to be angry. We only know how to be sorry. Sorry for not being productive. Sorry for crying, sorry for yelling, sorry for not being a smooth and unbroken horizon while maniacs murder the world, and it's just such horseshit.

A few years ago, I was talking to my therapist about having been raped. You know how it is, sorry, we've all been raped, it's not really that big of a deal, it was probably my fault. At least partly, right? But at the time, Christine Blasey Ford was confronting Brett Kavanaugh and having her life ripped apart as a result and I was just. So. Angry, so my therapist suggested that I go to work and try to make an angry painting. I did, and I made a painting I haven't looked at since, but which turned out shockingly and, I felt, inappropriately beautiful.

Today my youngest child turned eleven. Kids who look like my kids are lining up for guns. It feels like everything is coming apart- everything IS coming apart and I am mad all the time. Tonight a friend asked how to get deeper into painting and I said the thing to do is to go straight to work with all of your strongest emotions. Take your anger to work, take your heartbreak. Let them make the marks they need to make. Let them into your work and maybe you'll find something out: maybe you'll find that your anger isn't ugly or heavy. Maybe you'll find that it's fucking radiant. And even if it's not, who cares? When it all comes apart, nothing needs to be good. It needs to be true. Strip it all away and that's all you've got. Not good. Just true.


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