Defining Art

Art comes to us in many forms. Sometimes art is the dynamic captured moment in a photograph or the serene picturesque painting of scenery. Sometimes it is the delicate movement of dancers on stage or the brilliant, forgotten idea in the old diary lost in a box somewhere. Sometimes art is some paint splashed across a canvas or strawberries sequentially pinned onto a board. Sometimes art is a mixture of tastes and textures that enriches your palate or the presence of a character in the theatre that encapsulates you and reminds you of place so familiar. Art is so much and it is growing with each creation.

To me, art is a subjective understanding of meaning; it is ineffable, yet makes sense. Every given art form has boundaries and rules to distinguish it, yet the wonder of art is in how pieces of different shapes and colours can expand or play within those boundaries. Art is raw or refined and a place where the only idea of perfection is to match the product with the intent and vision. Art may involve getting it just right, but more often than not art is passion and truth in fruition. Art is an extension of self and an inclusion of other.

I like that art is sometimes this jumble of confusion splattered onto a page. Only when it is incubated within the artist then born violently onto the page can all see its beauty.

Do you know how to cry?

Do you know how to cry?

My 100-level Psychology professor knew how to cry. He was the most real, genuine person I’d ever met; you could never accuse him of being fake. It’s extraordinary and humbling to be in the classroom of somebody who knows and is himself. It’s shocking and revealing when he tells you he cries.

The Benefits of Crying

Crying allows you to experience and release emotions that have cluttered your subconscious and, perhaps, have been ignored. It is not necessary to be overwhelmed or overcome by emotions to cry, but I believe that the most comforting cry requires confrontation and honesty. You must face your emotions and fears with fire in your eyes, or curiosity on your face – but for you to understand or learn anything about yourself, you must acknowledge and face what you feel.

In my experience, crying allows my heart to open rather than close. I must be vulnerable and exposed. Crying is a symbolic stretching of myself where I end up bigger because of it. Have you ever woken up in the middle of night with tears streaming down your cheeks and felt a cathartic hollowness – but not emptiness – in the centre of your chest? That is the feeling of being completely vulnerable. If you have felt this before, you must know how good it can feel to cry.

Kahlil Gibran said in his book The Prophet: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?” Through the pain and hardship of life, we are able to forge peace and understanding. Life is not one extreme or another but a balance. To reject sorrow is to reject joy as both are two parts of an entire whole.

Society

Society tells us many things about crying. As men we are told never to cry in public (let alone cry at all); that crying disgraces the family; that crying means you are weak. As women we are told that we cry too much; that we are being emotional; that it does not solve our problems. However, society has not lost a loved one nor experienced the sting of hatred.

Society is afraid. The example my Psychology professor used to explain this was when his dog died. He was at the veterinarian clinic and the attendant asked if he would like to take a back route out of the building as he cried. How horrible is that? He just lost someone he loved and society wanted to save him embarrassment.

When to Cry

At the most basic level, crying was our way to communicate our needs as an infant. As an adult, we learn that it is a way for our bodies to express sadness or gratitude. When we feel overwhelmed and helpless our natural response is to cry. This is how we express our need for help, love and attention. To treat a wound you must know where it is.

Up to a certain point I cry because it hurts and it hurts because I cry. Pain is not negative by itself, rather it is a part of life. Pain is uncomfortable but pain is also a part of growth. Feeling pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong; numbing the pain with medication or ignoring it only removes it from the visibility of your consciousness to the dimness of your subconscious. The best remedies treat the symptoms and the cause.

It takes courage to cry. It takes strength to let down your guard and expose yourself. The time to cry is when you need to. One of the worst feelings in the world is to want to cry but not have the ability to.

To cry is to give yourself permission to heal and grow.

Journal

I’ve started a journal. I haven’t always kept a journal; I think the closest thing to a journal that I’ve kept was a dream log last summer. I learned wonderful things.

I guess I’d always had mixed feelings and misconceptions about journals: I figured that I was a ‘healthy’ enough human being that I could manage my life without writing out my thoughts. How wrong I was. I figured that keeping my thoughts a secret meant that I was stowing away my true identity in the pages of a book. But after writing my first journal entry, I feel so much more free to be myself because I’ve been able to tell the most important person in the world how I’ve felt – ME! Not the narcissistic needy me, but the real, living me.

The best part about the journal I’m using is that it’s digital and I can type things into it. With a physical journal I find it hard to read my own printing sometimes so it helps that I have software to type into. I don’t have to worry about losing my journal. Also, there’s a password for my journal so I can feel assured that no one sees this but me — or at least without my permission. It’s about 9 o’clock now, and after feeling some monotony, I can feel myself liven up again. Better late than never. Although it’s never too late.

If you want to know the Journal software I’m using click here.

Love is

Love is not conditional or unconditional, although love is best given and received unconditionally. Love is something greater than us that we all experience differently — so we all have something to teach, and to learn, about love. Love is not bold or timid, love is what love is; love does not apologize. Love is acceptance and understanding. Love is love.

I’m experimenting with a new layout. Hope this one makes boylouie more accessible and easy-to-navigate. I don’t have the time right now but I’ll clean up the new layout over the next few days.

Happy Birthday, Conor!