Well, here’s a confession for you. (I can hear my professors groaning already.)
Here I am, 500 miles from home, 6 weeks into an internship that is ideally supposed to lead to a mass creation of artwork through which I can express a whole lot of thoughts and feelings about human trafficking… and I have nothing to show for it.
Last semester I read a whole bunch of books and articles and watched a whole bunch of documentaries and learned a lot of stuff about human trafficking. It was all very heartbreaking, but there were some inspiring stories among the wreckage. I was moved to tears more than once. I used to think I was too emotionally stable for frequent bouts of crying. No crying at movies, no crying at books. (Seriously, I’m stone cold. The Notebook has nothing on me.) However, I think last semester sort of ruined that reputation. More than once, a resident stopped by my door to ask why I was sobbing all over my laptop. I thought, “Lovely. All of these stories and emotions are going to turn out some fine artwork.” Because normally that’s how I put them to use. So when I got to NC, one of the first things I did was unpack my art supplies and set up shop. Only I haven’t touched them since.
(Believe me, I tried. I have several half-finished attempts to put something on paper, but none of it will stick!) I guess I feel a responsibility to do justice to all the stories and emotions. Before I was reading about strangers’ experiences, but these are girls I have met. The stuff I’m trying to paint isn’t at all poetic or beautiful, so why am I trying to make it poetic and beautiful? I’m not sure where to put it all. It’s just ugly. I want it to stay ugly and forgotten.
I have a mild case of stage fright. I know the only way to go is forward: start drawing, sketching, writing some words. The answers will come. I just thought it was worth noting the overwhelming sensation of being frozen. I’m not here to pretend I’m always right and I always know what I’m doing. Life’s a little messy I’m not a genius, and I don’t feel too much like an artist today. Tomorrow I am getting out my paints anyway.