The Uncomfortable Truth of a Tortured Artist

TW: Suicide, Suicidal Ideation, Depression, Anxiety, Complaints, Mental Illness.

Do you know what it feels like to drown surrounded by people? No? Well, I’m going to tell you.


You’re four years old and you’re sitting in a classroom. There are thirty other kids, all of whom are very different. Imagine a halo. It is thickly golden, and it’s slowly descending onto the head of one particular child.

That child will be the eclipse to your moon for the next five years.


Teachers will tell you that you aren’t good enough. They will stop the entire class to tell you to be more like the chosen one. You won’t be listened to. Nothing you do will matter, nor will it ever be any good. You’ll await sit and wait for nice words to come, but they never will.

You will always be overshadowed by the chosen one. Her light will eclipse yours. You will remember this for the rest of your life. If you cannot be her, you have nothing to offer. But there’s a problem. You have a dream—a huge dream that will make you a star. Everyone will know your name, and the chosen one will fade into obscurity.


You grow older, and you’re constantly unhappy. You fade into the background, no matter what you say or what you do. Nobody cares about you. They tell you to sit down. They tell you to be quiet.

You make art, but others are the chosen ones. They are told they are better than you. You aren’t believed. You are told to stop complaining. Nobody wants to hear you out. They pretend they don’t see it happening. They say you’re not good enough. You’re back in that classroom. You’re sitting on the carpet, sobbing your little heart out because nobody wants to hear your voice.

The world moves without you. Faces pass in a blur, and nobody knows your name. They tell you to stop complaining. They tell you that feeling the way you do is just the way things are. They don’t understand your story. They don’t want to hear it. Instead, they ask what you are doing to promote yourself, instead of examine their own failure to recognise you.

They bully you. They discard you. They want to press pause on you. They won’t listen to what you’ve got to say. They tell you stop complaining. They continue to compare you. They tell you others are better than you. They push your buttons.


So, what do you do?


The ocean is warm. It’s salty. I picture myself being carried away in its light embrace. It knows my name. It whispers into my ear. I have all its attention. It cares about me. I am somebody in the blue. It listens to my complaints, and recognises them as truthful. It does not dismiss me. It presents me to the sky on a silver platter.

The chosen one is sand riding on the wind. The ocean is my companion. It gets me. It understands how I have been doomed to fail. It knows I don’t have everything they say I do. It knows I wear the chains of other’s projections and insecurities.

The ocean keeps me from falling into shadows. It has all the time for me. Ocean strips away the carpet. It helps me find my stars, so we can lie side by side. The ocean knows I shouldn’t be trapped in the pockets of other artists. It knows I should be at the top of the tree, whether that be permanent or temporarily. The ocean knows all I ask is for equality.


Do you get it now? Have your chains been broken?


Know my name. Know my name. Know my name.

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