This painting is the third in a series of paintings inspired by the songs of Canada's female singer-songwriters. Fall to Pieces by Hilary Grist is the inspiration for this piece, a haunting tune in which the dissonance between the hopeful lyrics and the melancholy melody create a beautiful discord.
If my world crumbles down on me
i won't fall to pieces, i won't fall to pieces
if the air gets hard to breathe
i wont fall to pieces, i won't fall to pieces now
This song really speaks to something I have been thinking about a lot lately, which is my relationship to safety. On the one hand, I crave a sense of safety in my life so strongly that I can see how my entire life has been centered around trying to feel safe. As a survivor of childhood trauma, my brain can interpret danger in just about any situation, so this is a futile pursuit at best. I am triggered often and without any warning. When I am triggered, it can start a cycle of depression and anxiety that can last between hours and months, depending on the severity of the trigger. When I am in the middle of this, it often feels like I have fallen to pieces, and like Humpty Dumpty, will never be put back together again.
On the other hand, I also actively shape my life by pursuing things that terrify me, and have been known to say frequently that I would rather live a meaningful life than a comfortable one. I take chances and put myself out there in the world daily. I open myself up to an often cruel world by sharing intimate pieces of myself, and somehow trust that I will be ok through the process.
I guess that is why this song appeals to me so much. To me it is the conversation between the part of you that knows and trusts that you will survive whatever life throws your way, and the scared part that is convinced that tragedy is around the next corner.
David Whyte has a beautiful quote about this. He says:
"Of course there's a part of you that's terrified. The larger part of us has to put an arm around the part of us that's afraid. The part of you that's afraid isn't supposed to be the part that goes forward. So you put a loving arm around the part of you that isn't able."
I guess that is all we can do. Put a loving arm around the part of us that isn't able, and keep stepping forward, one foot at a time.
Fall to Pieces is a 12x12 original painting, mixed media on board. It will be part of an upcoming exhibit at Silk Gallery January 2018.