top of page

I Try to Map Out the Pain But There Are No Words

This sculpture is me reflecting on the simultaneous beauty and utter horror of humanity.

Dearest Doodle Soupsters,

“I try to map out the pain but there are no words.”

That’s the title of this 3D piece I finished this week.

The title is inspired by the lyrics of Jensen McRae’s song “Happy Girl.”

Her song goes like this:

These days, not sure where the bruise is

Everywhere hurts

Say, "Chin up, sad girl"

The truth is it could be worse

You want to meet in the middle

We both make wrong turns

I try to map out the pain

But there are no words

Know you wanted a happy girl

I can lie if I cannot learn

How to become a happy girl

I can act like a happy, happy girl

Happy girl, happy girl

I can act like a happy girl

My sculpture came from something I’ve been processing lately …

I wanted so badly to believe that there are no bad people. I wanted to believe that these were merely people in pain. I didn’t want to see that sometimes, people make bad choices and it has a real impact on the people around them.

The thing is … in giving people the benefit of the doubt to an extreme, I ended up blaming myself for other people’s actions. Other people were allowed to mess up. Other people deserved respect. I couldn’t matter because if I mattered, well the truth was harder to take in.

I try to map out the pain but there are no words. This lyric kept returning to me. While I showered. While I walked to the train. While I made this sculpture.

I know you wanted a happy girl.

I can lie if I cannot learn.

Yes, that’s how I felt. It didn’t matter how I felt inside. It couldn’t. That would make the expectations I faced from my family too much to take. To be a happy girl. No space to simply be who I am, feel how I feel. No support for the pain …

This sculpture expresses the magic I have inside of me, all of the good, the love, and creativity bursting from me that I want to share with everyone. I want to twirl around, skip down the sidewalk singing, “I am free, open your eyes, the sky is boundless, so are we!”

Yet, this sculpture also expresses a darkness. All this sick, twisted logic that kept my younger self so trapped, stifled, muffled, yearning to be free of that bitter taste in my mouth. The bitter taste that comes from the lies stuffed down my throat. The nausea that comes from the gaslighting. The weight on my chest that comes from all the times I tried so hard to change what wouldn’t budge.

You don’t know how many times I tried to explain myself to loved ones who refused to see or hear me, and thus refused to truly love me. You don’t know how many times I asked for help. How many times I tried to scream, and no one heard me. How many times I tried to break free before I finally did. How many nights I lay awake in bed with my pillow over my chest, the bittersweet naïveté, how I thought I could protect myself — how I thought it was my job — to protect myself and everyone else all on my own. Even adults need help. We need support. I was just a kid. I feel this bittersweet relief, finally letting myself grieve …

It’s the perfect metaphor, no? Trying to stop a bullet with a pillow. Little did I know the people who do such a thing to child are often cowards, the kind to make empty threats to anyone isolated and vulnerable enough to believe them.

This piece reminds me a bit of the board game, The Game of Life. Something circular rising from the board. A map. Pathways. Winding roads that turn back around and loop, and squiggle, and churn.

This piece is also me reflecting on the simultaneous beauty and utter horror of humanity. We are such a beautiful species. Capable of art and poetry, romance, love, deep friendships. We debate philosophy. We write stories with words, music, TV, movies, plays, etc. And humans are also capable of extreme cruelty, too.

I don’t know what to do with that. But I know this —

Seeing people for who they are

This existence for what it is

Allows me to truly know the magic and beauty

And the pain is the truth too

And this truth allows me to see myself and others more clearly

I don’t have to pretend to be happy

I won’t be your happy girl

I’ll be happy when I’m happy

Sad when I’m sad

Angry when I’m angry

I’ll keep trying to map out the pain, even when there are no words

My wounds are my maps to healing

I don’t need to live for others

I need to live for myself

And living for myself means living in accordance with my values too

I don’t need to hide my full self in order to be worthy of love, or being seen, or being heard

I don’t need to hold myself accountable for what others did

I am responsible for my own actions

They are responsible for theirs

Not everyone is cruel

Seeing what’s really there and being able to hear my own voice is how I’m able to know when someone is willing to love me the way I’m willing to love them

Eyes, ears, heart open, trying,

Nicole Sylvia Javorsky


bottom of page