I have hope. I find hope, over and over and over again. But maybe today, I just want to acknowledge how tiring that’s been.
Dearest Doodle Soupsters,
These are two of my paintings from my Into the Light collection. The one to the left is “Into the Light, part 1” and the one to the right is “Into the Light, part 2.”
Shortly after I finished them, at the end of 2021, I wrote:
I’m still searching for something in this pair of paintings.
They hang on my wall in my apartment: the left one hangs above my table, and the right one hangs above my bed, where I keep my pillow and rest my head at night.
There’s heaviness, but the heaviness is purple. There’s light, but it’s not separate from the darkness. The light seems somehow embedded in the darkness.
I’m asking: What is day without night? What is night without day? What does it mean to exist? What does it mean to live fully? How is it that deep, heavy pain makes for even more lightness, awe, gratitude, and joy during my moments of peace and contentment? What is the role of my past experiences of trauma, abuse, loss, and feeling completely lost in this world in shaping who I am and where I stand now? In other words, who am I without having experienced darkness and who am I without having experienced the light? And are these questions just another way of saying that night and day are at once hopelessly and beautifully intertwined? How do we describe or comprehend anything without contrast and comparison? Can we?
It’s painfully obvious to me that I’m still searching — and that it’s not a bad thing, just uncomfortable. So today, I have questions, lots of them. Another day, I’ll have clarity. I’m okay with this.
Sometimes, we say we’re okay with things because we want to be okay with them. And, I believe that some part of me was okay with this, was able to make peace with this contrast, this uncertainty, this feeling of searching.
There’s a lot of simultaneous pain and hope in these words, in these paintings.
Almost two years later, I’m still searching for something in these paintings. I thought I found it, but there’s always more, isn’t there?
In some moments, it feels frustrating. Another layer, another layer, another layer … another ball of tangled threads to gently separate and name … another point of confusion that brings with it a million others … another question that raises more and more questions along with it.
I have hope. I find hope, over and over and over again. But maybe today, I just want to acknowledge how tiring that’s been. How crucial and fulfilling and exhausting, all of it.
Hope is one piece of the puzzle of finding meaning in this existence, one part of survival and one part of healing. Sharing in honest admissions of how hard life can be is another.
And so I’ll admit it to myself, and to you: Life has been hard.
During struggle after struggle, growing up and for some time afterward, I felt so alone. I reached out for a hand to hold, for support, to feel understood in my pain … I was met with misunderstanding, cruel words, more abuse, betrayal … I just wanted to be held in my pain and my ache … I just wanted a soft place to land … I just wanted to rest … my head was all spun around and I couldn’t even admit to myself how exhausted I was … I wanted connection … I wanted to be embraced as my full self, including my darkness, including my pain, including my story, what I’d endured … I hurt and blamed myself because that became easier than facing all the pain and disappointment I felt about others … my body felt like it was on fire … so many flashbacks, so many body memories, so much pain it was my normal … I didn't know what it felt like to feel safe and loved … I didn’t know what it felt like to not be alone in this world, alone in the truth I couldn’t speak, words I tried to get out and was shut down … I just wanted a soft place to land, I just wanted a soft place to land … the fact that I have one now doesn’t automatically reverse the wounds … wounds cannot be reversed, scars cannot be taken away … the healing is in the pain, in feeling all the pain I couldn’t let myself feel before … healing is untangling the lies I told myself to get through … to walk through a burning house, we focus on the door, just get out, just get out, no time to feel, no time to cry, no time to lay down and call out in agony, just go, just go, just get out …
Oh yes, the healing is in the pain, in feeling all the pain I couldn’t let myself feel before.
With grief and honesty,
Nicole Sylvia Javorsky