“It’s easy to take off all your clothes and have sex. People do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes, dreams.. Now that’s being naked.”
– Rob Bell, found on Tumblr’s Soaked in Soul
I feel like I am naked all the time. I live naked. I will talk about my feelings, my thoughts, my fears, my hopes and dreams completely openly to anyone willing to let me close enough. If anything, I am often surprised by how little comes back, how little I actually know about the people around me. In the past I used to think that it was an inability to communicate, an inhibition that stopped people from sharing. Our societies frown on someone who shares freely, there is mistrust for people who are willing to feel out loud. Happiness is welcome, and often expected if not even demanded, but all other feelings must be overcome. There are people that will studiously avoid asking you how you are, because they really don’t want to have that kind of conversation.
For those of us who live naked, there is no greater disappointment than to be invisible. It’s an inversion of the emperor’s new clothes… We want people to notice, yet everyone stands around and pretends we’re wearing what they’re wearing.
Growing older has a few advantages, and experience with people is one of them. I’ve come to accept that many people simply don’t have much to share. There is no real emotional depth, there’s not much to share because they really don’t feel much. That sounds horribly condescending, and not very nice. We have been taught that everyone has feelings, just like we were told that everyone has some special talent that will come out and shine, given enough time and space. But that isn’t true.
I’m also not willing to parse the difference anymore. I find emotionally locked people not worthy of pursuit. Whether you lack emotional depth and range, or are simply too hidden to share them is really irrelevant, because the result is the same.
Art for me is an expression of feelings, of hopes, of desire. It isn’t a one-to-one translation, not every image communicates a distinct feeling. My various series were born out of specific situations, and I see them clearly when I look at them. The Americans show my confusion and fear of a new life, Hanjo was about a difficult decision I made, and the new Sacred and Profane series is about my own vulnerability, and my exploration of the feminine.
I will continue to open myself, on this blog as well as in person. And I won’t expect much in return. Because not everyone can go deep, or wants to.
“You told me you like my mouth. You want to kiss me. My mouth is a wound and you want to kiss me. But you’re like that: You want to go leaping over cliffs– you want to go drinking poison and then write pretty poems about it– and all I want to do is fuck you.”
— Daphne Gottlieb, “Why Things Burn” found on Tumblr’s Trapped in Transit