Art is by far the most alluring and sexy form of self-expression. It simultaneously serves its devotees as a useful coping mechanism that can help individuals in response to psychological stress. Coping strategies are defined as the behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that people use to adjust to the changes that occur in everyday life, while maladaptive coping mechanisms are those that work counter-intuitively to instrumental coping, otherwise known as problem-solving. With the application of art, humans have been able to paint a vivid picture of the complexities and intricacies of the robust human condition. The following link is a one minute long video of my personal favorite form of self-expression – poetry. I warn you in advance that it contains slightly abrasive and profound content! This is how I fight back ; )
Fuck this clutter, jumble, fucking jungle of thoughts and doubts,
I’ve heard enough from myself, from the world at large,
touting death and trouble at every intermission,
but the crowds can’t listen when in chemical bliss.
Well, fuck this, there’s too much to miss if I worry,
don’t cast out, don’t write down all my intuitions,
poetry blossoming in fruition, divine intervention
is murdered apprehension. Fuck all the zealots, bigots,
pigs running prisons, holding AK’s in threatening positions
when the whole world could be holding hands –
fuck how they say it ends, I’ve still got my mission
to look oblivion in the eye and not cry, embrace a brave disposition.
Fuck what the pessimists tell you, try to sell you,
misery is not free and will probably kill you.
Or if not at least fuck with your head,
crush it into the ground, everyone looking on so proud.
But not me…
This anger boils so passionately, disastrously
overflowing into the streets, pushing and shoving,
stepping on feet, glaring down passerby so murderously.
I can’t sleep and the days are getting shorter
or maybe my eyes are getting blinder, wider,
pupils dilated like quarters – makes sense with the dimes
in my bloodstream, cloudy eyes reflecting nothing,
nothing, nothing at all. Well nothing is something
it just takes some creativity, dreamy reality, obliterated formality.
It just takes some love and a semblance of unity,
something to hold onto while ignoring the drudgery.
Just believe, believe wholeheartedly,
and maybe someday I’ll see you in eternity.
Literature, and more specifically poetry, are but two of a myriad of expressive and deeply moving art forms. Paintings dating back an estimated 30,000 years show evidence of sporadic bursts of artistic innovation in our early human ancestors. Still more ancient is our innate affinity and appreciation for music, with rhythm serving as a vital element of communication for millenia. Rhythm can even be observed extending back on an evolutionary scale to our primate relatives, and while much of human creativity remains a mystery to us, the wonders of its imaginative and communicative power are truly awe-inspiring.
Through art, our species has been able to grasp a much deeper understanding of ourselves and of our universe. Getting in tune with and harnessing our emotions, however, continues to be a daunting and elusive task for many. While scientists have yet to fully understand the ancillary nature of art, its profound effects are truly unmistakable. I encourage every person who stumbles upon these words to go out and experiment with a new form of creation! Create something meaningful to you, something that gives others a peek into your powerful soul. Try expressing your sincerest, innermost emotions. As the pen is my sword, let art be the weapon you use to fight the world’s woes. I promise you won’t regret it!
For a detailed summary of coping styles and strategies visit: http://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/How_Do_You_Cope