Coronavirus response: The gap

The Coronavirus and me. We have become intertwined. It has entered me. And now it lives inside of me. As a part of me.

you and me

Two parts of me
Two parts of you
Make up a whole.
.
Two parts of me
Two parts of you
In need of caring

I made this drawing well into the lock down when I was feeling disturbed, itchy, agitated, unruly. I started with a half hour (or longer?) moment sitting in the dark in a pitch black bathroom. It was then the first moment of being all by myself, not having to see anything and not being seen by anyone. Just me and myself. In the dark. Literally and metaphorically.

It touched me very deeply to be able to be with just me. When I came out of the bathroom I knew very clearly what I was going to make. I don’t think i have ever known so clearly what to make as right there. That kind of knowing, that kind of clarity is rare and powerful and I see it reflected in the yellow eyes of my drawing.

When I had the outline of the figure I somehow had the idea that I was going to end up with a good part and a bad part. A pleasing part and an ugly, unwanted part. But the drawing taught me along the way that both parts were meant to be beautiful in their own way.

In my drawing I see a gap, separating the figure in my drawing into two parts. I see a mirroring of shapes and colors in both parts of this figure. I see a turbulent, wildness on the outside of the figure. And black lines that define inside from outside.

A gap is a space for something new

I see very clearly that we are living through a split moment. There is the usual hustle and bustle that moved online and continues as if nothing is different now. That part seems to be be blind to the fact that we can’t go on like this, that this moment calls for a pause. And there is the other part that ground to a halt. That suddenly didn’t know how to go on. That has dropped into a silence, louder than the highway during rush hour. This part has paused, quietly, while the world rages on outside.

I feel very strongly that I too have been split in two by this crisis. A part of me is relieved that we, as a society are finally slowing down, that we are taking a break. Because that part is tired of always running behind. The other part of me is urging me to turn this crisis into an opportunity, to move swiftly into the space that is opening up in this new reality. Because that part is eager to make a difference in the world.

I feel split on the inside and on the outside. Between two beautiful parts that, for now, have lost each other. And that gap between them. Well that gap has beauty too. Despite the uncomfortableness, it is a space. It is a space where something new will come.

the gap

Each part needs the other to grow.
One needs the other to see.
One needs the other to move.
.
The key is care.
The key is capacity for grief
And fear.
The key is holding.
The key is looking towards the light.

In this split in time and in being something interesting happens. There is a fork in the road. So when I look ahead all I see is uncertainty. How could I possibly know what is next. even tomorrow is uncertain. So there is a gap between today and tomorrow, between me here and now and future me. Everything I had projected into the future has evaporated. So there is grief. And I need to care for that part.

But in me there is also a part that longs for something else. A future that holds aspirations that I have never said out loud for fear of jinxing them. I was reminded in a call with my Expressive Arts teacher Barbara Hielscher-Witte that creativity is about bridging the gap, it’s about pulling the future closer with our imagination by creating [ art ]. I feel that more clearly now than ever. Creating art is creating yourself. I create myself and my future each time I paint or draw or write. That is all the truth I know right here and now.

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