7/52 Paint A Giant Canvas
Last weekend I had my first psychedelic experience.
I know. Perhaps not how you expected this story to start but there ya go.
First off, let me begin by saying I am in no way promoting the use of LSD. If you want to try it make sure to do your research. It’s not for everyone and LSD has different effects on everyone so don’t mess with it. If you’re anti LSD try not to judge but read the following with an open mind or simply close this tab now.
Ok. Got that out the way. #HealthAndSafetyYo
Now, everyone had warned me to make sure that when I tried LSD, I’d try it indoors or outside in nature on a sunny day. Here’s the thing. I’m not great at following other people’s advice. I hear it and take it in but I have this quality - some may call it a flaw - where I will ultimately make up my own mind on what I’m going to do. And yes there have been times in my youth where I’d do the opposite out of sheer stubborn rebellion. #SorryMom
So, I didn’t take it in doors. Instead, this story takes place in Dalston. For those unaware with Dalston, it’s best described as a large alley where a guy once threw a party that no one ever really left. Then as time passed people keep flocking towards it because they heard it was the place to be and now the streets are swarmed with one of two types of people: Hipsters and people who look like they wanna stab you.
I may be exaggerating a bit. It’s for dramatic effect Okay!
We headed over to bar and as I went to pee the wood on the door started moving and I thought to myself. “Yup. Unless these doors are digital screens I think it’s kicked in.” I walk downstairs and suddenly feel like I’m in a bouncy castle. Or a boat. And several games of pinball made me realise how I was still me, just in what felt like a kind of Wonderland. Suddenly all those images I’ve seen of what people say it looks like when you’re on LSD made sense.
But the really cool moment came when we sat down and I looked out into the pub, at the tables of people on their night out. I felt like I was in a painting. It was life. It was art. You could see how everything is made up of the same thing and that we’re all one.
You may be thinking, “Yeah okay whatever Nina, what I really wanna know is, how did you react?”
Well. I cried. A lot. It turns out I have a lot of feelings. And, that I’m a crier.
Don’t worry though, it wasn’t a break down, my life is horrid type of cry. It was more a genuine love for the world type of cry and a frustration of all the feelings I’d been keeping inside for so long. Also, the world was breaking my heart and making me fall in love all at the same time.
Walking around the streets made me wonder why the world isn’t nicer to itself, why people aren’t nicer to each other. Why people hold on to grudges or how some get so bored with their own uninspired lives that they need to find small things to get angry at. Why can’t we all be on the same side and have each others back? I’d forgotten that regardless of all that bullshit I've been through with certain people, I’d rather live in full expression and love, than closed off and cynical.
And I'm not saying that I'm perfect. I've thrown my fair share of punches. (In a metaphorical sense of course)
There was a moment at a different bar where I looked down at the drink in my hand and said “I don’t want this. Am I meant to want this? Is this place meant to be fun? Is this a test World? Have I failed?”
Life up until we graduate from university feels like a test doesn’t it? You feel like you’re being tested by your parents, by your boss, even by your friends and there are all these systems put into place by no one really knows who, which we just follow blindly. I felt like the World was showing me how trapped so many of us feel. We walk around thinking we're happy and fulfilled but are really missing the point of it all. This is your playground. Go play! Go Explore! It should be fun.
However, the bottomline of this experience was the freedom I experienced. It was incomparable to any previous moment in my life. I didn't care about what anyone thought, had no self deprecating internal dialogue going on and for the first time in my life I truly felt what it meant to be unapologetically me:
“Yeah World! This is me. This is what ya get! Turns out I'm a crier! What ya gonna do about it!?”
I think we can all relate with the idea of having gremlins hang out in our heads. They like to tell us we're not enough as we are and it takes daily effort to keep them quiet. I for one feel like I've been actively hanging out with all of them over the past 10 months, trying to face them so I can get rid of them rather than shove them down with external achievement just for them to crop back up at a later date. Ain't nobody got time to deal with this shit for another 80 years.
I’ve currently got a lot of projects on the go. Now, where as before I would feel an immense pressure to make it all succeed, I’ve been feeling really relaxed over the past few weeks. It’s a lot to do so it’s felt overwhelming but I’m doing the things I’m doing because they bring me joy. I like giving my time to these projects and like the people I work with on them. Regardless if they “do well” whatever that really means doesn’t matter. Even if everyone hates it all, I’ll survive. The world is my lab; I’m experimenting and testing things out. I suppose we’re lucky if someone finds even a sparkle of value in what we do. I’ve always chased freedom, when freedom is really just feeling secure within your own skin and all these projects are helping me get there. And that, I suppose is the ultimate thing to strive for. If you’ve got that, you’re good.
This is why I believe art is so important. It mirrors our souls back to us. We head to cinemas to watch other people feel so that we don’t have to. We hear artists sing the feelings we find so challenging to express. We don’t tell that person we love them. We don’t stand up for ourselves. We shy away from making a drastic life change. Art reminds us of what we’re capable of if we let ourselves be.
So dear read, thanks for sticking with me till the end here. To bring us back to the task of the week, the painting I painted was inspired by my LSD trip. It represents this incredible world we live in where everything is connected. It’s meant to remind me of the possibility and of the universe I can create for myself if I keep going and trusting the process of doing and creating and loving the entire experience. And love. Love is important. So is vulnerability. But, I think it’s important to remember that you are you and they are them and despite connection, it doesn’t mean you are one. Okay?
And for those that see this artwork up real close will be able to make out the words written along the side of the painting. Words I borrowed from good ol’ trusty Dr. Seuss:
“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”
Okay world. I hear ya.