The Trauma of a Space and its Conflation with Loss and Anger

I have considered myself an artist for a long time now – having had a few shows here and there and making and continuing to make what would be considered “conceptual” and “contemporary” work for a while now. Despite not showing or even trying to show this work anymore I still make in my own capacity. But the making has remained in my own world as I struggle to attend ‘art world’ events but nonetheless try. A huge part of me has abandoned that world. Each anticipated attendance brings with it a new set of anxieties and much apprehension. I feel abandonment through it even though rationally I know ‘it’ has done nothing to me. The reason for all of this is a conflation of my own trauma associated with an event in my past that I have now linked to these art spaces.

It is a story of emotional trauma, sudden loss and the witnessing of violence. It has also affected others. Someone important was lost and I associate this someone with art world spaces. I mention trauma and speak of it because it is something often unheard and kept locked inside for so many – where we are expected to hide it. My anxiety returns this week because I wish to attend an event that will feature important discussion, important issues that need to surface and must be talked about within the art world.

This is a topic I would normally be enthused and fascinated by because it is an event that provides a great space for learning. My ears should be open to listen, decode, empathize, understand and engage. I worry, though, that this will be clouded by my own internal distraction with sadness, extreme guilt, resentment, anger and defiance….and more anger. What bad memories will come back? Or will they? They might not, but I don’t feel in control of them. Sometimes I don’t know when they will hit me and other times I am very good at compartmentalizing them or pushing them back even when they involve horrible visuals or even when I wake up with a dream lingering. So this week I wait with apprehension and anxiety. My determination to make myself go to this event is also attended by a faint hope that the more I do this the easier it will get.

I don’t want to give the impression that this experience is exceptional. It is not exceptional; in fact it is very common. Sharing is simply a way of feeling acknowledgment. Even though it is just a blog and even though my trauma is small when compared to the trauma of so so many others in this world. I wish to feel this acknowledgment through sharing. And through this sharing I also hope to lessen the anxiety.


About erin bosenberg
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