Starting Conversations with “I’m Fine”

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Dana Hollister’s “Living with ADHD”

For me, my problems are like secrets: I only disclose them to my closest friends, and only when I am at my most vulnerable. If I want to complain about the struggles of adulthood or if I need to vent about my day, the ones with who I am most comfortable will be the ones to hear it. Despite having an amazing group of people supporting me, so much is still left unsaid, and it’s often easier to simply say “I’m fine” instead of discussing the depths of my worries.

 

Talking through these problems can be a difficult and overwhelming process. An initial barrier to these conversations is the complexity and uncertainty of these emotions that surround our problems: the root of our emotions is difficult to define and even more difficult to verbalize. Words can be inadequate in expressing feelings that are both ever-present yet intangible. It’s easy to say that my problems feel bad, but it’s more difficult to say why they make me feel bad. The use of language enforces a certain logic that may simply not apply to an emotive state, and thus having a real discussion about these problems can feel futile.

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Rachel Carruthers’ “Cold Comfort” and “Dirty Laundry”

The struggle to express ourselves underlies the beauty of our current exhibition, I’m Fine. Each of the seven featured artists navigates the introspective process through their own media: print, sculpture, video, etc. Each work is impressed upon with a vision of the moment, not necessarily elaborating upon the worry and concerns of the artist but rather depicting it. In this way, the inadequacy of words becomes a non-issue, and the language of emotions is more appropriately represented. The artist not only make sense of their personal thoughts, but also make those thoughts public and digestible to a viewing audience.

 

Though the themes of this show’s works may differ from the viewer’s day-to-day struggles, they commonly embody a cathartic process in which emotions may be explored. Not everyone has to be an artist to participate in self-care, but I’m Fine offers an alternative that hopefully starts the conversation.

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Sussannah Ward’s “Better” series

Written by Christopher Bugtong.

 

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