The safety of anonymity is nothing compared to the safety of abstraction. One would never stand up in a crowded restaurant and begin divulging secrets of past loves, private fears, and personal failures; but it is expected (encouraged?) in music. This is the safe, acceptable space for the unspoken aspects of self that are never to be acknowledged in the outside world. In my art, I confess, emote, wail, beg, and expose raw pain without restraint—I am safely hidden away behind the abstraction. My confidant/mentor/therapist/lover/priest: music. I relive traumas that could never be acknowledged publicly—without shame. I let my petty jealousies have voice and indulge in unrepentant emotional catharsis…and then I systematically present them to the world.
I asked a friend recently what would happen if we spent the entire day trying to communicate a single emotion to one another. Not speaking, not miming, but watching one another. Using face and body and voice abstractly. One could touch and respond to touch, but never point to something beyond the body. One could emote vocally, but never compromise the communication with defined language. One would have to watch the face more closely than ever—not watching for a chance to speak or rearticulate an idea just heard, but merely internalizing and being receptive. How awkward.
How awkward, to not allow mitigating language or the concrete world lessen the vulnerability and trap the sensation in something finite. How terrifying, to spend a day giving oneself without hearing one’s ideas paraphrased, rearticulated, and validated by someone else. How freeing, not to justify one’s emotion with a pragmatic reference to experience....not to dilute content with explanation...