Relationships can suck.
Let me be more specific – a failed relationship can suck. And, let’s face it, most of our relationships are bound to end poorly. That just seems to be a pretty statistical fact. There are a lot of shitty things that come from the dissolution of romance. Sadness. Anger. Depression. The loss of a friendship (possibly several). But in this exasperated state, sometimes the most beautiful things bloom up. Especially in the form of art.
Nothing helps you reconnect with your artwork quite like the grief that comes with heartache. We use art to process, to make sense of what we’re going through, to come to terms with what we’re losing; or have lost. Sure, we all need some time to mope, but once you get through that first phase of just total disconnection from everything, it helps to channel your feelings into something worthwhile.
Think of it for a second.
Think about your favorite songs, your favorite poems, your favorite paintings and stories. Most of the great ones have come from a period of deep, deep sadness. Some of (well, if I’m being honest, most of) my favorite records came about from the artist dealing with the pain of a failed relationship. All of these masterpieces that wouldn’t have been created had it not been for the feeling of having your heart ripped out by someone you love(ed).
Art created from pain and loss seems to carry with it a deeper emotional range than work inspired by other emotions (not always true, but often). This is probably a slightly inaccurate interpretation of literature (though honestly, that seems to be all too common nowadays, anyway), but it makes me this of something I read by Edmund Burke while I was in school. He writes of pain and the sublime that “it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling. I say the strongest emotion because I am satisfied the ideas of pain are much more powerful than those which enter on the part of pleasure. Without all doubt, the torments which we may be made to suffer are much greater in their effect on the body and mind, than any pleasure which the most learned voluptuary could suggest.” I think that’s why this painful emotion translates to art so well. The great art is made from the sublime which is so powerful its effects are stronger. That’s what makes creating art from this sublime state so oddly beautiful.
So when you’re feeling in that hole and nothing seems like it will help, then it’s time to start creating. I find that I’m never as drawn to writing (go figure, that’s my personally preferred form of art) as I am when it’ll help me cope and make sense of that I’m thinking and feeling. There’s something wholly therapeutic about thinking of the most beautiful way to express your sorrows that nothing else quite compares to. This feeling of loss has driven me to write poems, stories, lyrics, essays.
There’s just something miraculous about how feeling like total shit can truly inspire you. You may have lost something really important in your life, but at least you’re able to create something beautiful that could last a lifetime as a result. One thing’s for sure, it will last a whole lot longer than your failed relationship.
So take advantage of the pain you’re feeling and let it get you to reconnect with your passion. Create something beautiful that you’ll be proud of for a long time. Or at least start making something that will help you process and make sense of what you’re feeling – that’s really all we can do anyway.