Just Let It Out

Carter Bernard, Staff

There have been many moments in my life where I felt so many emotions at once that I thought I was going to fly into a fit of rage or hysterical sobbing. But I’ve been told that is “not very appropriate in a movie theatre, sir.” I would bottle up those feelings and shove them down into a pit in my soul to ignore. This is something that I’m trying to do less. What usually helps me is expressing myself through writing, singing, drawing, dancing, and wearing yellow, even though I’ve been told it doesn’t look good on me. It seems cliche, but even now, I’m writing this for no one but myself. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. 

Of course, I appreciate validation for what I do. I make things for people and try to impress my peers, but creating for the sake of what I want to make instills a more honest feeling of happiness in me. That being said, it sure is gut-wrenching when someone announces their negative opinions of my creations to the world, especially when it is completely personal. It’s an insult to be told what I’m feeling and what I’m expressing is wrong. If it’s not for you, and I’m not hurting anyone or myself, keep the negative opinions to yourself.

On the days I let go of my inner restraints and fearlessly express myself, it gets rid of those bad feelings and further shapes my sense of identity. I sing off-key in the shower, dance like a fool in the kitchen, animate to a new song, nonsensically vent, and read the cutest zombie apocalypse lesbian comic you’ll ever see. And yes, I. Wear. Yellow.

Emotions are complicated; every day we experience the world as it presents itself, and the smallest things are able to impact us like a meteor. Rushing into us without warning, they can overwhelm us making it harder to understand ourselves, more than it already is. But by putting the feelings I always have bubbling at the surface of my mind in front of me, I can deal with them. That is why I truly value my self-expression because it can turn my feelings into something I can hold in my hands — something tangible. I reread my writing and ask myself why I wrote it, I pay attention to the songs I’m singing, and I try to figure out why I draw what I draw. And when I examine this, I find that my artistic expression demonstrates the nuances of my feelings and experiences. It is my own free therapy; it is my own catharsis. 

It is through the expression of my feelings and compartmentalizing them that I find some sort of clarity in what I make of myself. Ironically, finding clarity with my emotions through creative expression actually makes it easier to create all the things that represent what I’m going through. The best part is that I don’t have to do it for anyone else, and because I am not asking for approval, I can be even more honest. It feels nice to take all the chaos swirling inside of me and just let it out.

When we are creative, we don’t have to be afraid of what we make, as it always helps us to solidify our identity. I animate. I draw. I sing. I write. I bake cookies at midnight. What about you?