Is trust really an “idea worth spreading?”
If life circumstances keep shattering our trust, is there a point to try to keep trusting?
I’m living on an island for two weeks painting about feelings.
I’ve done it before. (Check it out here.) Let’s just say there’s a lot of time to think about important concepts that I’ve battled with for a long time…like trust.
You could say that I’ve had a lot of bad luck with trust over the past ten years. Nearly thirty surgeries, a decade in and out of hospitals, medical traumas galore, and the “burden” of mapping out a new path for myself after life clearly had different plans from what I had expected growing up as a teen. Throw in divorce and the betrayal of an esteemed mentor in my life, and “trust” has been a word which has definitely lost meaning at times for me.
But art is the greatest revamp-er of words, breathing back new life into that concept. What about you? Do you trust?
I just got to my residency and have been pretty busy already. I was thinking about a common theme in my life, and I think everyone’s life — building up trust in something, having it shatter, and building up trust again. What does it feel like to have a kid-like awe and trust in the world?
What does trust mean to you?
Why should we keep trusting if our trust is constantly broken?
1: I put my trust in trees, Nature, family. The world Is an open door. Life Inspires me, walking among The trees. I feel connected To life, love, art, soul, self, GOD. I open myself too much, And put my faith in a Mentor. Suddenly, everything I believe in the world, I attribute to this personified source of inspiration. My trust in the world is SHATTERED.
2: I finally build up the trust in my Own voice to speak the words That I had been abused. I put Trust in those words to my mother, Surrender, and to the power of Healing. I put my trust in uncertainty, Vulnerability and letting go. We are going to heal together. I wake up months later in a surgery ICU. I’m told that my stomach exploded, I Can’t eat or drink, and no one can Guarantee that I ever will again. I Lose all trust in God, my self, life Certainty, and anything solid to Stand on. I lose trust in reality, joy, Justice and safety. Hope shatters. Life shatters.
3: In the hospital, I finally have the Stillness and simplicity around me to Search once more for peace, clarity, self, Physical stability, stamina, strength, and Embrace my new normal as a child waking Up to a new world. I trust that a crises Has shaken me and now is shaping me. I Trust that I will find meaning if I maintain The strength to move on into a new, uncertain life. I trust that the hospital will teach me lessons I can incorporate once I get back to my real life. Hope is shattered when there is no magic Transition from hospital to home. I lose Trust in “home” and “normal.” Discharge From the hospital hasn’t changed anything. I’m Still dependent on IV Poles, still week, still Displaced fro normal life. Home, I’m still A stranger, a nomad. I lose my trust in home.
4: I become numb to cope. Numbing is My best friend. I don’t have to feel the Days seamlessly pass. I don’t have to Risk. Or dream. Or worry about who I am. Numbness is safe. Numbness coats me In a numb, sterile, safe, stifled, comforting haze. I lock Myself in my room, all day, every day. I keep My thoughts and body in constant motion, to not Leave room for presence. I gain trust in rigidity. I trust that with numbness, I will always be safe. I find out that my grandmother has died from My mother, who tells me from outside of my Door. I sense a sharp pang of sadness, and Fight like hell to keep it out. Feeling means death And this trail of tears threatens to pierce through My numbness and send me spiraling in the uncertain Depths of dark, repressed emotions within me. My Tears tear me in two. Nothing is safe.
5: Three years out of the hospital, I Finally have a nineteen-hour surgery, and Another surgery (months apart) to have a Digestive system. My insides are fixed, my Wound is healed, and I gain trust in a new, Normal life. I can eat. I trust that I’ve Put medical crises behind me and I can start A new chapter reclaiming my life. Over the next several years, my wounds burst Open multiple times, and all certainty and Medical stability, independence will be snatched In an instant. I lost trust I being Granted permission to live again. I lose trust In hope, in doctors, in optimism, in my body, In how far I’ve climbed. I lose trust In answers. I lose hope in ever doing More than getting through. I lose Trust in the fantasy that someday, this Will purely just be a story to tell.
6: Six of the past ten years unable to eat or drink, I finally take my first bite of food. I put hope in my new life nourished as a normal, eating, drinking, fully connected and formed person. I trust that this has been the missing piece needed to put me back into life again, to make me feel normal safe and home. I start to eat and am overwhelmed with the sudden Flood of emotions that food has unlocked. Food Is filling my body with life and, with vitality Comes joy, pain, memories, grief, anger and The feelings I haven’t had a chance to process Once I was abused. I lose trust in this final Solution, in the identity that food as supposed to Help me reclaim. I can no longer hope that Food will fix everything. I lose trust in feelings, In my self, in life, in ever feeling safety again.
7: My 27th surgery has taken me out of The world again, and my medical complications Are worse than they’ve been in years. My Loneliness and overwhelming despair pulls me to Open up to the world in a bigger and more Connected way than ever before. I turn to Others. I give of myself. I fall in love For the very first time. Within months, I go From surgery, to dating, to my first boyfriend, A relationship, being vulnerable with another Person, engaged, and married. I put my trust In love, in a completely new form. My trust in others and in emotional vulnerability Is shattered, when a man I’ve learned to Painstakingly trust, has abandoned a vow I had Trusted. This divorce is a loss of the first real Love in my life. I lose my trust in others, in Connection, of being open and in the world Gain. I lose trust in surrendering my soul to Another. I lose trust, once again, in my vulnerability.
8: I don’t know what to put my trust in anymore. I don’t know what to hope for anymore. I don’t know what is solid, firm, stable Except this marker in my fist, this canvas And this very Now. Even if I don’t like it. I trust it now because I don’t have anything else. I have now. I have who I am in Now. Even if there is more I wish to be. This, right now, solid, is what I stand on. I put my trust HERE and trust That moment and my self, so we can fly. What have I lost? What did I get? What do I have? What did I learn? Where do I go? This canvas is my prayer.
And the final product…FOR NOW!
(BUT I’M NOT DONE YET!) Read the exhibit text of the Trust Art Series Cycle here.
Anyway, I know that was a mouthful. I sum it up a bit more concisely in my TEDx Talk:
But what I really want to know is…
What does trust mean to YOU?
Why should we trust, anyway?
What do YOU trust? Comment or send me a note!
All artwork was created by Amy on her detour. Learn about her speaking, or catch her touring Gutless & Grateful, her one woman musical, to theatres, colleges, conferences and organizations nationwide. Learn about hermental health advocacy programs for students, and find out how to take part in the#LoveMyDetour movement, and learn about her upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour at www.amyoes.com and support at patreon.com/amyo