On Writing: Introspection And Catharsis

August 2015.
It was exactly a year ago when I had seriously considered meeting a therapist. A month away from turning 18, I was the cliché emotional mess of an average teenager who loved to believe that he was a special snow flake. I was drowned in self-pity and struggling in a sea of insecurities like every other teenager. I still had the courage to believe there was some amount of special in me but much too often doubts would creep up about my own self-worth. I never really met a therapist but found a medium to lay bare my raw emotions.
I have always suffered from a terribly low self-esteem. I have had many friends over times that have been kind enough to hear me out and let me vent myself out to them. But my inconsistent self-esteem has made sure that all my friendships based on trust and affection has been broken. You know you suffer from really low self-esteem when you think nervously about whether your friend is interested in hearing you out or when you feel apologetic about writing yet another post about depression. Your mind is constantly saying to you “What makes you think they’re even interested?”. Writing allows me to break free from the shackles of low self-esteem and showcase my true inner self without the constant pecking from my brain about not being good enough. When I read articles and poems written by me, I always feel it is me exploring my flaws and gaining a therapeutic release from them.
Since childhood if there is one thing about my life that I would like to change it is the fact that I have never been able to unleash myself. I have always felt like a wild animal tied to a chain and every time I try to escape, the leash tightens around my neck. I have suffered too long from this suffocation. I have had too many moments of suppressed anger. I have had too many internal battles trying to decide whether I should give in to a crowd that I am a complete stranger to, or shoot my middle finger to the sky and be the rebel I have always dreamt of being.
Writing gives me that canvas I so long for to let out the bottled up shit inside me. It is supreme catharsis for me. It’s where I am the king and the lone warrior fighting imaginary battles that I regret not having fought, it’s where the bloodlust takes over and I reveal the beast of carnage that has always resided in me. Writing gives me the freedom to not care about damaging any reputation. It opens the gateway to my dream world, where I live as I please with no expectations, or the baggage of guilt, of misunderstanding and disappointments. It’s the world where I no longer have to prove myself as being ‘up-to-the-standards’ of monkeys who have no significance whatsoever in my life. Heck, it’s the world where stupidity is condemned and hypocrites are slaughtered.
As a child I always preferred to play by myself. I loved being alone and played my own little games, I would fantasize I were a king or an actor of a film or a singer in a huge concert. As an adult, writing gives me the license to be what I want to be. I, as a writer, am a creator and puppeteer of whatever I wish to create. It might be a gothic king or a dark warlord; I play the master and not a mediocre student with subdued flamboyance. The game is mine and I rule this playground.
I have always wished to be exiled from this world and spend a day alone, by myself and left with my own thoughts. I would love to sit and contemplate and jot down my thoughts no matter how dark, vulgar or disturbing they turn out to be. Without having realised it, I believe writing has gotten me close to fulfilling that fantasy because when I sit to write a poem or an essay I lose myself into my own mental space and my physical being becomes irrelevant. It is a meditation of sorts, or maybe a spiritual journey but it is not guided by norms created by stupid conformists. I float silently in that mental space, surrounded by an infinite dreamy visuals and the peace I have always longed for.

Outsiders Art

‘Alone. Yes that’s the word. The most dreaded word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t even hold a candle to it and hell is just a poor synonym’
-Stephen King
When one of the worlds best horror novelists tells you that being lonely is one of the scariest things in the world, you know it’s true. Being accepted and more importantly liked by everyone is one of the fundamental goals of man. And very often people who aren’t very well accepted by social communities are looked down upon as being worthless. But is this treatment justified? Are loners actually losers or are they actually more superior than those on top of the social ladder?
Excerpt from Psychologytoday:
Acceptance is the fundamental motive but at the same time, the need for uniqueness is also a fundamental human motive. When people are treated too similar to others, they (sometimes unconsciously) attempt to do anything to make them stand out. For instance, people who had their uniqueness threatened were quicker to endorse uniqueness-related words and were more likely to express less popular attitudes.

How can this be? How can humans have both the need to belong and the need for uniqueness? Well, humans are complicated! We have lots of motives, many of which frequently conflict with each other. This is why most people try to strike a balance between their various motives, and are satisfied with moderate levels of each motive.
However it has been seen that many times worldwide acclaimed artists are rather eccentric individuals who don’t really believe in ‘going with the flow’. One of the worlds best and widely influential filmmakers Stanley Kubrick was a well known social recluse. Known for his painfully perfect detailing and surrealistic cinematography, Kubrick is hailed as a master of the art of cinema but it is a very well known fact that Kubrick detested humans and preferred to work work alone. Along similar lines is the highly controversial Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier who has been labelled a Provocateur by many, Lars too prefers solitude, hates travelling and has a wide range of phobias in fact he has stated that he has extreme fear of almost everything but filmmaking.
Many musicians have been known to be rather odd in their behaviour as well (Read: Rockstars and Metallers). Speak of Niravana’s Kurt Cobain who had rather strange outlooks on life, appeared to interviews with his shoes untied,wore the most casual dress for his wedding because apparently he did not have the time to wear a formal suit and wrote a death note addressed to his childhood imaginary friend when he committed suicide. Speak of reclusive musicians and one picture that is bound to pop up in your mind is that of black metal musicians who roam around in the woods in the most uncomfortable looking attire and silly looking corpse paint. Many of these nihilistic, misanthropic individuals actually leave in completely isolated and unwelcoming environments far away from any established settlements. I remember watching an interview of Xasthur’s Malefic whose otherworldly shrieks dominate his haunting and fiercely melancholic songs but during the interview he had great difficulty opening up to the interviewer, he looked extremely uncomfortable throughout the interview and became quiet the moment he was asked about his past. He went on to talk about how much he hates people who according to him are very rude.
So is there in fact any connection between the level of deviation and creativity?
Another excerpt from Psychologyabout.com (http://psychologyabout.com/)
By definition, creative solutions are unusual, involving the recombination of ideas. Unusual, divergent ideas and access to distant, remote associations are hallmarks of creative thinking. Perhaps those who like to distance themselves from others are more likely to also recruit associations from unusual places and think beyond conventional ideas.
Research supports this idea. The need to be seen as separate from others within a group enhances both nonconformity and creativity. In contrast, an interdependent mindset has been shown to extinguish the spirit of independence that is optimal for producing creative solutions. What’s more, those who report a high need for uniqueness make more unconventional word associations, show a greater preference for complex visual figures, and produce more creative drawings and creative stories.
I do not know how accurate these claims are but I must say, taking into account the examples I enlisted and many more deviant artists out there there is surely some connection between being a recluse and an individual with artistic insight.

Footnote #1- Intentionally did not mention many people because many a time the social deviancy might just be an act, a performance which increases the audiences intrigue

Footnote #2- I believe an entire blog can be written discussing painters who were well-known social deviants. Once I’m done compiling a a gust of information on the topic I will publish an article. If anyone is interested I might publish the article on your blog as a guest blogger xD.