The Story Behind: In-Sanity

Mandala The Story Behind

Now you may be looking thinking huh, this one doesn't seem familiar and it's definitely not available to buy. Well, in-sanity was one that was all about me again, my own reflection on basically a series of events that had happened over the time period and it was basically the bridge on from producing 'Rising Lotus'. Rising was about me getting ready for the next chapter, and in-sanity was me reflecting on everything that had happened so far.  

So a lot of my story for the recent 2018/2019 gap got covered in Rising, because it felt appropriate to cover in that one, so don't mind me for rehashing some of it in here again, because this time it's slightly deeper. 

So let me share with you the original caption that went with it on social, because this is gonna flow a little different this time round - I'm going to add in the missing detail from the caption, into the caption, because the thought trail on this to keep going back to reference to afterwards will wind up being more confusion! 

Caption. (and anything in italics is the new addition!): 

"IN-SANITY" | now let me give you a back story. I remember first seeing the original inspo for this piece about 9 years ago, and it reminded me of the doodles I used to do on my year 10 English lit books, those who know me will remember too. I did the same style doodle everywhere. It stuck with me. It wasn't anything near on the scale of what I consider to be a doodle now, but it was a hybrid between floral patterns and tribal vectors - totally opposite I know but I had a bit of a fascination with them during my school years. The image never left. (I also managed to find this for you and it's at the bottom of this post). And it just reflected the mind of an introvert. Quiet on the outside and to the world except those who know them, but we never know what's going on inside a person's mind right?
Everyone has their own battle, their own demons, confrontations, secrets, things they bury away like the tip of an iceberg just waiting to be discovered by the one person who makes the introvert feel as though it's so safe to actually be themselves, someone who makes them feel like it's safe to come out of their shell that they can begin to uncover and share their mind with. Maybe not even then. My point is, you never know what a person's mind is filled with, what it can hold them prisoner to.
Hence IN-SANITY, it's our own minds that drive us crazy, but we seek what we can to keep us sane. Keep us alive. It's those small tiny details within a big picture or even a day, a moment, those are the bits that make us smile. Keep us fighting another day, call it a little bit of wordplay.
There is so much more I can share about this piece, but ultimately, this piece is for you all. It's about your own story too, not just mine. 🙏

The real caption behind this that I want to share?
It's a reflection of my own mind. Or at least I thought it was just mine to begin with. Slowly it started resembling elements of those close ones around me too. Every single persons battle. Their own challenges, their own little world and what it's filled with. The issues of mine it reflects?- mental abuse. Mental health. Emotional abuse. Toxicity. Control. Barriers. Limitations. Self confidence. Trust. Depression. Anxiety. Healing. Growth. Self discovery. Failure. Mistakes. Challenges. Conformity. Physical abuse. Feeling lost. Change. Trauma. Fear. Ego. Abandonment issues. Relationship issues. Shadow Work. Theres so much more, without making it even more personal than I just did.
Call it my current lifetime of experience in one to date, I can guarantee if I was to recreate this is another 23 years time, it would even more complex, but then again, I always call this life now living on borrow time for the last 5 years (now 7 years).
This piece has so far taken me the longest to complete, but I've been in no rush to complete it. How do you rush 23 years worth of thoughts into a few hours? Each time I come back to it, I face more healing, more reflection, more to deal with. It surfaces something new in me every time, and as much as I haven't been feeling myself lately, I've been more me. It doesn't make sense, but equally it does. It was a hard feeling to explain, but it was almost me feeling at ease with how much was surfacing whilst it made me feel native, I felt comfort.

You see I first started this piece when I began watching the R.Kelly series (I know that series probably triggered a lot of people for how much it covered and god the UK version wasn't even the full extent that the US version covered), and it opened up a lot of wounds for me. Stuff I buried and I thought I got over but clearly didn't.
I disappeared from my artwork for a very long while whilst I was in a very toxic relationship (as explained in previous Story Behind blogs for Rising and Kingdom), those close to me saw this and understood, and tried to warn me but I was in too deep. That relationship is what broke parts of me, it cracked surfaces I didn't think it could and it challenged me in so many ways, I didn't recognise the person I ultimately became. The cliche saying love is blind - it shouldn't be. It isn't. Love is eye-opening, love is fulfilment in all ways and means. This was toxic. This was fear. This was hate. This was a projection of another's insecurities and issues onto me, preventing my own growth, my own journey, my own values even. It was life changing, and I've grown so much since. I'm only grateful for it for the lessons it has taught me, sadly nothing else anymore.
The first 4 times I attempted to keep continuing this piece I couldn't, because I continuously broke down crying remembering every single negative thing I had to face to heal. To grow. To overcome. Then bit by bit, the more I kept working on this piece, it's like it in itself helped heal me. Helped me to grow. I began to try battle through it by surrounding the empty area with thoughts and memories that were coming back to my head, this page never stayed looking as clean and neat as it did for the end shot. Currently suffering from insomnia which doesn't help depression or anxiety, I'm guilty of overthinking so much. And truth be told battling insomnia sounds easy, it really isn't because that in itself to me stemmed back to days of me being a scared kid at night unable to sleep because of recurring nightmares, through to college being on antidepressants that made my nightmares 100x more vivid and realistic and my partner at the time used to have to stay on the phone to me to fall back asleep. This piece stood out to me and I had to make it my own because its stayed with me for 9 years already, except my own will be with me for a lifetime longer. Complexities of a mind really and truly are something else...

Now back to the normal formatting - I actually didn't need to add too much, but I think you got the gist of most of what I was saying. At the time the piece was very focused on the break up, the aftermath and things I came to realise and I also held an event in between designing this too - The Love & Light Festival in Dartford where I met some seriously beautiful souls and they also inspired me to come back home and carry on working on that piece even after how tired I was from being at the event all day. And that's where the reference to this piece becoming about other people's minds came into it too. The stories I learnt about from meeting everyone that day stayed with me, and still have done to this day, if you're reading this now, just know you contributed to one of my deepest and most meaningful pieces to date and for that I am eternally grateful because you gave me the courage and hope to continue on.

So why did I feel inspired to do it the way I had done? Well, by this point I was still loving layering mandalas and to be honest, Just producing a 'normal' full page covered piece of them didn't quite feel like it was doing it justice. The piece I always remembered was most significant because of the person sitting at the bottom - well in this case standing but I did also have a love for cartoon silhouettes when I was younger too, so I guess this was a merge of those both. It was raw creative free-flow and just one way for me to express myself when I didn't know how to put pen to paper like I normally do (journalling has quite often saved me once I got past the fear of being scared as to how much would come out) and to be honest, it reminded me of an old art project I did called 'a visual diary', which to be honest the concept was there for, but even that triggered me because I was stuck with how do I even begin to try and visually express this. Years later and outside of education settings and standards, I finally learnt how to do it - emotions into mandalas into layers and so forth... at least I can only ever hope that the majority do understand this diary. 

And so where did the name 'in-sanity' come from you wonder? It's a bit of a literal/wordplay type of one - we look at insanity and think crazy, mental, not quite there, maybe a bit loopy, possibly a perfect match for a real life Joker or Harley Quinn. But this piece was about what we search for to keep us sane - keep us in (our) sanity. When you suffer from mental health issues which has been rapidly increasing over the last year due to COVID and pandemic lockdowns etc, unfortunately there's still a stigma around those who have depression and anxiety or any mental health issue as being 'stupid, attention seeking, terminally ill' as some typical old-school Indian cultures like to look at it. A lot of it is about misunderstanding, choosing not to understand or worrying about what others will think if they find out their child has 'a mental illness' because it makes them sound 'loopy' as a family - actually the way I see it, it just means your child is more in tune with themselves than you ever were and they're the ones doing the generational healing (or some aspect of it) and unfortunately are having a tough time of it because they also have their current, present day lives to factor into the equation too. 
So we often forget to look at each person as their true selves - what makes them, them. What sparks their soul, lights the fire in their heart, what do they love and equally what triggers them? We forget about the fact each person has their own story yet as a society, we make life harder because of 'society standards' and what's considered to be an acceptable standard or 'the norm'. We forget that each person has their own complexity of their mind going on, their own iceberg and the smile they put on might just be the very shiny tip of it, masking everything else that's going on underneath. We forget that while some people hold the strength to carry on regardless of how many times they break, they still want to be sought out the same way they seek for their diamond in the rough. 

Reference of the original image I kept seeing and remembering:


Thank you for reading & keep your eyes peeled for future piece meanings being shared across the blog and also socials. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and even your own interpretations in the comments below or if you wish to let me know privately - I'm always social on emails and my social media channels. 

One love - Simmy. x

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