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Ugly Is For Art by Kahshanna Evans
 

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  • I am ugly when I cry. It's what I hate the most about emotions...to feel them, to process is right for me...things moving through and out leaving me relieved or more clear than I was is something I treasure about being human. When I feel overwhelming sadness I find a horrible moment of negotiating if I will let myself cry for fear I turn into a Troll no one can love or think is beautiful. Tears inevitably well up and I am even sadder that on top of feeling sorry I anticipate it will make me unlovable or worse, ugly. My nose gets red and swells, old make up smudges around my eyes even if I don't have any on. My lips puff up and there are wincing creases on my forehead from my sorrows. An angry and tired single mother used to demand, 'Dry it up!', 'Stop looking so sullen...', 'You are acting ugly'. Perhaps echoes of what her own inner greetings were in her own relationship with her tears as emotions welled up from troubles in her own life. A friend having a bad day just revealed the same worry about how crying makes her ugly. I didn't tell her I suspected she was a teacher and a mirror for me. I wonder if it makes me a liar that I just told her that someone would love her even more for being herself and that it was a wives tale we tell ourselves or carried to the present from our childhood. I always feel better, though, after I cry. I care less, perhaps the struggle is a part of my process, or to finally accept. I admire people who can cry without judging themselves...I learned it years ago in a theater conservatory program. Then it was at least interesting, it was about art and storytelling - others were invested in that universe and there was a 'we', a beginning, middle and end padded by the undivided of a dedicated team of creative colleagues fighting the same fight. The mirrors there said it was ok to feel so much and not know how to fix things that were broken. We weren't there to fix them, just to tell the story and let the wisdom take root in our tiny universe. There I could finally look at myself as an artist where it is more than ok to be ugly. In fact, it is welcome.
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