The reward

After I launched the new site, I sort of crashed. I’m exhausted. So I took yesterday off to rest and collect new energy. I am finding clarity in so many things now days – in my creativity, my health and when it comes to love and happiness. I feel awake and present. Engaged with the world around me. Even though I lost a lot of things things year, the things I gained are priceless to me. And I gained them through each loss.

I lost some dreams. I lost a tooth. A lot of hair due to stress. I lost part of my family. I lost opportunities. I lost money. I lost both a sense of control and myself for a while.

With Johnny, earlier this year

With Johnny, earlier this year

But I also lost the last PTSD symptoms, which used to rule my every day life. I lost many destructive and false self images. I lost the connection to my inner Lolita, who used to love feeling submissive. I lost the survival strategies that made it possible for me to live my life without constantly being prepared for a new catastrophe. I lost my dance partner in the destructive, psychological dance of death. I lost a lot of stupid distractions. I lost the creative blockage. I lost the heavy burden of carrying other people’s responsibility and judgement. And all those losses have liberated me from so much fear, pain and suffering. It brought me closure. It gave me a chance to be myself, without being afraid to make other people uncomfortable. It made it possible for me to finally accept Johnny’s love without wanting to push him away – and for me me feel at home in myself, in my art and in the love I share with Johnny (no wonder my new digital piece is called ‘Homecoming’). It makes me feel more at peace. Balanced. Centered. More alive.

What a beautiful reward.

‘Acceptance’ is more about letting go

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work in progress – “Out of Reach”

I’m getting nowhere with the clinics, I’m frustrated but I’m slowly recovering. The health care system in Sweden at this point is basically following the trend of the DIY movement; Do it yourself. But I’ve become pretty good at figuring out how to treat myself and I know what medical care that works and what doesn’t. As long as my health is improving, I don’t care if I have to play doctor, I hate hospital milieus anyway.

Part of my self-treatment is to let go of the stress from this summer. It’s been a lot. I have some heavy decisions to make when it comes to how I want to build my nearest future. I also have to go on defining myself as an artist – I have a feeling that I have to let go of some things to be able to push through the struggles I’m dealing with in my creativity. Something is holding me back and I know exactly what it is, but it’s hard to accept.

It’s my audience. You.

Perhaps I have to kill some darlings – your darlings – in order to continue working with my art. I know I will lose a lot of admirers, fans and collectors if my work took a different direction, if my focus point would shift from the things that brought me success and appreciation – to a whole new genre where I’m not familiar with the audience. But that is the privilege I have as an artist, to reinvent myself and my expression over and over again throughout my career. I have changed so much since my early works and my art is changing alongside my personal metamorphosis.

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Early works:

Semi-Paradise

Semi-Paradise by Mia Makila, 2006

Alone In Hell

Alone In Hell by Mia Makila, 2006

Holiday In Hell, 2007

Holiday In Hell, 2007

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Works from 2014-2016:

"Not a Phallus" by Mia Makila, 2014 [digital]

“Not a Phallus” by Mia Makila, 2014 [digital]

The Screaming Rug by Mia Makila, 2016 - digital.

The Screaming Rug by Mia Makila, 2016 – digital.

"A Binary Dream" by Mia Makila, 2016 [digital]

“A Binary Dream” by Mia Makila, 2016 [digital]

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My life used to be a very private version of Hell. Chaotic. Dramatic. Painful. Everything in either black or white – but at the same time burning or in flames. Now, my life is full of love, longing, sensuality and stillness. I’ve found a harmonic grey-scale (visible in my latest digital works) within the black and white.

As I am thinking about all this, a title for a future art show emerges. That is evidence that I am on the right path. Acceptance is more about letting go than it is about finding new answers. I need to accept that I can never go back to being the artist I once was – and I can’t force myself to be the artist I would love to be even though it doesn’t come natural to me. I just have to let go of my timeline of success and failure and accept the artist I’ve become, going through all that. The artist I am. Now. Celebrated for my past achievements – but not forced to live up to the expectations that came with that. I have big plans for my future art projects, but I need more money. So let’s start there.

I’m letting go of your expectations of me. Thank you for loving my art so far. It has meant so much to me. But I have to have the freedom to reinvent myself from time to time  – and you are invited to follow me on my journey, it will be a roller-coaster ride for both of us I’m sure.

The Superpower

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We had another long and amazing talk about creativity. I love these discussions, I need them, I crave them. We continued talking about why we aren’t being creative right now. Why he’s not writing, why I’m not into the flow of painting. We established that being able to bring magic to the world by making art (in whatever form) is like a superpower. This superpower makes you special, makes you stand out, it elevates you from the crowd, it makes you fly, high above reality and everyday life.

But here’s where we have different approaches to our superpower. I am more comfortable flying than I am being grounded. Johnny is more comfortable on the ground than up amongst the clouds. He’s comfortable with the idea that he can fly, whenever he wants to – I am uncomfortable with the idea of having to land and spend time in the real world waiting for that special moment when I’ll get to fly again. “A superhero is a superhero because he can transform himself from an ordinary person into a superhero when he needs to. If he would be up in the air all the time, flying around, he’d just be a crazy person, flying without a cause, without a mission”, Johnny said. It made sense. I haven’t seen it like that before.

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I need to accept that I can’t ask from myself to be creative all the time and to not judge myself whenever I can’t find that flow. I need to be grounded at times in order to be able to transform and illuminate myself. I can’t be on a superhero mission all the time. Then it wouldn’t be special or the most private, intimate and wonderful thing I get to share with myself.

I have been forcing myself to use my superpower when all I needed was to be grounded and wait for the right moment to fly. And I’ve been afraid of crash-landing. Of broken wings. To have my superpower being taken from me. I’ve been afraid of losing my direction amongst the clouds. Of flying too high. To get burned by the sun. I have been confused about how to use my superpower and when – or when to stay grounded and enjoy life on Earth.

I have to learn how to use my superpower in the correct way. Then I’ll be able to transform myself when the right moment appears. When I’m on a mission to create magic – something rare and beautiful that isn’t a product of expectations or pressure, but the expression of freedom and joy. Just like flying.

From my own death to a new creativity

3 days until my love will come. I’m starting to feel like myself again, it’s a nice feeling. The seasons are slowly changing outside my window, it’s unusual cold for being the last summer month. I enjoy the cool weather. The grey skies and the melancholy. It feels like home to me.

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I’ve been resting for weeks or perhaps for a small eternity, that’s how it feels anyway. I’m tired of resting and watching TV series. But I’ve been studying art and I’ve thought a lot and hard about my own art. It’s been good for me. I don’t want to overthink things or to overanalyze, but it’s like with everything in my past – I’ve been going through life without reflecting on what my true voice sounds like because I have been so busy pleasing other people. I know that at some point in my career, I started to make art for my fans, for gallery owners and collectors, instead of making it for myself. Something that was so private and intimate suddenly became corrupt and compromised in public. I know exactly when it happened. Even which painting I was working on at the time.

This struggle to get back to my art, especially painting, has been long and hard. Just like a trauma can happen in a second but will take a lifetime to overcome, it takes a lot of time to heal a compromised creativity and an abandoned inner voice. I regret the way I deviated from my path to go where I wasn’t supposed to go. I got so lost. I ended up so far from myself. From the expressions I had inside but didn’t allow to come out. I got used to the resistance, to the silence of it, to the feeling of being dead and buried underneath the fear and the doubts.

From my diary 2011:

“It is more natural for me now to not be creative than to create and make art. My paint tubes and brushes are stored away in transparent storage boxes and waiting for this mental paralysis to be dissolved so I can use them again. So I can go back to how things were before.

It’s like all of me is stored away in an invisible, transparent storage box that separates me from my true identity, and from my desire to create. Like in a coffin, because I feel dead in so many ways. It is not an exaggeration or emotional debauchery – but an honest feeling rooted in my inner core. “

I know how it feels like to be dead. I know that the real death is not and the end of our lives but comes in the same colors and textures as life itself, but without your own sense of vitality. It doesn’t happen when you stop breathing, it happens when you stop believing in yourself, when you separate yourself from your core. And the way back is awfully long and painful.

At least I know what it’s like to die and to be awakened and resurrected, all in a lifetime. I have many important things to tell. I need to use that in my art. This phase of finding my true artistic voice after letting go of an older version is so unbelievably scary – you have no idea. But it has to be done. This process is just as private and intimate as the creativity itself. I’ll let you be part of it, but please know how vulnerable I feel to share these things with you.

But it’s an important and genuine part of my art and should not be undisclosed or forgotten. It is part of the substance to my future paintings and who I will become as an artist.

Counting the days

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I woke up to a cloudy day. It’s still hot but at least the sun is not too bright. I feel somewhat cloudy too. I’m totally out of sync with my emotions, it’s been an intense month with a lot of emotional discharge. I feel a little worn out. Johnny will be here in a few weeks, so I want to feel centered and energized before his arrival. I need to isolate myself for a while, like I do whenever I need to find that perfect sync between mind, body and heart.

Even if my inner batteries are running low, I feel strong and in control of my own destiny. I know where I am going. I am aware of my own behavior and choices. And I’m still working on my art – and it means everything to me. I feel so inspired. I’m growing as an artist, I feel like I’ve reached a new artistic level. It doesn’t happen a lot, perhaps only a handful of times in a lifetime. But it has happened now and it makes me feel proud. I know I am without competition in my style (both here in Sweden and internationally) – and in the way I use my trauma to express female sexuality and the integrity of the soul. It makes me feel confident and like I really matter as an artist, like I make a difference somehow.

My creativity is leaking into every area of my life now days – even my relationship with Johnny is a beautiful creation that we’ve both been working hard to maintain and add to with everything we are and have. It’s our own little piece of heaven – our home in the world, even if we are separated by an ocean. I can’t wait to have him here with me. We are counting the days.

But first I need to meditate and recharge. I have so much I want to accomplish, so much I want to experience – but so little energy. I think that my art could be the perfect place to get in sync with myself. I feel grateful. Where would I be without my creativity? Even the thought of it is unbearable. I feel lucky – and I know my creativity will save me, every time I need to be saved. That is why I never need to be saved by a man or anyone else. This is what makes me strong. This is part of my core strength. It’s what will keep me going, no matter what. But I owe it to myself to keep it safe and in sync. So that’s what I have to do now.