“What was your wife like?” I asked the jovial old man telling me his story. He hadn’t mentioned his home life.
“Well, she was born in April. Hitler was born in April too, wasn’t he?” and with that, I got the picture that she was a frustrated woman hellbent on controlling others because she felt out of control. I refuse to believe that people are created evil, not even Hitler. But people can bring about hell on Earth for themselves and others – that’s inarguable.
I can only speak from my own life experience as a middle-aged upper-middle-class housewife living in one of the leafy suburbs of the North Shore. During April, right before Easter, darkness descended upon me. Fury, frustration, feeling out of control, wanting to bring order to things, criticism and judgment of myself and others banished me to the concentration camp of my mind.
It was all because I made the mistake of thinking my mother would enjoy having me write her biography.
The project started out pleasant enough. I asked her questions about her childhood. The memories she shared with me were pure magic. Then I started writing the book.
“Mum, the book is going to be great! I’m so inspired and honoured to be doing this project.” I told her in earnest. For the first time in my life, I felt a closeness to this woman who’d given birth to me. I could see deep into her soul. Finally, she’d let me in!
“Such a waste of time. Don’t you have anything better to do with your life? What are you cooking for your husband and children?” and all that was left for me to do was pick up the shattered pieces of my heart off the floor.
That was the day shadows of doubt crept up on me and the next thing I found myself yelling orders around my house. I wanted control over my life. Why weren’t my bloody kids listening to me and obeying my commands? I stopped writing and out went fun and the colours. Chores and discipline were important. All else was a waste of time.
As It Is In Heaven
I believe we all come to this Earth knowing what we are here to do. I was a child busily daydreaming of the titles of all the books I’d write as an adult.
I think this dark, irritated and irritating self full of fury is something we all have within us as humans. I’d forgotten its presence until I began to get close to finishing up the manuscript of my first book. The dark abyss within me might never be so huge as to cause mass destruction. However, at times I do wonder what I might be destroying when I make the mistake of seeing the worst in people and blaming them for my dissatisfaction with life. That state of mind is a one-way autobahn to hell for me.
What about the people we label as “pure evil”? Are we all responsible for creating them by disowning our own cold, cruel and uncaring ways? Can we be more conscious these days knowing that there’s this dark fury within even the harmless-appearing housewife?
One thing you may not know about Hitler is that he started his career as an artist.
The old man I’d been interviewing was a World War II buff and had many books on the subject, including historical fiction about Hitler. I asked him about Hitler the artist.
“I can’t imagine he was any good.” he said with a cruel sneer.
Who decides what is good art and what isn’t? On Google, I looked up Hitler’s paintings and found he’d done many landscapes. They had an oddly two-dimensional quality about them yet does that make them “bad”?
What if Hitler had been admitted to art school and found his tribe among other people who were moved by the beauty of nature? Would he have tried so hard then to set up a party to make disheartened and hopeless Germans like himself feel like they belonged? What if his abusive father had encouraged young Adolf’s artistic ambitions instead of forcing him to become a civil servant?
The Nature of Destruction
I believe we all lose a part of ourselves and forget our childhood dreams in the process of trying to fit the moulds society has built for us. Art should be a certain way and only those from the right background shall be artists we continue to dictate. Rest assured, this concept of the artist is a fabricated one and I would argue we, as humans, are all creative.
We look at other people’s creations and either see genius or total failure not knowing that what we project onto the canvas are our own dreams and how dare we label those “good” or “bad”?
The antidote to evil may just be seeing someone as they are and encouraging their creative efforts. Why do we go silent and pretend we don’t see or hear people when they’re expressing their truths? Why are we so terrified of differences of view?
If someone is creating something, any piece of writing, art, or offering a thought in conversation, isn’t that worthy of encouragement?
My intention for everyone I encounter is to encourage their creativity no matter what. I know what it feels like to be blocked and I would not wish that upon anyone.
Over to you…
When do you feel your inspiration flow and how do you express that? Do you have a tribe of people who encourage your creativity?
Note: The picture of Hitler is by Brett Whitely, who perhaps felt the fury of unchanneled creativity by those who projected the role of “artist” onto him. With that, the pressure to be “the artist” was on and it was a job.
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