Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Anatomy of Angst in Moorea

Angst ain't so bad now that I'm all grown up.

At the same time, no one said it was easy to harness angst in productive ways. It's something that even I have not quite mastered.

There are days when angst is debilitating for me, when I really contemplate all of the hate, suffering and corruption in the world or when I feel as if who I have become is not quite right.

Yet, for [us] crafters, artists and activists, angst is also inspiring. Our anxiety about the state of the world or our lives often fuels our passions and forces us to act, to do something with the overwhelming feelings inside of us. Out of our angst comes creation and change.

Moorea Seal knows.

For those of you who have not visited Rumination Reading Room, the personal blog of Moorea Seal, what in the world are you waiting for? Get over there!

Moorea made this post a few weeks ago about the best kind of angst.
The kind that gives us power!

I made this painting for her, as a way to relate, to feel connected to her experience of angst, even though she's in the far away land of Seattle (sounds magical, right? So is Moorea).

I named it the Anatomy of Angst in Moorea.

After completing the painting, I contacted Moorea about her angst. I wanted to get a little closer to the emotions of a stranger. She enthusiastically agreed to answer all of my burning questions, and gave her consent to share them with you.

1. Tell me three words that describe your emotional experience of angst.
excitement, frustration, competition (with myself)

2. How do you experience angst physically?
I get crazy butterflies in my stomach like it's nobody business. My eyebrows raise in shock and excitement, my heart suddenly starts pounding, and I just want to let out a giant scream! Sometimes I scream in my pillow or jump around my bedroom. I feel hyper and excited, but in a way that all of it feels held up inside of me. Champagne bottles pop pop pop in my tummy and all I want to do is find a tactile reason to create so that those celebratory bubbles have reason for being there! I feel angry and driven to accomplish something.

3. Name some things in your life that provoke angst in you.
If I haven't been creating illustrations, jewelry making, or singing in a few days I just go nutso. It is in my nature to always be creating and to always be seeking out inspiration. If I have been working hard and nothing seems to be turning out the way I imagined, I feel super angsty too, desperate for inspiration. And then when I finally do find a blog, an illustrator, an artist, a musician or a designer that really innovative and unique, I get those butterflies in my tummy too, ready to begin again on my own work now that my eyes have been refreshed! I guess there are lost of types of angst for me :)

4. Do you remember your first experience of true angst?
Oh man, I've been angsty, stubborn, strong willed and self determined since before I could walk. I have always been intensely independent and have had a fire in me to always pave my own way and do it with passion. My first sentence was "Me help me!" is still hard for me to ask for help haha! And when I was 9 I changed my own name from Ashley to Moorea. Yes, I picked my own name. I had never felt like my name suited me and always felt a bubbling of angst in me to find the name that really embodied who I was/am. You can read more about the story of my name here:

5. Do you openly express your angst? How?
I am actually a pretty shy person and am cautious about being very expressive with those around me. But, once I feel really comfortable around friends, I am ridiculously silly and expressive. I feel passionately about many things, from art and music to civil rights to nerdy blog/twitter/etsy/technology chatter. I constantly crave change and progression, so when something inspires me to change, to be better, to work harder, I have to let it out! Sometimes I create a drawing or a painting, sometimes I write a song, I write it out, or I laugh and shout and dance with my friends and sisters.

6. Do you feel angst is always a bad thing? How has angst inspired you?
Oh no angst ain't bad! Angst is a great thing. It is that thing inside of you that drives you mad in the best sense possible. It is that part of you that begins to erupt when you feel like your stagnancy has lasted too long. Its that powerful drive that kicks in when you have been bored for too long. Angst gives you something to fight against, to overcome. It is the launching point from which I begin each task, each project, each experiment. Angst is like the most intense competition you could ever feel. It isn't competition with anyone else, it is simply you fighting against yourself, driving you to achieve what you have yet to even begin!

7. In moments that you want to rid yourself of angst, what sort of
activities help?
Making a list of things I want to accomplish. Momentary things, things to be completed today, this week, this month, this year, this lifetime. I love checking things off. completing something that was driven by angst is the most satisfying accomplishment. :) Making lists of people who inspire me. Singing along with crappy music and doing impersonations of pop divas. Jumping around the house with my roommates and dancing to r&b and hip hop from the late 90s and early 2000s, think Nelly, 3LW, JLo, Usher etc...And then once that's all done, draw, make jewelry, play guitar, write songs, sing, paint. anything physical and tactile.

Get Angsty!



Sarah said...

I FUCKING LOVED THIS POST. You inspire me like crazy.

Send a quick e-mail my way if you get the chance, I'd love to know how you've been doing. <3

P.S. You are such a talented painter!!!

Roxanne said...

I second *LOVING* this post. I heart you and I heart Moorea. I also heart angst.

Moorea Seal said...

you are SO RAD!!!!! thank you!