A sign hangs in my friend’s shop that says something like “Be Responsible for the Energy You Bring With You.”
Yesterday, I attended a theatrical production at an inaugural art festival showcasing female artists. I went without expectations and had not yet carefully perused the descriptions of the presentations before show time. Now, being all female creations, I expected some anger and rebellion in the performances. What I had not anticipated was a presentation making me physically ill.
I work with energy on a daily basis and am usually able to deflect unwanted ones. I use various techniques, but in the case of theatrical performance, folding my arms in front of my stomach usually does the trick. As well as reminding myself that I am witnessing an artistic expression and not an actual event.
Art is all in “the eye of the beholder” and consumed through the perception of the individual. Part of that process as a consumer is trying to interpret the artist’s intent. But when you imagine that the intention was to turn a subject completely around for the sake of being different or provoking, the disturbing content takes on a whole new level of outrage.
The subject was child molestation, from the perspective of the predator believing the child enjoyed what adult was doing to him.
I don’t make a habit of rudely exiting in the middle of an actor’s performance, but I couldn’t sit through it. Even after enduring it for only a few minutes, the pain in my stomach felt as if I’d been sucker punched. I kept asking myself, how was that art? Why would any female artist choose to present such a topic from a male perspective?
I realize horrifying subjects are presented in a variety of artistic mediums – war, murder, rape, etc. But as a consumer, I have the right to decide how I feel about it, whether to continue to allow myself exposure to it and if I would recommend it to others or not. The energy hit me like a vicious slap from someone who was smiling at me. Yes, the actor was smiling as she described molesting a child. I felt like I had been assaulted and was totally unprepared for the stabbing pain that stuck with me for several hours afterward. I could only imagine what it might have done to someone in the audience who had experienced such an atrocity as a child.
Be mindful of the energy you put out into the world, even as an artist performing to a captive audience. Energy doesn’t die and can penetrate whomever it touches like smoke absorbs into fabric. I like my art like I like my food, with enough familiarity to identify with it while presenting something new and intriguing to make me think. I don’t believe either should cause physical pain.