Reaching Beyond Resilience A Collection of Essays in Response to The Sober Enterprise
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Though this is ultimately a creative writing project, I wanted my SIP to encompass all three of my areas of study here at K: English, Psychology, and Art. Through my time here, I’ve found that these disciplines are not entirely different, with all of them being in some way modes of expression. I learned that while the discipline of Psychology is aimed at assisting others in processing various traumas, mental irregularities, or emotional vulnerabilities in a gradually cohesive and productive way; it largely relies on the expression of words, ideas, and imagery to safely engage the patient and slowly bring about the desired effects. English and written languages in general serve as a primary vehicle for the communication of ideas, and I’ve seen how so many of my English class discussions have been centered on searching for deeper thematic or psychological meanings behind how these ideas have been articulated. I’ve also learned to see Art as a form of communication and a reflection of one’s soul and body working in tandem to present various concepts or psychological/emotional states in a more visual form. This project represents a cathartic fusion of all three modes of human expression, in that it uses the English language like any other book to express my ideas, yet only as an artistic means towards a very psychological end and emotional goal. While a few of the pieces were created specifically for my SIP (the pieces entitled rage and t i r e d), most of the artwork was created throughout the lived experiences mentioned in the text. The artwork that is depicted before each of my essays not only encapsulates what is being explored in each phase of the book as it unfolds lyrically but has actually been created as this raw and unfiltered response to these real events in my life. In this way, I think that the artwork throughout the piece is acting as both an emotional precursor and graphical summary of my mental states throughout these periods of my life, as well as each literary chapter. The entire gestalt of my SIP is psychologically motivated, as it carefully weaves together past emotional traumas through these artistic renderings and writes through them for the purpose of reaching some sort of emotional resolution – which I deem as reaching beyond resilience. My project is centered around this complicated relationship with my father, and how it has changed over time as a result of his battles with heroin addiction. I use my father’s self-help book for addicts as a framework into this relationship, as I confront him for being more honest within the pages of his book than he ever was with his family. It begins with essays from my childhood where readers can see how close our relationship started, as we bonded and connected through music. As the essays continue on, readers begin to see the duplicitous nature of my father’s actions and personality. There are two versions of my father that I begin to grapple with, one is the dad I know and love who fell victim to the drug, and the other is this monstrously violent man who victimized us. I struggle with coming to the conclusion that he is both these people, and to love him means having to accept him as such. Before the drug came into our lives, I had a very good father and a happy family. It was important to me to show how addiction not only destroys the life of the addict, but how it leaves behind a shattering legacy of unresolved pain, torment, and emotionally demolished relationships that continue to impact and afflict those closest to them. It brings down upon each and every family member a whole host of social, financial, legal, and emotionally damaging consequences. In writing this project I am acknowledging that while my father’s addiction has substantially impeded my development and search for my own identity, it has also functioned to make me the strong, creative, and empathetic person I am today.