Badassery Magazine June 2018 Issue 25 - Page 48

THE FAKEST CRY I'VE EVER SEEN." And that was when I learned that tears were not acceptable. Weak- ness was not allowed. Sensitivity was bad. Feelings, or rather the wrong feelings, made me unlov- able. This is the memory that sprung into my mind without hesitation when asked if I could go back in time. I wish I could go back and tell my- self this: "YOUR PAIN IS REAL. You have a right to feel it. Don't hide it. I believe you." I wish I had heard that when I was younger. See, just five years later (and maybe earlier) I would be- gin starving myself. I would bury my feelings and emotions so deep inside that I wouldn't be able to find them again for decades. I re- member the night during inpatient treatment for anorexia that I ran through the woods, fingers ripping at tree bark and slamming rocks far into the distance ahead, all while a scream wrestled itself loose from deep inside me and burst over the trees. I collapsed on the ground after this fit, my first real tears erupting to the surface, leaving me feeling like a breathing, dead thing. THAT was when I started to feel again, and by starting to feel I started to LIVE. I didn't learn this until I was sup- ported by the staff at my inpatient program for anorexia. An RPA in particular held me as I sobbed and she told me that it was ok to cry. She was the first person to give me permission to cry. Now, I give my- self that permission. Please - give yourself permission to cry, to feel, to be sensitive. I KNOW THIS PAIN, AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE HEARD, YOU ARE BELIEVED, AND YOU ARE LOVED.  FEELING TAKES COURAGE. SO DO TEARS. THEY DO NOT MAKE YOU WEAK OR UNLOVABLE, AND THEY ARE NOT FUCKING FAKE. My name is Taylor Lee and I’m an abstract artist who creates paintings for peo- ple who feel pain - those people who want validation so they know they are not alone and are instead heard. I do this because I know this pain. People tell me that my art looks like a celebration. I am celebrating - celebrating the fact that I survived. I struggled with an eating disorder for over ten years, and surviving it has made me strong in ways that I never imagined were pos- sible. I have experienced much pain at an early age. Due to this, I approach life very thoughtfully and this reflects in my process of creating art. taylorleepaints.com Taylor Lee 47   