Badassery Magazine November 2017 Issue 18 - Page 64

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 myself 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 begin 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 remember 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 breath- ing, dead thing. THAT was when I started to feel again, and by starting to feel I started to LIVE. MAKE YOU WEAK OR UN- LOVABLE, AND THEY ARE NOT FUCKING FAKE. I didn't learn this until I was supported 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 myself 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  About the Author My name is Taylor Lee and I’m an abstract artist who creates paintings for people 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 possible. 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 63   