Inner Demons as Sources of Inspiration

Shadows in the Park. A Self-Portrait Pano.

Our Inner Demons as Sources of Inspiration

In the wake of the recent conversations about depression and suicide, celebrity suicides in particular, I’d like to take a closer look at a source of inspiration not often mentioned in our daily conversations—our inner demons. They are a constant, real, presence in our lives for many of us, no matter how much we’d like to make them disappear, in order to be able to move on with our lives. That said, some of us, some creatives in particular, do use our inner demons as sources of inspiration, while also trying our best to keep them at bay. And sometimes that’s more of a challenge than we’d like to admit.

Truth is that some of us feed from the mood or energy created by these darker sources of inspiration. Sometimes feelings of extreme sadness or hopelessness inspire some of the most powerful works through which we can speak our truth, and reveal our vulnerable selves in an artsy disguise kind of way. Creating those works, while inspired by our deepest, unfiltered feelings or by thoughts and nightmares that keep us up at night allows us to talk about our feelings in an uninhibited way, while hiding them in plain sight, in the (art)work that we create.

What I’ve learned over the years is that that kind of darkness is real and powerful, enveloping and overwhelming. It can ignite and fuel our inspiration, while becoming a constant companion, and presence, in our life. One thing is for sure, though. That kind of darkness cannot be ignored, teased, or dismissed. Managing to stay a step ahead of it is no easy task, but rather, a daily struggle for those who live on its fringes. Speaking of darkness and the struggle not to be engulfed by it, a quote from award-winning author, Joel Rothschild, comes to mind. In his book, Hope – A Story of Triumph, he talks about “The Duality of Our Existence,” the house of darkness and the house of light, and “the very fine line” that separates the two, called “hope.”

For whatever reason, I’ve always found myself on the darker side of life, inspired by darkness. In a way, exploring our darkness and facing our inner demons, while also keeping them at bay, might help us not only create art from the heart, but also, in time, find that glimmer of hope.

As always, thanks for stopping by,
Alina Oswald

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