the unfinished masterpiece

this is existential fodder–when do artists decide their work has reached its potential? I’m resolving that they don’t; I’m absolutely certain that the feeling must be complete, not the work itself.

finish me | nicely put, it is a work-in-progress


photograph by Nia Garza

I used to think it was out of habit to leave things unfinished. Lately, however, I’ve been considering that maybe I do this because I like it. I’m not sure if it pleases me, but there is some kind of beauty; a forbidden excitement, of sorts. We are told as children to finish our plate, our homework; to pursue and eventually desire completion. Isn’t that counterintuitive? We are made to feel guilty of the unfinished—our lover, on the bed, starving, and therefore, unsatisfied. No, dissatisfied with us—When did Incomplete begin to equate lack of skill, interest, or care?

I sat down to write this thinking it would only apply to my paintings. Then I felt my nails scratching the keys and realized, no, it is not confined to one medium. Everything I do is incomplete: relationships end too soon; some, gone on too long, made to feel overworked and therefore unfinished in an entirely different sense. To be finished is to be terminated, made to feel some kind of closure with the project or the person. To be incomplete is to be partial, aware that there is something missing. I am unfinished and incomplete in so many ways.

You commented on my eating habits: “It seems you never finish your plate, and not because you don’t like the food.” I hadn’t thought of this ever before. Perhaps, you are responsible for me realizing this practice–(I’m eliminating the word “habit” altogether)–and I should thank you for revealing a part of myself that was hidden and always present, like my own nose.

It is my writing, too. I have so many ideas which I’ve become so accustomed to spawning, I don’t even bother to jot them all down anymore. If the itch becomes constant or repetitive, then I address it, but otherwise I know my curse will consume anything I set out to do. And my novel, what a feat it has been—I’m determined to finish it–but that is such a relative term! If I finish it, it will remain a part of a conversation: explaining what I do, that it is alive in the mind of the reader, future edits, always wondering if words should be changed or if the message was naïve. “Charlotte” was like that. It came to a point where I just wanted it off my mind and out of my hands. Those things all feel unfinished, as if the inkwell and the drying is just another step to an endless list.

I don’t take on too much. I don’t think I take on enough. And as I’m sitting here, enjoying the day, dreading the continuation of this chapter, trying to remain positive in the confusion and divinity of humanhood, I come to love the painting unfinished; I come to find a breathy excitement in the things that cannot be totally complete. Because–this is existential fodder–when do artists decide their work has reached its potential? I’m resolving that they don’t; I’m absolutely certain that the feeling must be complete, not the work itself. The strife and pursuit of art and expression is completely insatiable, and humans—we are like our art—there’s never enough time before we die,  never enough love from our spouses, nor enough peace and goodness in the world: we want it all. We want to represent all, keep all in the conversation; never leave a man or concept behind. And in the end, we do; we will; there’s just no stopping it.

So, we might as well enjoy the unfinished, the incomplete, in these moments of water and pigment on a page not fit for these elements. Are any of us fit for our own humanity?

hedonistic motions

freedom in unconventional faith

freedom in unconventional faith


photograph by Nia Garza

we set boundaries for ourselves, for good reason or fear, but what i built, that encroaching barrier between myself and the lot of you, has become permeable; as a veil that could be seen, hazing my grip on the outside. claws formed by entrapment–this is what I felt there, entrapped and kept to sculpture–and the lace became torn by the desire to expand and be boundless.

there is always an exception to the rule; a line that is just too flimsy or tempting to resist crossing. there exists the indisputable, the Ten Commandments of our temple, if you will–finally, i acknowledge it; that perception of shared reality, where accountability and pressure spills over into blind obedience–but i have been immovable, hardened, and abstractly rooted in some experience or another.

but this, this is not a motion of self-government, but rather a declaration of chaos: freedom can mean being free from oneself, where we step outside the confines and sway nude among the animals, even just for a moment.

satanists–if you know anything about them–in their recognition of the base desire, of how we have willed gods into existence as a reflection of our own egos, and the oversimplified idea that we are our own gods; take what you will. please note, knowledge of something does not make you a part of it. practice and stained hands, that is the pairing that brings us into the arena of identity. secretive, yet i’ve told you everything and you haven’t noticed, there are infinite meanings and slim chances for true objectivity.

i mentioned this would be unrestricted.

belle, reimagined

“Musings” is the result of a creative metamorphosis. This is my capsule portfolio of all things that inspire, perplex, and linger. Unrestricted.

“Archaic Malady” is the result of a creative metamorphosis. This is my capsule portfolio of all things that inspire, perplex, and linger. Unrestricted.


photo by Nia Garza

I first tried out the alter-ego of “Belle” on social media in 2013, becoming known as “belle athena” on most platforms. The name stuck, but the intent of the blog shifted as I began to take myself, and my work, more seriously. After much planning and consideration, I revamped the site in May 2017.
This site is dedicated to the authentic, to the dangerous and sticky parts of humanhood; all the things I’d striven to keep buried. The intention now is to tell the truth to my readers–it is likely to shock some of the loyal followers–and hopefully, with some time and consistency, crack open what it means to be Belle.
Follow, share, and enjoy; start conversations, question and comment, but please, remain kind. Content is all original and must be respected as such. Send all requests, collaboration or otherwise, to ArchaicMalady@gmail.com. Social platforms are also a preferred form of contact.

Thank you,

Fairy Queen Out

unapologetically happy

home and belonging

there are conversations in my head, always it seems, about home and belonging. I have come to the realization that I had ceased trying to find my home; I had become complacent with a halcyon that was not spiritually enriching. I aim to rectify that. because the longer I remain a misfit–constantly considering myself as Other–I won’t be unapologetically happy.

wasting paints | wip

translating a dream state

I BEGAN LAYERING PAINT, WITHOUT THINKING.
FLOWERS BLOOMED, AND I GUESS, THAT’S JUST ME, IN TRUTH, AN OPTIMIST WHO HAS FAITH IN THE SMALL PLEASURES OF THE WORLD. I THINK I’M TRANSLATING A DREAM STATE WHERE I’VE TRIED TO IMAGINE SUMMERLAND.

img_6783.jpg

NO PREDETERMINED PALETTE OR SUBJECT
JUST UNCONSCIOUS, WITH LACK OF ANY BRIGHT IDEAS OF WHAT MY STROKES AND LAYERS WOULD BE LEADING TO. AND ISN’T THAT JUST LIKE US?

faith & déja vu: fl☞va

a large part of what you believe & defending what you are passionate about, is accepting that others will disagree with you

a feminist visits danville, va


photograph by Kyle Koppe

I left the place I called home…

 

I miss Massachusetts. I miss my family. I miss my dear friends. I even miss the people  I didn’t much care for. And why? Because they still hold a place in my memories, and helped me grow to be the resilient, confident, & imaginative person that I am.

My home has been defined by lineage dating back to the Mayflower + the 1840 potato famine in Ireland; & while I roam around in the humid air with sand between my toes, my loved ones still shovel in the winters + appreciate warmer ocean water for one month out of the entire year.  A large part of me wants to go back and stay, but I am on a mission to better understand the world, starting with the country I live in.

Now that I’ve eased you in, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Danville, Virginia. 

If I thought I experienced culture shock moving to Jacksonville, I had no idea what I’d be in for driving to Georgia, South/North Carolina, into VA.

I grew up in a liberal state, with city friends, in a suburban mindset, with not much to want for. I always dreamt of the rural, of the countryside in England. And when I went there, I felt more at home and at peace with my soul than I ever had in my entire life, with ehe exception of a recurring dream I’ve had since I was five years old.

But in just a couple of days, I’ve witnessed an entirely different pace of life; a simplicity which survives on prayers and blessings. And it isn’t to say that all people here are christian, but the ones that aren’t certainly wouldn’t dare admit it. There are enough signs quoting the bible to remind you where you are, who your company is, and what sort of respect the community demands.

In Boston, you could shout, “THE DEVIL IS MY MAKER,” and some people would laugh, some owed simply stare, and other would join you in the parade. But here, I imagine something much more like shunning would occur. I can’t rightly say. 

And even JAX has its moments where I fear my own spirituality would not be accepted. There are men holding signs on the street, offering you heaven if you accept Jesus, and hell if you don’t.

But here, those signs are on front lawns; there are children holding confederate flags before grand southern churches beside their kin, while black men and women stay away on another part of the street. I can’t imagine what they’re thinking; if they’re used to it, or if it just makes them sad. All I could think was, ‘You would never see this back home,’ and that’s when I wondered, do I consider JAX my home? Or was I thinking of Andover + the likeminded people that helped shape me to be an inclusive, open person, who wants to be confided in & experiences of others shared with.

I first found out about Jesus at the lunch table in 4th grade. I had heard his name before, but never had my parents explained much of him to me. I asked my friend about him, and she said, “He’s the son of God, our savior.” I remember nodding and smiling because I found it to be poetic.  I went home that day and asked my mom, “Do we believe in Jesus?” And my mother said, “We celebrate Christmas. We are christian.” That was the only explanation I had. I never read the bible. I still prayed every night before bed, but not because I was taught to, but because I still knew of god without being told of God. God just meant something different to me than the other kids at school, and I found that intriguing.

When I was twelve, I wanted to know more about religion. So I researched, I asked around, I was invited to different religious rites of passage, I made friends of different faiths, including atheists and agnostics. I structured the commonalities in my mind, so that I might better understand the root of it all, and what I found was love, fear, existence & the afterlife. I developed a sensitivity and passion; an automatic acceptance of sort, to all people, of all faiths. To all people, of all genders, and all beliefs.

The culture of this town has certainly transported me in time and minutes, but I find it precious and important to be able to understand the psychology of others; to fault others for what they’ve been taught, for what they’ve confided in, and the spaces that have made them feel comfortable creatively, mentally and physically.

It is so hard not to use the word ‘Ignorance.’ Because when one acts with anger to the belief system of others, one becomes ignorant. Speech can be violent, detrimental, hurtful, spiteful, and often breeds discomfort. But a large part of what you believe & defending what you are passionate about, is accepting that others will disagree with you; some might even be afraid of your thoughts for what they challenge, what they question. Do not be complacent or silent, but know when fewer words are better for your own soul, and for the audience who does not listen, but prepares to answer.

with love,

Belle

 

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