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Kathleen Ramirez

Art Student, Freelance Illustrator

8

3

Chaos and Order: A Beast Within

This may be one of the hardest projects I've ever done. I'm an extremely visual, literal, traditional, always by-the-book kind of person. Artistically stiff-necked, if that makes sense, and it's one of the biggest barriers to my creativity. Sure, I can make beautiful drawings, but only in a more traditional style (think more Leonardo Da Vinci, less Matisse). I have a hard time just letting loose and going with the flow, but in a way, I think that kind of ties into who I am in my self-portrait.

I'm generally very quiet and reserved. I'm fond of peace and relaxation. I watch the world quietly from afar, prefering to observe it from a distance. Nevertheless, I enjoy watching it. When I interact with others, I'm very positive and cheerful. I'm regarded amongst my peers as a very friendly, happy person who never ceases to smile and raise people's spirits. I sincerely agree with these things.

However, I've been told by my family that if I hadn't been raised the way I had been, I would have been a goth. I've said this to my friends and they always responded with something like "You? Goth?! No, there is no way you'd be goth." My response: "You have no idea."

I've had a great life. I've never experienced or encountered anything that would remotely cause me to take on a gothic lifestyle. No music, no movies, no friends, no relatives, no spiritual experiences...NOTHING! Still, for many years (maybe even before my early teen years), I've had some mild inclination toward the gothic lifestyle. I really have no idea where this dark, goth undertone is coming from, other than it might have a connection with how quiet I am. It's not like I'm anti-social. In fact, I do enjoy people's companionship from time to time, and sometimes I'll even seek it out. But this mysterious, dark undertone has remained, nonetheless, as if a beast were crouched silently within, seemingly benign, but waiting to be unleashed.

I've always been afraid of letting loose and just "letting go" in anything I've ever done. Why? I'm not 100% certain, but something tells me that it might be due to this haunting goth undertone. It's like I'm afraid that if I go all out and let everything loose, the resting "beast within" will come roaring out and act so radically, it will terrify others. I've experienced brief moments of this inner monster when I've yelled with an unusual harshness or acted in a violent way. Both have only happened under severe circumstances when I was pushed to my absolute limit of patience and I yelled or physically reacted in such a way that I almost didn't recognize myself (complete with eyesight going out of focus and suddenly sharpening to a keen perfection for a moment). It's startled me when this has happened as I recognized it as that silent "monster within."

I've studied demonology extensively and in a very safe way, so I would know what possession is, and I KNOW without a doubt that I'm not possessed or even haunted/oppressed by demons. I have always been strongly against all things evil and demonic. What I'm saying about this beast is that it's not a completely different being separate from me, but that underneath, that is who I am -- a violent monster on the inside, and a gentle, peace-loving creature on the outside. This beast rarely makes itself known to others, but I am frequently aware of its presence, knowing that it always lies in wait, and I live with the fear that one day it may be unleashed and will be an uncontrollable chaos. It's as if the active forces of order and chaos lie within me simultaneously...

WOW! That was really long-winded. I guess I just got to know myself better just by typing all this straight through. This is going to take a lot more pondering and contemplation than I thought.

I do appreciate any feedback and thoughts you might have on this. Thanks!

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