the desire to express can be so overwhelming, so overpowering, that it becomes easy to cross the line from intimacy to vulnerability. and the misguided artist finds it difficult to distinguish between the two, because they believe all they must do is listen to what the painting asks of them, to what the poem asks of them.

but a blank canvas will not hesitate to carry all your burdens, and paper will gladly tempt you to spill all your secrets—paint and pen have no moral obligation to protect you from vulnerability. pictures and words are merely a medium between relationships, and if they are mediating the relationship between you and your heart, then is it not what your heart asks of you that ultimately matters?

because just as you have boundaries that you ask others to respect, your heart too has its own boundaries that you must respect. and it is the boundaries of your heart that will tell you where the line between intimacy and vulnerability lies. establishing the extent of this boundary is not something that can be rushed, and it is not something you can learn from others—every heart needs a different radius. you must take the time to recognize yours.

this process will require negotiation, and patience, but most importantly, forgiveness. because although intuition will warn you when you have arrived at the edge of a boundary, you will fail to listen from time to time, and you will cross boundaries for the sake of expression; in those moments, not only will you have to carry the guilt of transgression, but also the pain of having been transgressed upon.

critique of process (10-21-21)