Artist: Ariel Maldonado
Exhibit: Talk to Strangers
Materials: clay and electricity
Growing up, I was always the sensitive type. I cried easily during movies or when I was getting lectured, and I got angry real quick when I did not get my way. Maybe that was normal for young children but once I started to get into high school, my sensitivity was not going away. Once high school came around, I felt like I was being pressured to make future decisions and skipping my teenage years in order to take care of my two little brothers. I was extremely unhappy and soon became depressed. I kept thinking to myself, “What was the point of living if I am no longer happy and no one really cares about me?” I didn’t know what to do during that time and tried cutting myself, thinking that maybe the pain would take away the emptiness I felt on a daily basis. Soon after I had become depressed, I had basically “turned off” my emotions because I didn’t want to feel anymore and get hurt. I thought by no longer feeling anything, I could protect myself from people and not get too attached. After a couple of years, I learned that turning off my emotions was not the right thing to do because I had basically pushed people away and was just damaging myself in the long run. I had to make myself feel again, but because I have any emotions for a while, it was hard to really feel anything and I had to really try to feel happy, angry or sad. To this day (3 years later), I still have a hard time feeling emotions sometimes because not feeling anything had become a natural feeling for me. Also, because I taught myself to not feel, it has become a problem in my relationship because it’s hard for me to be sensitive to my boyfriend’s feelings and so if I could go back, I wouldn’t have done what I did and just feel all the emotions I was feeling instead of repressing it all. The piece that was displayed in the “Talk to Strangers” exhibit impacted me because it brought me back to those years where I was repressing my emotions. The switch that was displayed allowed the viewers to turn on and off the lights in the clay dome and change the colors, almost how someone can turn on and off their emotions.