vrijdag 14 december 2012

The heart guerrilla

As you know I spent almost 4 months living and working in an ecological village. At first it was great, living a simple and natural life, being surrounded by a community of open-minded and open-hearted people. But after a while it started itching. I blamed myself for being restless, which was also true.* But there was more. I will tell you a story of something that happened at Ecolonie, but beware: it doesn't make the positive impression I have of the place any less true, and I don't want to be a backstabber either. I only want to share a side of my experience that is also true.

At first there were the hearts on the windows. In the misty surface we drew with our fingers the shape of hearts. It had been going on for a while, until the leader came by when I was cleaning the kitchen and asked me to 'erase the stupid drawings' as well. It made me upset. I did what he asked, but couldn't resist drawing a couple of small hearts on paper that I struck to the humid windows. From that emotional impulse the idea rose to draw hearts everywhere, like the most innocent graffiti: a love offensive.

So we made hearts in the butter one morning. We carved hearts in pumpkins left over from Halloween, with candles inside. We lay patterns of chestnuts on the window-sill in the shape of hearts. We pricked the drawing-pins on the information board in the shape of a heart. And we continued drawing hearts on the windows. I went a little bit further. I sewed a heart on the knee of a pair of trousers that had been torn. Soon the heart movement was being led back to me. A permanent inhabitant asked me to stop making hearts, because, and I quote, 'it is too dominant, and it might annoy other people'. She didn't give me practical limitations, she only talked about the psychology she suspected behind this, like she wanted to give me a lesson of education. I wanted to dominate. And with what? With the symbol of a heart. I was so overwhelmed by the aggressive way this was being communicated to me that I succumbed, and agreed to stop. I kept my word, but the other members of the heart movement continued.

Something else happened, which is not important to the story but enhanced the feeling that it would be destructive for me to suppress my creativity any longer. So I made a plan. I was so scared to put it out there that I first tried to make peace with the inhabitant that forbade me to make hearts. I told her that since I stopped making hearts, I suddenly saw them everywhere, which was also true.* She told me that nature gives you everything you need and that you could find every symbol in nature. Nice. That children need symbols to get a grip on the world, but adults don't. Adults who do, she replied to my question, 'should grow over it'. Not so nice. But I wanted to get a clear view on her perspective of symbolism and the expression of love through a symbol, because I hoped the disagreement would be a total misunderstanding. It wasn't.

She stated a whole lot more about the dark side of love that just didn't make sense. To me it felt like there was no other reason not to draw hearts other than a personal grudge she kept. So I got back to the plan, because that was a much nicer thing to do anyway. It was my intention to unite everyone that lived in the community, to 'dominate everyone with love', so to say. The weight of what I was about to do paralyzed me, and I almost didn't, until the very last day. A small group of wonderful friends helped me. We met on the court, in front of the dining room, at the lunch break. One of us went up to the bathrooms at the second floor with a photo camera. And together we made this:

This photo is honestly the most important statement from this story. 

I don't know what would have been created if I had invited everyone, also the leaders. I was led by the fearful intuition that it was probably too much to ask to make everyone happy, but I'm glad that it at least made some people happy. To be in a place of love even when other people tell you not to, tell you that your way of being is too dominant and might annoy other people. I did something that was incredibly hard for me, for the sake of beauty and love. I created my own truth.  

6 opmerkingen:

  1. WAUW! Wat een liefdevol en stoer statement heb je gemaakt Roos.. en zó mooi omschreven :-)

  2. Wat gaaf! Mag je trots op zijn :) En idd mooi verteld.

  3. Wauw, heel erg mooi. Moeilijk als iemand zo negatief doet over iets wat je alleen maar goed bedoelt. Heel mooi!