Exploring my vast love affair with cinema — and how it ended

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I have always enjoyed the reflection of life to life itself — Truffaut

My first memorable cinematic experience happened when I was 12 years old.

I had convinced my mother and my older brother to go watch Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. For those not familiar with the film, it is set during World War II, and its opening sequence is a rendition of the deadly and vicious D-Day landing of June 6, 1944.

At the time of its release, most critics talked about how unforgivingly bloody that extended opening scene was — body parts flying around, unspeakable agony and the relentless sounds of bullets … all in Dolby Surround Sound. …

What you consume influences what you create.

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Earlier this year, during lockdown number one, I was pondering—as one does—on the nature of creativity.

More specifically, I was honing in on the following questions :

  • Why do we create?
  • What does the act of creation bring us?
  • Why are some compelled to create while others are happy to spectate?
  • And even in the act of consuming art, what are we seeking, truly?

Beyond catharsis and self identification, which are pretty much universal outcomes, I started to wonder what specifically we may hope to attain when we consume art—or indeed, when we create.

Is it a particular sensation or emotion? …

When rather than feeling unworthy, you feel acutely unseen

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You’re familiar with the feeling of being an imposter

This usually comes about when you’re invested in work that is close to your heart. It is characterised by a torrent of doubt and fear that invades your being just as you are about to start transmitting your truth, or reaching for your highest desires.

Yet, in essence, being an imposter means that you’re pretending to be someone that you’re not.

So, in this particular context, it’s useful to ask yourself :

  • Am I being out of integrity here?
    Have I strayed from my values and from my truth?
  • Or, is there a part of myself who does not yet identify with this being that I’m currently crafting, and is therefore seeking to hold me back? …

… even when it hurts.

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What does vulnerability mean to you?

  • Is it the trepidation as you stand on the edge of control, aching to dive into the precipice, not knowing if you’ll fall, yet trusting you’ll be carried?
  • Or is it the tentative glance as you look at someone for a tad too long, instigating a connection and, as a result, feeling your heart start to race and your breath deepen?
  • Is it the torturous feeling when you stop anticipating, and sink instead into the moment, without the harness of self censorship holding you close?

Vulnerability is a quality that you learn to develop as you look within yourself, and attempt to embrace what seems at first like darkness, but is in fact is the truth—your true essence—waiting to be unravelled. …

Learn to complete your work rather than wait for it to be perfect.

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The notion of catharsis comes from Aristotle’s Poetics and signifies a “release through drama”. It was used to describe the emotion that audiences felt when witnessing a stage performance. Through the act of play, the audience was able to transpose their own experience onto the characters and, in the unraveling of the story, they could attain a sense of moral peace.

We experience catharsis as readers and as spectators of films, TV shows, and even video games.

These are an escape but also a very particular delving inward, almost like a dream world. It’s no surprise that the above-mentioned activities are deemed hypnotic states that encourage an awakening of the subconscious mind—the part of our brain that influences our actions and feelings without us necessarily being aware of it. …

Embrace the ditches. They have so much to teach you.

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There you are, riding fast along the tempestuous wave of inspiration, when suddenly, that same inspiration mercilessly falls to the floor, leaving you stunned, shocked, and somewhat decrepit.

Ideas run dry.

Quickly, as you gather yourself back up, you start ruminating on whether you need to change career paths — if you’re actually on one. Perhaps you’re already in the forest of thought, where paths seem as distant a concept as sanity.

You despair over deadlines, you question your validity as a human being. There you are, in full splendour : the epitome of the Starving Artist — or Failing, or Ruined, or Whatever Dramatic Term hits your fancy here. …

Reclaim your Power.

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What is it that YOU have been made to feel shame about?

It may be …

  • Your social status
  • Your sexuality
  • Your addictive past
  • Your abortion
  • Your self destruction
  • Your depression
  • Your weight
  • Your looks
  • Your grades

As for myself …

I spent most of my teens and twenties in a self destructive haze.

From anorexia I stumbled into addiction and alongside that I experienced bouts of bulimia and self laceration.

With the luxury of hindsight, I am able to see that this was all perhaps an extensive process of coming to terms with a trauma I have yet to fully unearth, but it was a process nonetheless.

I remember family gatherings and whispers behind my back

The safety of pointing fingers to the one who is so ostentatiously a wreck helps us find some semblance of peace as we, for a moment, forget the disaster that lies within our own emotional realm. …

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take the afternoon off

in this year of no escaping the self
I find myself often reminded of how easy it is
to simply heighten the moment with intention

each meal, each walk, bike ride, interaction
can be an occurrence of the divine
if you make it so

we can embody

each moment
by focussing on the weight
that we occupy within it

a sense of self does not result
from simply acknowledging that you are here
but rather noticing
the insane & minute magnificence of it all
and taking it all in

Strengthening the self for sensitive souls.

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We find ourselves at a time when the universal reflects the personal perhaps like no other time before.

A world is being rebuilt, systems are actively being dismantled — all of this as a result of a highly echoed NO MORE from those of us seeking a new world.

A world built on equality, kindness, compassion and REAL justice.

This is a time when we are called to ask ourselves : what is it that we’ll tolerate from the information that is being shown to us?

Never before has it been so easy to contest the education that is attempting to be force fed to us. The veil has been far lifted and we are compelled to call for truth to be heard, said, chanted, put forward in all ways possible. …

Remember to take care of yourself while you change the world.

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As the world rises to speak and fight for equality, it feels simultaneously like the best week and the worst week to be talking about self love.

On the one hand, speaking about anything related to “the self” feels like a prolongation of this individualistic system which we are now seemingly dismantling, but, on the other hand, tending to our own self does feel like essential work if we are to move forward, together.

As the gears of our time shift towards unity consciousness, it remains important nonetheless to tend to our own needs before anything else. …


Zsófia Vera

Artist & Teacher. I write about the journey from self harm to healing to inspire you to neighbour your demons with compassion and transmute pain through art.

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