(short memoir’s pages, required by Oxfod University)
Being a person with Asperger’s Syndrome (autism spectrum ), in my childhood, I used to consider myself an idiot. This was because the first psychiatrist’s reaction was ‘she is an idiot’. But, as an idiot, later I studied Latin and Greek, and I was curious what is an idiot, what is idiocy?
The Greek philosopher Theophrastus, in ‘The Stupid Man’ said that stupidity is defined as ‘mental slowness in speech or action’. Yes, I was mental slowness in speech but extremely curious. Can an idiot feel emotion? Can an idiot understand deeply the meaning of life, to write? I don’t know, but surely, the main character of Dostoyevsky – Russian writer – Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin – from the novel The Idiot, wasn’t an idiot, but a genius of the human being love. Of course, I am not a genius of the human being love like Prince Myshkin.
As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, as an idiot, as somebody who understands nothing, I ask myself what is emotion? Can an idiot understand emotion?
The New Penguin English Dictionary writes: ‘(…) strong feeling anger, fear or joy, often involving psychological changes’. But I have a feeling regarding the definition. I believe that by defining the things we limit the world. In my free time, as a balancing of emotions, I use to paint and to write. I put my feelings in colours and the colours in my feelings. So, I prefer to feel, to see, to hear the human emotions as a large palette of colours.
Colours, shades, shadows, and lights which gambol inside us, and reflect our feelings.
As a foreigner in the English language, I have asked myself what the expression ‘ feeling blue’ represents? because it is about an emotion and a colour. It is about a blue sensation, about a blue sensibility.
The blue, in this equation, is a stimulus: happy stimulus or unhappy, sad stimulus.
I asked a librarian about ‘ feeling blue’ and she said to me that this is an expression which reflects an unhappy sensation. Therefore, the blue is an unhappy stimulus. Therefore, the English people think the world, feel the world in a colourway like me?
But why is blue unhappy?
It is used to say that sadness reflects anger, sorrow, grief, melancholy, solitude, lamentation, and these can be ordinary feelings or pathological feelings.
To call the unhappiness blue, because I need to see what happens with ‘feeling blue?’
Sometimes I feel sorry for myself concerning my feelings, dark feelings.
Is blue a dark colour? No. It is a very beautiful colour. Then, what happens inside me? Is it dark inside me, or it is blue in my mind, in my heart, in my soul?
Is it a happy event to be blue or dark inside, this means it is a necessity in our life to have blue events or it is something horrible like an Inferno?
In any case, it is important to understand that the events don’t launch the emotions, but our thoughts about the events influence our feelings. Our emotional reactions at the external stimulus are a mixed effect of an external event and of an interpretation of that event. It is about our connexion between events and emotions from the chain of our experiences.
About this kind of vision of the world talked two thousand years ago Epictetus, stoic philosopher from Hieropolis. Three themes of Epictetus are: ‘ the control of desires and passions’, ‘actions’, and ‘ assent’. Other ideas include beliefs, desires, reactions, and interpretations of our experiences. In these kinds of ideas, Epictetus said that human beings feel troubled not about the things, but about how they interpret these things.
Because of these, because our thought affects our emotions, interpreting this process, we cannot understand our sadness. We cannot blame our unhappiness on the external events because if we do, we do nothing positive regarding our feelings.
But if we interpret our feelings logically, our negative stimulus, we can understand the benefit on our mind, our heart, our soul.
It is time to reflect on an idea of Aristotle who said:
‘Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy’.
Can we be angry? Aristotle said yes, but only with a reason, only with the right person, only with the right time…
This emotion – sadness – is written in our soul, in our heart, in our mind. Not everything is about emotions – sadness, or happiness – but is about our reactions in connexion with our emotions, our feelings.
It is what Friedrich Nietzsche said about sadness, suffering: ‘to live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering’.
In reality, our feelings are very important to us, because when we make a decision, the balance tilts to the feelings despite our logical thoughts.
Sometimes, because of my Asperger’s Syndrome, in my soul, in my mind there is depression’s chaos, anxiety’s chaos, anger’s chaos; a lot of colours gable in my heart. But I put all these feelings in words, in poetry, in colours, in paintings as a celebration of writing and painting of my experience. I live and I understand the world via images, colours.
What I create represents a dancing star for art? I don’t know, time will decide, but I am in this time, the time of art!
Reading Nietzsche, I have discovered my soul. His question was for me: ‘ do you need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star?’
Yes, from the chaos of my soul, from the chaos of my mind I give birth to stars.
Art means transformation. The art instigates to asking yourself a deep question: Who am I? Or How many faces have I?
These mean to relate yourself and your alter ego to poetry, music, dance, painting, journal, etc.
I can keep a balance of my feelings exploring new Universes via art, the art of writing.
The Syrian -French Poet Adonis says that when you explore something via art, you do this with all your being, you experiment the happiness and sadness at the same time.
Is sadness a benefit for our life? Yes! The sadness, with its colour, blue or dark, gives us a profound understanding of the world, we become wiser.
The art (the art of writing, the art of painting, the art of dancing…) is an Odyssey and a metamorphosis via sadness and happiness. The art represents an aesthetics of transformation of a human being from a dark or light Universe to the infinite Universes. The art is the modality which reconciles humanity with the human being, with the animality of human being, because the man is a joint between beauty and grotesque, a joint between sublime and beast.
Do we need sadness, do we need blue in our life? If blue disappears, will mauve disappear ? Yes, because these colours reflect a connection between the soul of human being and A Possible Big Creator of the Universe and this connection is the sunset.
The sunset is so blue, and so red, and so mauve, and so sad, and so happy! In the sunset there is a sea of melancholy.
Can the lovers feel the melancholy of their soul without blue, without red, without mauve, without sunset?
What kind of face could humanity have without these colours, without blue?
Albert Camus said in one of his books: ‘ Who taught you all these? The Suffering!’
The blue has lots of shades: sadness, melancholy, nostalgia, regret…
Can I learn from all of these shades? Yes, I can. Maybe, because I am the sum of my creations. Maybe, because I live in arts. Maybe…You can lose your country, you can lose your land, you can lose all of your wealth, but you remain with something: you remain with your language to lament your sadness, your blue feelings; you remain with the colour to reflect the anxiety of your soul; you remain with the dance which can imagine your struggle.
If all of these are kidnapped because of an ill-luck of an illness of the mind, you remain with the memory of these types of creation which comes from the subconscious. Maybe because the beauty is in our mind.
As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, I understand feelings via art, via types of images, and I translate these imagines in words, in colours as a happiness of writing, as a happiness of painting.
Lucia Daramus – is a British, (Romanian born) writer and poet who is living in England, a classicist, a linguist, a freelance journalist, and an artist. Her work has been published in various magazines in Romania, France, Germany, England, Canada, USA, etc. Recently she completed her course in Creative Writing (Memoir, Biography, Autobiography) at Oxford University. Her MA is in Linguistics, and BA in Ancient Greek and Latin, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca. She has published poetry, essay, short story, play, novels. Her recent novel is The Cortege of The Lambs, a book about the Holocaust, and recent poetry book is Flying With Memories.
She has exhibited in Cluj- Napoca (Romania), in Gloucester (UK )– Guildhall Gallery, and online Longfield Exhibition. She currently lives in Exeter, UK.