"Choose a song that describes you best" was the assignment I received on my first Introduction to Photography course at Uni. And as soon as I heard the instruction, a song came to mind. I was surprised because, at that time, it's been years since I last listened to it, but there it was.
"I know a girl
She walks the asphalt world..."
The Asphalt World is a song by Suede from 1994. It's almost ten minutes long and, for some reason, it only thinking about it set fire through my veins and gave me goosebumps.
It still greatly impacts me when I play it nowadays, but now it's more like a conversation with my past self—pre-recovery.
The song came out when I was about twelve. When romance was a bit more interesting, more comparisons between myself and others took place, and more self-judgment was made.
I have been intrigued by human behavior and expression since I can remember. And something about this song, mainly the mystery around the main character and trying to understand how she feels, who she is, and what she wants, pulled me to it.
But as I was growing up, the song collected more depth and meaning within me. By the time that photography class assignment came, I was in my mid-twenties, bruised by past relationships, bulimia, sexual abuse, harsh self-talk, and more. And even though I had a wonderful partner at that time, since I couldn't deal with the pain I carried from my past, something in my core highly resonated with this song.
It is the melody that opens the song that sounds so magical, flowy, and psychedelic that it lures one in. And then, the lyrics build up that story of a relationship full of substances, uncertainty, and possible infidelity. In the middle, an instrumental part that best-described madness and feeling lost until before Damien Rice's I Remember came to my ears. And finally, a closure with repeating the chorus.
The girl who walks the asphalt world was me. I was the one with ice in her blood, with a dove in her head, who didn't know how she felt when in one's bed. I froze up as the sex turned cruel, but I kept playing the game to get by. I found the substances or behaviors that helped me get by. And no one knew.
I was walking a world covered with asphalt; it felt like stable ground, but it was a man-made coat covering the soil and essence. I bless the courage I encountered to crack the asphalt and reach for the essence beneath.
This upcoming Sunday, I will offer true-size prints of this drawing I now call the Asphalt World. It was one of my first Doll-Parts drawings and was to be a part of a series of drawings discussing us being a mix of truth and programmed content to a point where we can hardly know what is what.
The reason I chose to name the drawing The Asphalt World is because I find it to envelop all the emotions I felt when connecting myself to the song: Hurt, confusion, being taught to look for a savior, being lost in society's expectations, in sexuality designed by others, and more.
It's interesting to find how my art keeps revealing my life's story well after it was made. :) And it is also humbling to see how many changes has occurred in my life since I became willing to touch the places where I was hurting the most (and ongoing process, of course).
Thank you for reading!
Feel free to share your heart and thoughts with me.