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I examine how my Social Anxiety (informally known as shyness*) both masks and integrates into my identity. Many people hold misconceptions about social anxiety. Anxious people are both told that they should be able to control their fears and that they are boring because they are so self-contained and indecisive, implying that their fears control them and encompass their whole identity. These characterizations are oversimplified and lead to the quick dismissal of complex and fascinating persons. This work seeks to underscore how powerfully anxiety can both erase and shape/ integrate into a person. Breaking from anxiety is incredibly difficult and an ongoing challenge that never is (nor perhaps should be) complete. My work highlights the difficult process of fighting against self-erasure.
A malleable wax over a more solid material, in this case clay, worked well to visually and viscerally represent the process of uncovering and redefining a self-identity. I chose wax for its translucent qualities and its difficulty in removal. Using wax also gave me an opportunity to capitalize on the unique symbolic and visual qualities of fire: The use of fire to remove the wax evokes both strength and fear. The fire signifies the complications of trying to break out of anxiety, a process usually pursued primarily through doing, with shaking hands and a queasy stomach, exactly what one fears.
*As opposed to introversion