I woke up terrified, broken and bloody on the pavement. It took me a few seconds to realize we’d flown into oncoming traffic along with the motorcycle after being crashed into. It was a hit and run. It’s been over a year since my boyfriend and I were hit by a car on our motorcycle during rush hour in Los Angeles, and I still can’t forget hearing the sounds of my boyfriend, unconscious, struggling for breath, or how fragile life suddenly felt- I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.
Death came to give us both a kiss that night. The residue from her gray lips stripped my well-constructed “strong” identity. Later that night I grabbed my crutches next to the hospital bed to use the bathroom… when I looked in the mirror I was faced with my uncomfortably raw reflection, devoid of the ego propping me up to take the edge off. She looked different. Her fragile leaking eyes told me. . . it was time to surrender and let go of what was left on the road that night, no more pushing down trauma and going about business as usual. Finally, my stubborn ego wasn’t there to talk me out of asking for the help I desperately needed.
Therapy provided a safe container to explore myself, my trauma, to light up dark areas in my psyche and gently provided tools to rebuild a new authentic sense of self. Among many deep dives with my therapist, she introduced me to Sigmund Freud’s concept of the human psyche. Freud conceptualized three systems of the unconscious brain by: the id, the ego, and superego.
“According to Freud psychoanalytic theory, the id is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories, the super-ego operates as a moral conscience, and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.” ** – McLeod, S. A.
My therapist asked me to identify my own id, ego and superego. To my creative brain’s delight— she challenged me to think abstractly— “what do they look like, how do they act, what is the tone of their voice, etc.”. This challenge was unexpectedly invigorating! Once I began meditating on these parts of myself and identifying with them— I was able to feel more balance and stability navigating my days with more mental clarity and compassion.
Understanding when my inner dialogue became too harsh and self critical (superego), when I was managing my primal impulses and able to level myself when I felt too critical (ego), and when I would get explosive and edgy, among my many other primal instincts (id), helped me self-soothe and counteract these inner monologues with kindness and rationality. It was a solid addition to my growing mental toolkit.
I became creatively seduced to bring these versions of myself to a tangible reality, expressing a darker side of who I am with celebration, color theory, and fire energy. I believe our dark nature is crucial to unpack and explore. It holds keys only you have access to— and in times of trauma, tension and transformation, these keys could save your life or hurt you if you don’t understand which door to use them for.
We are all experiencing our own traumas as we navigate the heavy pandemic, intense political climate, and our individual distressing experiences during this unprecedented time.
My intention with this art piece is to celebrate mental health by allowing yourself to ask for help when truly needed, to encourage self-expression as a form of therapy, to highlight the color orange representing the sacral chakra and it’s healing properties, and to ignite anyone reading this article with some authentic soul-warming fire. You are not alone and you are absolutely beautiful when you’re raw. I wish you many ego deaths and rebirths on this psychic journey.
Celebrating life, grateful for another chance.
Thank you Taylor
CONNECT WITH TAYLOR LEWIS
Photos / Taylor Lewis @taylorlewisphoto
Model / Katie Cook @katiee_cook
Hair / Bradley Leake @hairbybradleyleake
Makeup / Sarah Nelson @sarahnelsonmakeup
Style / Savanna Chonis @savannakc
Assistant / Sarah McTaggart @sarahthegrape
story / Taylor Lewis