“Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling.”
– Madeleine L’Engle
“Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky
These are my two favorite quotes of all time. And they explain why I love art, sports, and skateboarding.
Being an overly sensitive person isn’t fun, and it’s not something I’m proud of—in fact, I often see it as an Achilles heel.
I will be in a situation when I know I should be happy or feel good, but instead, I’m hyper-antisocial and on edge.
I’ve learned that sometimes I feel this way because I’m sensing what others are feeling. They are hiding feelings of insecurity or anxiety, and it’s passing on to me for some reason. Not all the time.
Some “experts” say this is a part of my temperament or personality. Some “experts” say it means I’m special—an empath is the term they use. I don’t know if I believe any of that anymore. It’s just something I am hard-wired with—so I accept it and move on to make the most of it.
L’Engle helps me do just that. Her quote explains why my hypersensitive side often feels like the dark angel of destruction. Wreaking havoc inside my mind, breaking down what should be good moments into bad. Seeing conflict when there isn’t any. Find drama in the mundane things of life.
But then, on a dime, things will flip. My imagination will create new threads of light at the same moment. I’ll see the beauty of the situation, the good, the truth, and the awesomeness of others.
It can feel like a movie in my mind that I am creating in real-time. I’ll guess what someone will say, and they may or may not say it. (Often they say it…).
I’ll watch their body language and interpret whether they mean what they are saying—or look for the real meaning of what they are not saying.
Sometimes, I’ll even anticipate or try to predict what they will do beforehand and see if I am right.
All of this happens in split seconds, and it happens before I can shut it down. I’m finding myself destroying and creating in the same instant.
The dark angel of destruction and the bright angel of creativity fighting for dominance.
I’ve seen these two angels battle it out on the soccer field, the baseball field, and the street when we skate. A player or skater will try to make a pass, play, or pull off a trick, and destruction happens. They have scripted what they want to happen, but the opposite takes place:
- they drop the flyball
- the other team steals the pass
- the trick is flubbed, and the skater bails
But they can’t sit back and whine—they have to make something new happen in the next moment:
- pick up the fly ball and try to throw the guy out at second base
- steal the ball back from the forward and get it down toward the opposing net
- get up from the ground and do another session. This is why we focus on learning balance and growing joy in skateboarding. (Put in link)
The Battlefield is the Heart of Men
What is really happening when the two angels are fighting?
A war for beauty is taking place, as Fyodor Dostoevsky says.
But why fight over beauty? Simple: it’s through beauty the hearts of men are won.