Vincent Van Gogh, An Eccentric

Vincent Van Gogh, An Eccentric

BY: EDEN SMITH

There are some people born onto this planet that stand out, unfailingly, in comparison to everyone else. The rare people who view Earth with different eyes, and whose hearts are wired a bit differently. One of these, and one of my favorites, was Vincent Van Gogh.

I believe that we should all take something from these different beings; to see them as a gift, a lesson. My favorite quote of Van Gogh’s is this one:

“What am I in the eyes of most people? A good-for-nothing, an eccentric and disagreeable man, somebody who has no position in society and never will have. Very well, even if that were true, I should want to show by my work what there is in the heart of such an eccentric man, of such a nobody.”

I am fond of these words because he acknowledges his differences and embraces them. As many do not know, Vincent was not popular or famous until after his death- during his life, he was poor and unknown, yet he pursued his painting as a way to escape.

What made him so different, though? I went in a deep dive through the internet, researching conspiracies and theories about this. Many believe Van Gogh possessed multiple mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, and possibly Bi-Polar disorder. This is inferred through his letters to his brother, Theo. In one of these, he writes,

“Let us keep courage and try to be patient and gentle. And not mind being eccentric, and make distinction between good and evil.”

Despite this, Van Gogh’s neighbors evicted him from his home and he would later be omitted to an asylum. The most well-known fact about Van Gogh, nevertheless, is that he literally chopped off his own ear– and this rings true. It happened on Christmas Eve in 1888, just after he had learned of his brother Theo’s engagement. It’s speculated that this put great stress onto the shoulders of Van Gogh, considering he relied on his brother emotionally as well as financially.

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“Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear”

Following his psychotic breakdown where he sliced off his ear, he was sent to a mental hospital- where ironically, his artistry flourished. There, some of his most notable paintings were born, such as “The Starry Night”.

Starry Night.
The Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh

Perhaps the most haunting thing about Vincent Van Gogh’s life was not actually involving his life, but his death. It is said that he committed suicide, but there are people that believe he was murdered. It is known that he died, at age thirty-seven, due to a shot to the abdomen while painting in a wheat field in France- but a gun was never found.

Despite the various theories on his life and death, it is up to you to decide what you believe.

“This is my ambition, which is founded less on anger than on love, founded more on serenity than on passion. It is true that I am often in the greatest misery, but still there is within me a calm, pure harmony and music. In the poorest huts, in the dirtiest corner, I see drawings and pictures. And with irresistible force my mind is drawn towards these things. Believe me that sometimes I laugh heartily because people suspect me of all kinds of malignity and absurdity, of which not a hair of my head is guilty — I, who am really no one but a friend of nature, of study, of work, and especially of people.”

Vincent Van Gogh

Eden Smith, Sweet Spade.

I Am Breaking Up With Sugar

I Am Quitting Sugar- and It Will Be The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

BY EDEN SMITH

 

A few weeks ago, I was confronted by my father about how sugar, just like drugs and alcohol, can be addictive. This generally started to concern me, and got me thinking about my diet habits…and how they weren’t very healthy.

I, like many others, was a frequent consumer of processed foods. Of course, I did eat the occasional apple and healthy meals, but for the most part, my diet started to worry me. I had come to the conclusion that I was a sugar addict. It wasn’t until I embarked on a journey to break up with sugar, that I realized just how much of an addict I was. The sugar withdrawal symptoms hit me hard, and they still are.

I am currently four days in to my “Sugar Breakup”, as I’ve titled it. I’m going to first explain why I decided to do this, and then what I have learned from this experience thus far.

WHY I QUIT SUGAR.

  1. You don’t live to eat- you eat to live. My grandmother says this all the time, and it sticks with me. I want to experience life for its memories and people, not for the food. I wish to eat to be healthy, not just for enjoyment.
  2. I want to feel good, inside and out. This is a hard thing to feel when most of what you put in your body consists of sugar. I want to experience the effects of healthy foods on my mood and overall health.

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I QUIT.

  1. THE EXHAUSTION SET IT- FAST. Within the first day of saying no to sugar, I noticed the sleepiness I felt, and I felt it fast. I first noticed it when I started feeling heavy-eyed in class, almost impossible to stay conscious. I had had the same cup of coffee and the same amount of sleep I had always gotten, but without the sugar my energy levels slumped.
  2. FRUIT BECAME MY BEST FRIEND. On the first night, I had strawberries as a snack before bed. Usually, I ate them dipped in sugar but since that wasn’t an option, I hardly noticed. They were the sweetest thing I’d eaten all day, and it was bliss.
  3. LIGHTHEADED AND DIZZY. On the 2nd day of sugar-free, I was at lunch with friends when I stood up and nearly fell over, feeling incredibly lightheaded and dizzy. This shocked me, but with research I realized that this was only a symptom of sugar withdrawal.
  4. HEADACHES. I woke up in the morning and fell asleep each night with pounding headaches. With the help of ibuprofen, this was bearable.
  5. MOOD SWINGS AND CRAVINGS. Happy to sad, sad to excited, excited to tired. It’s a vicious cycle. Going into the kitchen and seeing any form of sugar is like going to war with yourself.
  6. DOING IT WITH A FRIEND MAKES IT EASIER. My best friend, Haley, has joined me in this challenge to embrace a better, healthier lifestyle- and boy, does it help. Doing it with somebody else makes the motivation increase, and the will power to not cave in to sugar increase equally.

 

I didn’t realize the effects of sugar on the body until I started this. It has only been four days in, but it is serving as a major eye-opener for me. After witnessing and feeling the withdrawal symptoms happen to myself, I am more enticed than ever to no longer depend on sugar as a daily need. Of course, the occasional desert at holidays and special events, but keep it in moderation. With the harsh effects of quitting, the long-term effects will be worth it all.

E.S., Sweet Spade

A Letter To Heartbroken Girls

Don’t you dare let a silly boy break you into pieces.

But,

If you do, if somehow you let your guard down and someone takes advantage of your heart, then take it back. You have strength deep within you that you haven’t even discovered yet.

If a lover takes your heart and smashes it on the ground, put it back together and don’t give anyone the power to ever hurt you like that again. Don’t miss him, because he wasn’t good enough for you. Don’t even let yourself get stuck on the thought of him, because it will tear you apart- when, what you need the most, is to be put back together.

I really need you to understand this- you are the only thing in the world that has the power to fix your life. You can’t blame yourself for why he left you, you can’t question your identity and get lost in the walls of your mind. He cannot consume you, you are too mighty to let that happen. So don’t.

Right now, your heart needs healing, and you must take care of it. Don’t wallow in regret and sadness, don’t sit in the rain and weep with the grey sky. Let the sun in, and do not be afraid. Work on building up the empire that is inside of you, and show the world that you didn’t lose a part of yourself.

I believe in you.

E

E.S, Sweet Spade

If You Live With Mental Illness, Read This

Here is what I have learned.

  1. You do not have to explain to people why you’re acting the way you are. They aren’t going to understand, and that’s okay.
  2. You are so much more than your diagnosis. You are a flower, you are the wind in-between the spokes on a bike, you are a living, breathing miracle. You are not your diagnoses.
  3. There will be days when fighting is all you can do. When you feel like you are standing in the middle of a battleground, only it’s you on both sides and it’s all in your head.
  4. There will also be days when you can only surrender. Lay in bed, let it pass. Sleep, a lot, and cry if your heart is heavy.
  5. Your strengths will be tested. From the very beginning, the illness pokes at your wires and makes you want to pull your hair out. It will try to break you and tear you apart, but it cannot fully destroy you. Don’t even think about letting it win.
  6. It causes you to burn bridges, but they can be built again. It will tear up relationships with people whom you can’t trust, who don’t understand you the way you wish they would. But bridges can be built again, and they will, with the right people.
  7. Remember the word “Lightly”. This is a therapy word for me. Live lightly, sweetheart. Tread forth lightly, dance with life lightly, feel lightly.
  8. Laughing is the most amazing thing on Earth. That can be my only way of coping. Laugh, laugh, laugh and get joy out of the little things. Funny things are like gold. They make it bearable.
  9. You are not alone.

 

Eden Smith, Sweet Spade