'Rancor' and Resentment
The world is not black and white. Change can have good and bad effects at the same time. Being worn down over time doesn't necessarily make you weaker. Becoming more assertive and standing your ground doesn't necessarily cast you free of the bitter resentment.
I feel like I've lived a lot of my life running around after people who use my emotions and susceptibility to guilt against me. I never want to hurt someone/feel like I've hurt someone, and this has been used against me. Sometimes, when someone is manipulating you, you know exactly what is happening and what they're trying to do yet it'll still control you. You'll let them get what they want in an effort to remain a good friend/partner/relative etc. But there is only so much of this anyone can take, and everyone has a breaking point where their fuse no longer holds. Or sometimes something happens that gives you an epiphany that sheds light or hindsight on your whole relationship. Patience gone; you become more assertive, stand up for yourself and become more able to recognise their traps.
This feels like a positive change, but you realise that it doesn't come without it's pitfalls. Your once patient, long fuse is gone. Realising how much you've been manipulated, you become un-trusting. And the memories of being used, manipulated and controlled are now bitter, resentful stains on your slightly more enlightened mind. You unconsciously accepted assertion and self-love without realising it came with resentment.
I've named this piece, 'Rancor.' The definition being 'bitterness or resentfulness, especially in long standing.' And to me this piece is an exploration of this idea with the experience I (vaguely) noted above. The right side represents the self beforehand; the flowers being the desire to always see the best in people, to do the right thing and to help others. And the skull representing the self being worn down from being taken advantage of for these exact reasons. The left side represents (somewhat ironically, given that it's happened in reverse) the birth of this new kind of personality growth with the wolf being more assertive and self-caring. But the dead flowers represent that this change isn't all for the positive as with these new found character values comes irascibility and resentment.
This was a very personal piece and was kept deliberately vague so people can hopefully relate to it without it being too specific. If you relate to the experiences I've talked about, you were/are not a weak or bad person. And even the person(s) in your life who have had an antagonist effect on you may have their own problems they're going through. This doesn't necessarily make it okay, but it doesn't necessarily make them a completely bad person either. As noted before, the world is not black and white, and I wanted to leave this deliberately ambiguous to reflect that.