The artist, Emma Sulkowicz, suffered a horrible trauma. Her case wasn't handled well, and she was left to pick up the pieces of her life and make meaning. As a senior at Columbia University, she decided to make her thesis an outward representation of her journey through her pain. Thus, Mattress Performance (Carry that Weight) began.
Essentially, Emma carried a mattress like the one at the site of the original trauma, as a physical representation of her inward burden. She committed to carrying it under specific parameters until there was justice for her. While she had to carry it,
She didn't have to carry it by herself.If someone came along and offered assistance or support, she accepted it. The mattress weighed the same amount, but her burden was shared.
So it is in life.Our pain, our trauma, our suffering exists, and it has its corresponding weight. I wish there were a magic way to make it disappear, but I don't think there is this side of heaven.
There is little magic in sharing the burden. But there is comfort. There is fellowship.