Thriving Through Art
My journey into becoming comfortable in my own skin started in a stagnant swamp of misery. I was shell-shocked, freaked out, and scared as all get out. I had "survived" but felt oh-so-broken and helpless. I wanted to thrive - for my sake and the sake of my young son - but had spent a lifetime believing that I had to put other people's needs, desires, and expectations ahead of my own. I had trouble figuring out where to turn or what to do first. So, for some time I sat, numb and still.
Eventually, a feeling came: an urge to paint. The urge was palpable. Persistent. It nagged at me, so tangible that I could feel it in my skin. My body craved the stretching that I'd need to do to fill the biggest canvas I could imagine.
A friend encouraged me: "Do it! Paint. Paint what is inside." I went home, found the biggest paper I could, took out my son's tempera paints, and started painting. And I learned so much.
Through the process of painting, I learned:
- that the answers I seek are inside me, they just need time and a place to surface.
- that I wasn't broken, I was contorted - having shaped myself to fit other people's needs, wants, and expectations at the expense of my own.
- that patience, a change in perspective, and a willingness to try something out will always get me through to the other side.
- to understand that the creative process is messy, non-linear, and frighteningly exhilerating
- to accept that life is the ultimate creative process.
A Sample of my Visual "Journal":
Below are some paintings from the initial months of my journey into becoming fully me. They reflect the process of "going through", and experience of learning to know and honor myself. The images reflect my movement from anger and overwhelm into hope and growth. This record of my inner unfolding was made, not for artistic value, but in the quest for clearing out the old and welcoming in something new.