Tag Archives: darkness

Me at 20 (assignment for a self – discovery workshop) 

The assignment was to find a metaphorical image of ourselves at a selected age. I had originally picked the number 27 because she first had us just pick a number, without telling us what the number was for.

At 27, I was internally severely depressed, suicidal, and a general mess, but presented as very together to the outside world. I worked almost 80 hours a week. I was a manager at a group home. I had my external shit together… I would land in the hospital for a week, get discharged, and head back to work the day of discharge, or the following day. I worked full-time while attending intensive outpatient treatment around my work schedule… I can’t count anymore how many times I was asked how I could manage that so seemingly easily…

The perfect picture for that would be an ad for the exorcism movie (a b&w photo with a girl sitting in a room alone, her head facing the wrong direction, and the words “there’s a fate worse than death”… I kinda regret not bringing it now…

So yeah, that felt like a bit heavy, and a bit much to bring to this workshop.

The second age I picked was 20 simply because L picked that one. The image for it is an ad for The Good Place…

It’s perfect for me at 20. There were a few bumps, but I was generally unaware. My internal systems did a good job of convincing me everything was fine. I was oblivious except for a few things not going great (hugely depressed, but no real clue why. Trying to work on it in therapy and constantly getting the question “was there anything else?” Because the interventions that should have worked just didn’t…). So yeah, that works well for 20.

Last night’s art journal class & a moment of zen

I barely got out of bed yesterday. I got up to go to the bathroom and take care of the dogs…

In the early afternoon, I decided I need to take some sort of action to help me stabilize a bit. My friend then posted that there were still spots let in her journal class that night. I told her I was going. I didn’t really have the money for it, but I needed the distraction and to get out of bed (and the house). I’m really glad I went.

Not only was it great to see my friend, but I met some cool new people also. And the journal page came out really cool. I liked the concept so much (and I was bored waiting for the first one to dry) that I did one in both journals.

wpid-20150529_215618.jpgFirst we created an abstract background with tempera paint (the blocks, so it ended up looking like a grungier watercolor). It took a few layers, but they came out really cool. I might have to invest in some tempera blocks. Then we traced/drew some feather outlines on the page and painted around them with diluted gesso. I did the first page as she showed us (painting the whole page but the feathers). The second one I tweaked. One of the other ladies in class painted one half of her journal, then did the reverse (painted the feathers in) on the other half. Her’s came out really cool, so I tried a similar technique.

I showed TM both of them today, and upon seeing the smaller one, she commented how bright and happy the colors were… Then she looked closer and read the poem. She frowned a bit. She said it was surprising (or interesting? or striking? I can’t remember her exact word choice) that at first glance the page looked so happy & bright, but the words and additional images were so sad/dark/depressing. I hadn’t put it together in as many words at the time, but it was somewhat on purpose. It matches my presentation a lot of the time: I may look happy & bright and together at first glance, until you take a closer look. Then you see the darkness…

wpid-20150529_232604.jpgThe second page looks a bit more chaotic and grungy even at first glance, but the words are happier. They are lines/words from a song (“I won’t come down” & “fly”) I guess I liked the concept of having to look past initial impressions to get the true feel of the piece; contradictions in appearance and substance… Much like all of humanity. You can’t judge anything on appearance & first glances alone. There’s always more to it… (sorry, I don’t have an updated picture of the second one with the additional lyrics on it, but they are at the top, center of the spread).

I had a lot of fun doing them. I’m also ::gasp!:: pleased with how they turned out 😉

And finally, for a moment of zen; tonight’s sunset & moon: (yeah, so the sunset keeps getting more dramatic as it progresses… jumped up like 5 times for pics already. gonna miss this view a lot…)


Distractions: some art journal progress from yesterday

Yesterday I spent the day with my friend who teaches the art journal classes. We were going to play around more making spray inks, but my car needed to go to the shop, so I ended spending the day with her. We ran her errands, then went back to her place. I played around with journal pages, and her dogs (omg are they ever friggin cute! They’re a pair of french bulldogs…).

I didn’t finish anything, but started a few backgrounds… actually, I finished the “heart” page that I had drawn the other night but really disliked (before and after images included)… The blue & black page I finished at home last night (and true to my printer-ink-as-spray-ink history, I’m still waiting for the black ink to dry 24 hours later).

I also got some of the mirror foil that my friend has, and added it to my “create” page from last week. The glue used is really cool. It was still tacky and workable a week after application. It’s supposed to remain tacky for use with the foil for like 2 weeks, and I believe it. I even had dust on my journal, and wax on other parts but the foil stuck to the glue lines. Very cool!

The other 3 pages are still just backgrounds. We did end up making the additional spray inks, but I left them at her place for the time being. I’ll do a whole other post about that experience, as color theory doesn’t quite work the same with clothing dye (who knew blue and yellow wouldn’t mix well. We got a light olive-green, a slightly darker yellow, a slightly greenish blue, and a black, but no straight-up green)…

Anyway, here are the backgrounds and the finished pages in no particular order.

on vulnerability and being human

Brene Brown’s voice came up as “soothing” when I asked elsewhere who people thought had soothing voices. I couldn’t remember if I had ever heard her voice, so I threw her name into a google search. Up came the 2010 TEDxHouston talk on Vulnerability…

It kinda connects in topic (or maybe listening to what she was saying sparked a thought that led to a thought that led to remembering) to this blog post from Inner Canvas (a blog by an art therapist for therapists about utilizing creativity in their practice). Specifically, I’m thinking of the quote with which she starts the entry:

“Our profession is the only profession that gives you 5-6 chances to feel like a failure every day.”  Scott Miller

While I haven’t bothered to look up who Scott Miller is, I think this quote speaks not only to vulnerability, but also to the humanity of therapists. They are people, not “gods” or “robots” or anything else impervious and impenetrable we may conjure when thinking of them. This is something of which I often need reminding. I find myself at once understanding that therapists have their own lives with trials and tribulations, yet forgetting that they have emotions in reaction to not only their lives, but also to what we (as clients) bring to session with us. I’m remembering the recent session with TM where I was disclosing something I felt little emotion about, but to which I thought I saw an emotional reaction from her. In the same moment, I felt a fear that I would break her with the “truth of who I am” but also hoped that she was immune to the darkness that leaks from me… I’m expecting her to be stronger than I am against all of the “gunk” in me, but I’m also afraid that what I express will break her apart as badly as it has both myself and others…

I hope with all my heart that my vulnerabilities do not mirror her own because then they may actually break her. I worry about that with everyone and anyone with whom I let down my guard and allow to see the mess inside. Yet I’m reminded of something TL had said to me in session one day; “you’ll be surprised how many people appear once you begin to be genuine with who you are to the world.” She was speaking of that same concept of vulnerability Brene Brown talks of in her presentation at TEDxHouston…

Therapists become vulnerable daily when they invite us to show them our pain. While it’s different in quality to the vulnerability we present as clients, it’s vulnerability none-the-less…

…and because I saw she had another talk up from TED2012, I thought I’d listen to that too… I’m not done, but there was one quote I wanted to include here: “vulnerability is not a weakness”… can we get this in neon, blinking lights please? because I know I have a lot of trouble with this concept. Here’s the whole talk in case anyone is interested:

new art challenge: “disgustingly happy art”

Therapy was better today. While I didn’t talk about everything I had wanted to, I was able to give TM part of a journal entry to read. She had asked about the flashbacks, but I couldn’t speak it, so I just handed her the pages. I warned her it was kinda detailed, and she could skim if she wanted… After reading the paragraph about the flashbacks, she back-tracked to read the beginning part of the page. I’m kinda glad she did. There was stuff there I had wanted to ask her, but couldn’t bring myself to say. To her credit, I couldn’t pick up on any outward reaction from her. I’m glad. I think I would have interpreted anything at all as judgement…

I also showed her the “monsters in the closet” art journal. We talked about all of it a bit. I ended up describing some recent history from the last batch of hospitalizations. I was trying to explain why I think L is justified in her panic responses sometimes (even though I dislike it and I wish she didn’t worry so much, I understand why she does). I’m not sure if it was the lighting and shadows in the room or what, but I thought I saw TM tear-up. I really hope my eyes were playing tricks on me. If not, I worry about breaking her too. The point that I thought I saw her eyes get wet was not a point in the story that was particularly emotional to anyone that does not know me. That would mean that she was reacting to something on her end. I don’t want to bring stuff up for people. I don’t want to break them just in being me… I did that already with one therapist. I really don’t want to break another. If there’s any credibility to the threat of me possibly contributing to her being broken, I’m out. No way. No more. I’ve broken the dogs, I broke N, I broke L, I broke De… no more breaking people…

10940461_10153013715089892_3865196304632814884_nAnyway, TM tasked me with focusing on the positives this coming week (probably to contrast all the crap from last week). I am to create a piece of “disgustingly happy art” with unicorns and Pegasus and rainbows. “The happier the better” even if it’s totally fake. And I’m supposed to journal about the process. I’m also supposed to journal/track when I feel “ok”. It all feels hugely, frustratingly fake. I’ve already started the painting, but I also already want to tear it up. The proportions and shading is all wrong. I can’t figure out how to do the wings correctly… It was supposed to be a white horse on a celestial bg, but because I screwed up the shading, it’s now a black and brown horse. That means I need to come up with a different bg scheme now. And I need to add other annoyingly, disgustingly cute and happy things, but I’m not sure what. Probably butterflies and flowers and [ew!!] pink things! If I don’t shred it, I may throw up all over it… The only way I got this far was telling myself I was making it to give to TM (or L, who actually wants it. though darkness would seep in to L’s so I have to keep thinking it’s for TM right now)… Another friend also wants it, but she is third in line. I joked and told her I would have to make prints so everyone could get a copy.


So yeah… that’s that. I think I need to try to sleep now before my cranky mood returns.

As it Seems by Lily Kershaw

Heard this on Criminal Minds and the lyrics grabbed my attention… (still can’t pay total attention to an episode, but if I multitask enough, I can get the gist of the episode… this song is from the same episode as the quote – s7e24 “run”)…

As It Seems – Lily Kershaw

Well I knew
What I didn’t want to know
And I saw
Where I didn’t want to go
So I took the path less traveled on
And I’ll let my stories be whispered
When I’m gone…

When I’m gone
When I’m gone
When I’m gone

Well in this life you must find something to live for
Cause when the darkness comes a callin’
You’ll go back to where you were before
Cause this life is as
Fragile as a dream, and
Nothing’s ever really
As it seems…

As it seems
As it seems
As it seems

Well I lost my innocence when in I let him dive
But the way that he looked at me
Made me feel alive
And now I know
Nothin’ at all
But the release that comes when you’re
In mid fall…

In mid fall
In mid fall
In mid fall

Cause in this life you must find something to live for
Cause when the darkness comes a callin’
You’ll go back to where you were before
Cause this life is as
Fragile as a dream, and
Nothing’s ever really
As it seems…

As it seems
As it seems
As it seems

just want to cry

Flashbacks are returning hard. Got really triggered in therapy last time and I can’t seem to pull out of it. I want to bawl my eyes out, but there’s no place to do that; no safe person to do it with… the flashbacks bring more complete memories, and they are unrelenting. I’ve been rehearsing my mantra that is supposed to remind me I’m in the here and now, not the past. The words are starting to blend together and not make sense because I’ve said them so often recently.
Every little thing makes me jump again. I thought that it had finally calmed down a few weeks ago, but it’s back. None of my usual coping skills are helping. I hate this so much. I just want to be able to get through the days without feeling so terrified and alone…

I keep going back to wanting to run from therapy because it’s so triggering. Maybe if there were more resources during the down-time, or I had more in-person support around what we talk about, I wouldn’t feel so lost. But there’s nothing else. Nothing that TL can offer or suggest. Nothing I can afford in terms of additional supports. And I just want to isolate from everyone and everything 😦

Is it Saturday yet? Does it really matter anyway when the hour flies by so fast leaving me feeling raw and triggered? My neediness is through the roof today, but it’s very specific: I don’t want to have to talk. I just want to sit and feel supported. I want that closeness without the pressure of being “on”… I want to be understood and have all this figuratively held for me so I am not so alone in it. I don’t know how to do that with what I have in the moment. I can’t talk about what was triggered with anyone close to me because I need to still process it first with someone objective (translate that to: safe & non-judgemental & relatively unaffected).

The a/c was fixed yesterday, so I moved my art supplies back out of the bedroom, but I don’t want to sit out there to do anything. I like my little cave at the moment, even though mom is shopping and the house is empty. Feeling very vulnerable, so the tighter space is welcomed. The comfort of the bed and the dogs and the music through the speakers helps… Fuck, really miss De right now. SJ is very much here and very much out and very much missing her comforts and safety…