Info

My Art Therapy Journey

Posts from the Healing Category

Here comes a confession: I’m not tidy.  It’s funny, I know, but my subconscious works overtime to the extent that I actually can believe that I might be for moments at a time.  But I’ve reached a point, now, where I finally cannot, not for even one single moment, really believe that I am all wrapped up tight in a neat little package.  I know I’m probably the last to find this out, but I’ll be honest with me…I usually am the last to find things out.

I need a Xanax or I need sleep or I need both right now.  Yesterday I slept away an entire drug induced day, which in reality, is probably not much different from many other days I’ve had spent awake.  Things are starting to line up.  Getting cleaned up, it’s tempting to say.

 

I’ve never been one for drugs.  I’ve never been the dependent type.  I’m the one who loves to take shit and turn it into something else, like I’m a human compost or something.  Just give it to me, I’m totally unphased by shit and can turn it into something else.  Art or a poem or something.  Or a shapely body from all the metabolic processes it brings on within me.  I can take on anything! 

So here’s my next confession:  I’m also a liar.  I can’t deal with shit.  I can’t take it on or process it.  I bury it and it goes nowhere.  It does nothing useful and I put on make-up, in various forms, to face the world.  I’m shit-faced, I could maybe say.  I’ve been living my life as an addict.

I’m addicted to the part of not being human, not feelings my feelings or knowing who I really am.

I might have even married my perfect counterpart.

But then….

Shit really started happening and I saw shit.  And I said, “Oh shit!”  And shit hit the fan.

 

Our household has a nicely splattered decor of shit all over in it now.

 

But that’s not the best of it.

The best of it is yet to be revealed.

I’m up to  * here*  in shit.

*

*

*

*

 

It’s not always necessarily a person’s exact fault when life has gone to shit.  It can start at such an early age, the age before choices are really clearly made.  It’s the age of instinct and survival.  The age of not knowing any other way.  Like the age when you shit in your pants and that’s just the way it goes.

 

Then all the sudden you get a knock on the door and holy shit you’re, like, going on 33 years old.

 

“Fuck, you mean the shit is still there?!  ”

 

I’m sorry for the expletives.  I’m blaming it on the drugs (that are helping me breathe) today, but it might be something else tomorrow.  We will all cope in the best (and first) way we know how until there is another way, I suppose.  So judge me if you must.  I might not like it, but it probably won’t make that much of a difference if you do.

 

I have judged myself plenty enough, you can trust me on that one.

 

I’m behind on all of my ceramics assignments.  And what do I say to that, “Shit!”  Yes, it compounds.  It grows.  It does not go away.

So, I’m working on breathing through all this shit.  There are not readily available lessons for this.  I may be swimming in it, but the local “Y” does not seem to back the demand for this type of training.

I am off to the pool of coping which I am surfacing in.

 

Cope cope cope.  Sometimes all that’s left is coping an hoping and keeping the faith that one day, whether subconsciously or not, things will be much better.

 

 

 

 

 

Cyan Twinge

I (do)n’t Need!

 

It is hard to feel needy.  The only thing I might wish is for it to be a little harder, though.  Hard enough so that I wouldn’t feel it at all.

I thought I was going to be able to write about this, but maybe the moment has passed.  I’ve been distracted.

It won’t be enough of a distraction to not get back to needing at 11pm or 3am, however.

 

Personal neediness doesn’t seem to pay much matter to personal convenience or sleep.  It rears it’s head in the darkest hours of aloneness when the heart is searching and aching to soothe itself.  Or it stomps its feet in the between times of trying to care for a hungry toddler or a hormonal teenager.

When do I not need?

In flash scenes from “What about Bob?” and the thought of seeking comfort from another human suddenly becomes the darkest of devils.  Especially considering the convenience factor of when the feeling is at it’s strongest, which for me right now seems to be nearly all the time.  Just not this moment when I’m trying to access it to write it out of my system.  No, now I am totally self-sufficiently ineffective.

My lips have been frozen all day.  I googled “cold lips” and the first thing that popped up was a link to Yahoo! Answers from a person asking:

“My lips feel almost constantly cold my doctor says it is anxiety but i don’t feel anxious?”

The most popular response was that this person was, indeed, anxious, regardless of being aware of it or not.

I guess denial can only go so far.

But not only have my lips been cold all day, they have also had that slight twinge of cyan.

So maybe my subconscious is trying to help me out by not breathing.  Because, hey, it’s not like life and death or anything.

Which brings me to the topic of death.  And life.

But that brings me back to neediness.

And I am not needy at all.

For my Ceramics 2 class this semester I intentionally signed up for the section taught by an instructor who focuses a lot on figurative sculpture.  I want to explore and express the immediacy of what is going on in my life, but I am scared of it.  Our first assignment has a completely open ending.  I guess just writing that and seeing “open ending” gives me a place to start from.   Yesterday, in class, I was feeling blocked.  After many days of feeling full of inspiration class finally started and I couldn’t move.

Terror.

The assignment is meant as a warm-up exercise and I was dead cold.

 

 

 

Instead of starting on my real assignment I spent some time learning to use the clay extruder.  I think it’s going to make my ceramics life a lot better.  It will help in saving my hands and wrists and might be a significant addition to my toolbox.

Discovering there was this extruder in the school studio the entire last semester of Ceramics 1, but never being informed of it or taught how to use it is a little perplexing, if not a bit irritating.  But…at the same time I’m glad I didn’t know about it.  I learned things the “hard” way.   I learned how to do everything through hard work and determination and it got me more intimate with my clay.

It feels like life is that way sometimes.  Doing things the hard way through blood, sweat and tears and then someone tells you about something that gives you the same result with, essentially, the flip of a switch.

I mean, seeing this extruder machine in the studio is an extremely concrete “in reality” sort of thing.  I can see that it’s a lot easier to make coils or forms using this machine than it is to roll out coils tediously by hand.  But what if someone tells me an easier way to do something I can’t see or touch?

I have to admit, I even looked at that extruder with skepticism.  I didn’t want to deal with the anxiety of learning how to use it and, at first, I viewed it as a sort of “cheat.”  After all, shouldn’t everything be extremely difficult in life?

This seems to be one of my switched wires in my brain.  Why do I go around thinking nothing is worthwhile unless it is painful and difficult?

What if I can go about putting my creative ideas into reality through simpler means and enjoy the entire process?  Is it then, somehow, not as good???

It’s a little crazy, really.

 

I need to get over this idea that enjoyment has to be counter-weighted by misery.

It’s just a LIE.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The counter-weight of misery does NOT make joy any more safe.

 

And this brings me to the topic of Joy.

Joy is extremely risky, dangerous and downright chill-invoking without faith.

I might even believe that without faith there can be no joy at all.

 

This isn’t something I’ve thought about before writing this, but it just sort of dawned on me.

 

It’s all a part of letting-go and getting somewhere.

For me, it’s a part of getting unstuck.  That’s what if feels like.

 

There’s enough aggression and violence in the world without me needing to add to it through the creative process of my life.  Is it really needed?

 

What if I let the clay be soft and didn’t fight working with a clay that’s not workable yet?  What if I took the steps to help the clay work for me and not power through by sheer force that is only going to break me and not lead to the greatest creative outcome anyway?

 

It’s back to breathing.  Letting go, letting things be ok.

Accepting help.

Making a beautiful life willing to be made.

 

I have come to this acceptance the hard way and I wonder what miracles are ahead.

What other amazing machine I didn’t know about before hangs right in front of me on the walls of the studio awaiting discovery?

 

 

 

 

There are times that I wish I could let myself fall apart more.  Somehow,  those are never the times when I actually am falling apart. I will stop myself from falling apart even if it means a permanent ending to everything.  The times I fall apart are like the short breaks between bricks.  The places where the grout lays.

Clearly, there is more brick than grout, but without the grout the bricks most likely  would topple over and never stand or do the job they are typically created to do….and I’m not getting into physics and the possibility of that.  I know there must be exceptions to needing grout out there somewhere.  But I’m talking about what I know.

I don’t actually know that much about construction and building materials either, but that also doesn’t really matter right now.

My point is that I need to fall apart, but I also need to stay together.  I have to be both the brick and the mortar.  (Oh yeah, I think mortar is what it’s called?  Grout is for stuff like ceramic tiles, right???  I don’t know.  But this is also not the point.)

 

I’m trying to understand myself.

 

I just know that sometime I lose it.  I fall apart and I fall apart Big.  But not often enough.  But falling apart just once is too much!

I feel so stuck.

 

Maybe I just need to take down the wall.  Maybe I don’t need more (or less) falling apart.

Maybe I just need no more walls.

 

Fear is the glue.  (Glue now, not grout or mortar.)

 

Fear is static and unmoving.  Fear causes crumbling.  Fear leads to crashing.

 

I know I’m speaking in weird metaphors that probably don’t even go together.  It”s hard to face where I am in this–because I don’t really know where I am.  And this is part of the whole issue.

 

Am I strong?  Am I weak?  Am I needy?  Am I too much?  Am I not enough?

 

I need help.  I can’t do this alone.  I can’t be the wall and decide about what to do with the wall at the same time.  There are too many directions at once.  Repair it?  Take it down?  Keep some, change some?

I don’t know what to do with me right now.

I’m vulnerable.

I’m used to being it all.  The brick, the mortar, the builder and the one who climbs on, around or over the wall when it’s all done.

The problem is…it’s never done.

It’s a lot of upkeep now and it complicates life rather than making it necessarily better.

But the prospect of subbing (sub-contracting) this out is end-of-the-world frightening.

It means trusting, at least a little bit, and not being entirely in control of where things go, at least for a little bit.  I can still sort of have a say about things, but, in a way…I have to step back.

I write this like I have a choice about doing this.

It’s really already happening without me.

The memories are breaking through my wall(s).  People morph in and out of the reality of who they really are.  It’s hard to keep track of past and present.

I’m rattled all the time.  I tremor.  My fine motor skills are already gone and I worry about it progressing to more major movements like even walking or standing.

So I write this like I have a choice about letting-go.

The death-grip I’ve had on my life isn’t working anymore.

 

 

 

 

Image

December 13, 2012

There is a lot that could be said about this year.  A lot has happened, but it feels like I’m back in the same place where I started.  It’s just, I’m not too sure which “starting place” I’m speaking of.

Am I back where I was at this time last year?  I don’t think so!  I just can’t exactly remember where I even was at this time a year ago.  I’m pretty sure I was too disoriented to make it a memorable occasion.  I’m pretty sure things weren’t too great.   I started blogging shortly after that time.

It was a last-ditch effort.

So…

I guess sometimes last-ditch efforts are worth the effort.

I hope.

I’m always hoping to make my life worth the effort it takes from everyone involved in keeping me afloat.

Maybe afloat isn’t too great a descriptor.  It doesn’t really specify whether I am floating face up or down and in the case that I might just be staying afloat face down, my condition might not actually be so great.

Same with grounded.

Maybe I should just make it clear about my condition as I stand today and say my thank you’s to the world that I’m ALIVE.

I’m happy to be alive.  Even on the bad days (95% of myself agrees with me.)

The other 5% is just a tantrum within me speaking of worthlessness, and I know it’s not really true.

I’m really 100% (at least!) happy to be alive.  But I am always striving toward living my life better, purposefully.

I’d really rather never die.  Not even ever.

But I’m ok with it whenever it comes….I just hope it doesn’t for a long time.

Wow, this isn’t really going where I was trying to go.

Such is living life as me.

My life takes me places I never could have imagined or planned.

I do make choices, I know, but sometimes me staying alive requires a whole lot of me letting go and trusting things I’m doing, even when I have no idea what I’m doing.

Like now, writing.

Oh well.

I wanted to say some words.  But there will never be enough words, or efficient or sufficient enough ones.  I guess that’s why I like making things that don’t rely on words so much.

I probably should get back into poetry.  Where words are words but not words at all.

It seems to sum up where I am and where I have been this year, all that has happened on the private, personal and public level, there is just no way to do it.

No other way than to keep living since I am still here…Where I started.

Alive.

Making note of it because a lot can change so fast.

In my lifetime I have been told I am miserable.

I’ve heard it from more than one person.  I’ve heard it from people in my family…and I’ve heard it from people who have no way of knowing me, for instance, my daughter’s step-mother, because she has always refused to speak to me or acknowledge my existence…beyond, of course, assuming that I am miserable.

Whenever I have heard this I have always been speechless.  It always has hurt me is such an unreachable place I don’t even know what the feeling is that it brings up for me.  It’s so unexplainable and I’ve never been able to understand being informed of my misery, lol.

I still can’t really understand it.

But I’ve been dealing with a lot of things lately.  Coming back to life gradually, in bursts.  So I’m looking at my past and my history to what has brought me into being born all over again.  This privilege I get, that sometimes I have to work at accepting because of the pain it also brings with it.  It brings with it the reality of my life.

And so I run into the past.

I don’t run toward my past.  I run into my past.  (And that is a very big distinction.)

As I move forward, my past is there.  It greets me, and I can’t move beyond it without acknowledging that it is there.

And so I’ve been thinking about times  in the past I’ve been told or heard that I was miserable and the turmoil and confusion that has always caused to erupt from inside of me.  I could never figure out why I was hearing that because inside of me my heart was not miserable.  I didn’t feel miserable…but I eventually started believing that I was, indeed, miserable.

“You’re miserable.”

“You’re a miserable person.”

“You’re a miserable excuse for a person.”

I didn’t understand.

It did hurt though.

It hurt A LOT.

And I was alone for so many years and nobody ever told me otherwise.

I still couldn’t figure out why that must be what I was.

Because even though I probably should have been, I wasn’t.

However, I experienced my confusion about being miserable as…miserable!

Well, I’m happy (not miserable) to say that something has occurred to me over the past day or so.

I’ve realized that the people who have ever told me that I was miserable were possibly, themselves, miserable in some way.  However, I would never say this to another person.  I couldn’t imagine telling another person they are miserable, even if they were inflicting (or projecting) misery onto me.  I can’t even imagine ever saying it which gives me some sort of faith that misery is not what defines me.

It still hurts so much that people who were designed to love  me when I needed them most did not love me enough to be able to see past their own pain.

But I’ve been in therapy for the last couple of years with a therapist who treats me with dignity, and even though receiving respectful, compassionate care has been the most excruciatingly scary, I’m beginning to take some breaths of respect and compassion for myself.  It hurts, but this is the part about running into my past I’m talking about.  It takes me back to all those places where history got it wrong.  My life has been given grace to correct itself.

For all the times I could never reply, I am hitting “Reply All.”

“I am not miserable.  I am not a miserable person, and now that I love myself I have no excuse to believe that anymore.”

So to my brother and to my mother, I hope this finds you well.

And to my daughter’s step-mother, I would still sit down and have a cuppa with you anytime your heart will allow.

I’m my own person now.  I would love for you to get to know me.

 

I wrote about this sad egg last night.  Otherwise known as the bad egg (more images in my last post.)

I’m back to look at it again.  I slept on it.

It needed some incubation.

 

I dreamt about ceramics class.

I dreamt that I was in class with my current teacher’s wife, which while it sounds strange (yet, perhaps fitting for me if you’re familiar with my life) it’s not really too weird because my teacher’s wife is also a ceramics teacher at the school I attend.  In fact, I had attempted taking her class the semester I got pregnant with my  (now) toddler and quit (without officially withdrawing) because of pregnancy issues and I got an “F.”

An F.

That was an “F” to replace my “C” I had earned the semester 5 years earlier with her husband because I up and quit before final critique and the final written test in class after I was affected by one of my classmates committing suicide in the same class.

He was there one day, a nice, quiet guy…and then gone.  And I only knew he was gone because his dad came to class to pick up his stuff one day and then my teacher made a vague announcement about him not returning.  Ever.

You can take a class 3 times before the school cuts you off and won’t allow any more re-do’s.

So this is it.

My last chance at Ceramics 1.

 

I don’t remember all of my dream last night.

I basically remember being in trouble for something I did.  I think I might have missed a class and my teacher was irritated at me.  And I am really sensitive about irritating people.  I don’t like to do it, which is ironic since I probably do it a lot.  I’m probably irritating you now!

I remember a charcoal drawing of a pot, and I remember asking questions about it.  There were things I didn’t understand.  Stuff about orthogonal lines that confused me.  And I love basically everything about art, but when it comes to orthogonals I definitely tune out.

 

So I woke up thinking about what I labeled my bad egg.

I never give up on things.  It’s both what has kept me going and kept me from going, at times.

It’s my love/hate relationship with tenacity.

It’s my war.

It’s my life.

In some way, it’s me.

 

At one time I used the word as an online moniker.

 

I want this egg to succeed.  When it started out I didn’t really care that much about it.  I just wanted to complete this assignment and move on to one I was interested in.  But then, it evolved.

And I had feelings.

And people saw.

And I had questions.

It developed a purpose.

 

If you really want the truth, it’s not really my project at all.  It’s a kid inside me’s project.  I didn’t care much about this one, so I handed it over, I guess.

And so…

And so what?

 

And so, I don’t know.

 

So I’m going to ask more questions for this one, inside.

I’m not going to give up on helping things along.  It needs a little help.

She needs a little help.

Maybe a lot.

 

The long, hard night is over.

Today is another day.

I’ll sit on it.