When I was young, I experienced a lot of art trauma, caused by the type of things that people say when you are learning to be creative. In my case it was the usual experience of having the teacher point out that the sky is blue, not green, or that the girl whose picture you were supposed to be drawing did not have a bow in her hair (I had just learned how to draw a very rudimentary bow and was giving everyone bows). These comments are usually made in a loud voice so that everyone could hear and then stare at you. I later in life learned that the stare was more of a “by the grace of God go I” kind of stare, a fear that they could be next to be embarrassed. At the time, all the stares were pointed at me because I had done something wrong.
Reintegrating art has been hard. In recent years I have done less and less artistic things. I used to make quilts and other pieces of art using cloth. I also used to do needlework. A long time ago I would draw. One of my favorite things to draw was old ruins that I would see in pictures or any number of other things. I would look at the picture and reproduce it. Generally old ruined English churches. I have no idea why it was usually the churches. I have not drawn in a very long time. Not since it, someone made disparaging remarks about my drawings. It took me a long time to thicken up my skin and focus on the positive things that people say.
The point of this is that as I am trying to move through a lot of the grief that I have for lost parts of me, I often feel as though I am moving backward and not forwards. I have been working through more depression than usual and many more nights of nightmares. Some so horrific that I just gave up and got up rather than try to go back to sleep. All of this looks like backward movement and not forward movement. And that would be where my thinking went wrong.
When I started to look at the healing process I am moving through more closely I see that I am walking in a spiral. The center of the spiral is where I am starting from, and my path sometimes seems to lead me away from the prize at the end of the spiral. When I am on the backside of the spiral, I feel farther away from the prize. (I have no other word to use for what I am working to accomplish. Feeling free from some of the things that have weighed me down would be a large prize.) On the spiral, I am geographically farther away when I am on the backside, but in reality, I am closer than that when I was in the center.
And this is why I tell people that I am struggling with things right now, but it is all forward motion. When I think of it like that it makes the journey around the spiral more bearable when it seems I am just moving farther and farther backward.
A book that I have been reading, rereading parts of it, is The Power of Kindness. This book was introduced to me at a workshop on self-care. As I move along my path towards healing, I am trying to remember to be kind, not only to others but to myself as well. Caring for myself during this work that I am doing is an essential aspect of the path. Things like remembering to take my medicine, so my heart keeps working right and eating (I am sometimes lucky if I remember to eat. A lot of the time I have what I call Blinner, a combination of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.) Kindness to others is vitally important because you never know where they are on their path.