When I was young, in school they had me create a "Me" book. Those years are for building our identity, our ego minds.
I don't remember making it, but my Mom saved it all these years and recently gave it back to me.
I was thinking about how I still do the same thing today.
I identify with my paintings, some more than others.
Typically, I would paint how I felt, sad, fearful, angry.
After many years of anguish and depression, I read something somewhere that was explaining that to become or feel something different, it is important to paint how I want to feel, instead of how I am actually feeling.
It was a lightbulb moment. It suddenly made sense to me, and it was the birthing of healing portraits.
I am a believer in quantum physics and the law of attraction, so it makes complete sense to me that painting my pain and hanging it on my walls, and looking at it all the time will most likely cause more of the same.
This is not AT ALL to discourage painting as a means of expressing, as in the paint by spirit classes I offer as a means of therapeutic release, painting and expressing painful feelings is essential in my own internal healing. This process of painting how I want to feel, is in addition to, or after the purging of the pain, to invite the newness in.
When I read that article and had my lightbulb moment, I was about 6 months out of the psyche ward. They had given me antipsychotics and my desire to paint was basically non existent. In fact, I had convinced myself I couldn't paint anymore. I was no different than a zombie shuffling around the house. It was the psychiatric way of keeping me from killing myself. The thing was, I felt dead inside.
Not painting was worse than death itself for me.
My next visit I asked the therapist if I could come off the medication. After raising the dose 4 times because it was making me feel worse, she warned me if I stopped, all the voices and schizophrenic symptoms would return. She said I could never stop the medication.
So I stopped.
It went against everything I believed to diagnose a patient with a "never getting better" diagnosis.
I weaned myself off all the medication which was AWFUL...coming off the medications can cause extremely high anxiety.
At that point, it was worth it.
I began painting again. It felt like I had to force myself to remember how. It was almost erased from my memory.
Then I read that article and it was as if I had made a quantum jump in my skill set.
I decided to paint myself as a mermaid, in a field of sunflowers with all my spirit totem animals that I needed to feel joy, playful, loved and peaceful.
I keep her in my closet to this day, we chat often.
Years later, when I made a huge life change and left a nine year relationship, I painted myself new again.
Still the deer, I love the unconditional love around me, which is Infinite Grace, or loving acceptance of all of me. The dragon flies were for the spiritual leap in consciousness as I shed my past. I wanted to get back to my inherent natural self, without the control and judgements of my past partner, so I had myself free from any restrictions, nude in the foliage, one with nature, with a heart radiating love. The eggs on my head in my hair nest were the creations birthing out of me.
She is also in my closet.
And the last one was created somewhere in between these two. She actually came from within the wood grains and spoke to my spirit from the moment she emerged. I always felt she was my Shamanic guide version of self.
It's a good size walk in and I love my moments with these ladies, as I listen, they give me so much inspired wisdom. When I need support, guidance, encouragement....these ladies are always there for me.
How do you identify with your work?
Have you ever done a self portrait?
What was the experience like for you?
I love hearing from you.
Please feel free to answer in the comments or message/email me here with the chat now button.