I recently completed a large full size collage of a tall retro blonde girl (see previous post). Two of my sisters emailed me to tell me it was a self-portrait. I have been thinking about this for a several days. I decided that yes it was a sub-conscience self-portrait. I think one of the things I love about collage is that it reflects my life. I am bits of pieces of many things put together to make me. I love collage because collage has room for mistakes and imperfections. Aha, could this be me also? For many years after a very traumatic first marriage I had what I called my: “dark side”. It was a side of me that would be very sad or feel very bleak. After suffering anxiety for many years I decided I would find a good therapist and start delving into the bleakness that I was feeling. What I learned and have been learning is that trauma not dealt with comes back over and over especially when you don’t expect it. For years I wanted to be involved in domestic violence shelters but would put the phone down and wait another year. Thanks to my being brave enough to go into therapy for post traumatic stress I can now go into a shelter and speak to groups of twenty and thirty women who are all ages and going through the very steps that I went through. My trip to the past has at times been very painful and sad. The good news, it didn’t kill me to feel the emotion that was buried. What it did do was uncover a brave, loving, creative woman who is facing life fully now instead of half way living. Things aren’t perfect for me and they never will be. Things aren’t perfect for any of us but the difference is that I am willing to keep trying over and over to make a better life. I made this altar box of me a few years ago when I was beginning to look back at my life. When I found this picture of me as this happy little girl I felt like embracing her and loving life. My collage is an extension of my bits and pieces of life that continue to make me a whole person. Through my therapy and my willingness to go the darker secrets of my past I have allowed a huge ray of light to come in. That light is the most valuable gift I have given myself. The best part, is that no matter what choices I am making, I am present in my own mind! Here’s a quote from one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickenson:
“Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.”
Have a wonderful hopeful day everyone!