Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Me-Flection Day #6: Portray Your Pain

The Challenge: Create a self-portrait that illustrates pain you have experienced - either in the present or at some point in the past - and use the art-making process as a way to apply healing to the area of pain.

"You Can't Go Back"

This prompt automatically took me back to the pain of my childhood.  My early years (gradeschool mostly) was littered with the loss of family members whom I lost to death (the most resounding was that of my grandmother).  For years I was haunted by funeral homes and wakes (I still can't attend one at the age of 33).  I believe I was traumatized, as the mere thought of a wake gives me extreme anxiety.  

I also feel that I was somehow cheated...I never got to know my favorite aunt.  And I've always wondered what advice my grandmother would have given my adult self.  It's painful business!

My childhood also came with another type of pain altogether:  a feeling of exclusion.  Not particularly by choice, I just always felt different than other kids my age.  I thought on a different level, I relished in homework where they complained.  I learned to read and write before I even began kindergarten.  Back then I felt as if I stood, as I look back, I realize I was just gifted.  I was more mentally mature than my peers, more intrinsic (perhaps my pain was the cause of my exceeding the emotional maturity for my age group).  Yet...because I knew so much, felt so much, was so observant, I oftentimes had trouble communicating and connecting with other kids my age.

I chose to create this picture because it took me back to memories of spending summer days at the lake with my family.  I miss the liberty of wearing a bathing suit without worry.  I miss having a close extended family.  I miss childhood friends I've lost touch with over the years.  But most of all, I feel that this picture is symbolic of a mature woman who is still holding onto pieces of her childhood.  And that's okay with me.  I have resolved much of my pain, and I've grown the better for it.  But I will always cherish my memories.

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