As we build walls around ourselves or allow others to impose prison walls for us, we have to deal with a myriad of difficult emotions. As a coping mechanism and to keep the peace, many of us have decided it easier and safer to swallow our feelings. Pain, hurt, rage all kept inside in order to maintain a calm exterior. I call this "swallowing the storm". Thus was born the idea for my painting "Bridle". The interesting thing that I've learned is that when we don't honour our feelings and give them a healthy outlet, they just "come out sideways". They can present themselves as anxiety, illness, addiction, or any other unhealthy coping mechanism. While I continued to make myself swallow the storm, holding in my emotions and allowing others to hurl their emotions at me without repercussions, I began to lose myself.
Self confidence began to slowly disappear. When words and emotions are used as weapons - especially from those we love - self-questioning begins. My inner voice whispered and then began to scream. "I must be annoying", "I'm not a good person", "If I was prettier, then I would be valuable", "No one likes me", and on and on. Old memories would play in my mind, confirming to myself that all of my thoughts were true. I put all my energy into "doing" things to prove myself valuable. My own thoughts, interests, questions, and self care all became secondary to trying to prove my value to others. I was being erased like the reflection in this painting I named "Fragments". I still struggle with my confidence, but thankfully I'm now determined to use tools that I've discovered such as therapy, reading, exercise, building relationships and meditating to keep growing. However the healing journey isn't a linear path. Emotions come and go, some positive, others negative.
Sometimes the struggles can feel so overwhelming that we may feel completely alone, it's hard to breathe and we temporarily lose our compass. "Seeking Solace" was painted from the moments that I felt this way. With no energy, only the cold earth seemed to offer some solace as I hoped it would consume my pain.
I feel that every human goes through similar emotions for one reason or another, so I hope that by sharing my experiences, you can relate. In my next blog posting, I'll describe the next three emotions and the paintings I created to accompany them. Subscribe to my newsletter to never miss a post and follow the healing journey. You'll also be able to download free resources and be updated when I have giveaways or other special promotions.