Art

Drawing, painting, and creating have provided me with the ability to access and express emotions often before words can be found and assigned to them. This has been a crucial component of my healing from childhood sexual abuse. This section is dedicated to sharing my healing journey artwork from both past and present.

Wishing Tree
“Wishing Tree”
I painted this as an adult along my healing journey. This is a place I dreamed of while digging into my healing work. It is a place of quiet peaceful reflection. A place where purpose and understanding shine like a kaleidoscope, filling my soul with an array of healing clarity. My wishing tree is a place of hope when the world around me feels dark and foreboding.


Sunshower
“Sunshower”
This pencil drawing was inspired by the song “Sunshower” by Chris Cornell. This song has served as an anthem for my healing work. It feels dark yet hopeful. I turn to the lyrics in this song quite often when I am in struggle.


Puzzle
I created this sculpture as a teenager, in the midst of my years of sexual abuse. I did not have words to express what was happening to me at the time. It took decades for those words to come, and yet my heart was expressing something profound when I created this. Long before I could speak my truth, my artwork was speaking for me, silently shouting that pieces of me were being taken away.

Healing puzzle
This pencil drawing illustrates my experience of getting to know the child inside of me.
My help feels like a blinding spotlight in her desperate eyes. She reaches out and reluctantly hands me a piece of myself because she hopes that I can help her, yet at the same time she is afraid. She is afraid to let go of these pieces that she’s been holding onto – parts that have somehow shielded her and given her protection and comfort in the darkness. Holding onto these pieces is all she has ever known. It has kept her alive. She fears what I will do with them as she hands them to me. Will I help her to put them into place or will I use them to hurt her as I’ve done so many times in the past? Can she trust me enough to let me see what she needs to show me?


“Powerlessness”
This pencil drawing expresses the powerless feelings of the child inside of me. Powerlessness is the futile fight of an impenetrable force. It’s the feeling of being engulfed and swallowed whole – a feeling that only worsens when I attempt to resist it. It’s a desperate lonely battle where time for rescue is quickly fading away.
“Shelter In Place”
This pastel drawing depicts the disconnection I feel at times from the child inside of me. It is a feeling of retreat away from me – a feeling that frustrates me as I need her help in order for us both to heal. Yet as I sit with my frustration I realize that perhaps her retreat is less about pushing me away and more about holding herself safely together. Instead of resisting her need to shelter in place I need to find a way to safely support her from afar.

“Resourcing”

This watercolor painting represents my calming communication with my brain. Drawing my mind away from past dangers and into the safety of the present always involves my children. They are my happy place. A thought, a memory, or even a simple precious moment of them sitting on our tree swing together elicits a calming response in my activated nervous system. It is amazing to think about how much these two precious beings that depend and rely on me for comfort, safety, and care can also satisfy those exact needs in me.

“Tangled in Hurt”

This pencil drawing expresses the struggle of addressing the overwhelming impact of my childhood trauma. Sometimes I feel as though I am trying to rip out all of the damaged parts of myself in a frantic fury. Sometimes it feels like the harder I fight to release myself from the tangled web of confusion, pain, and shame of my past, the tighter its growing grip ensnares me.

“Edge of Darkness”

I created this pastel drawing as a self portrait project when I was in high school in the midst of suffering years of sexual abuse in silence. My drawing was clearly a shouting cry for help from a child with no voice and no way out of an impossible situation. Her cries were left entirely unnoticed. As I now tend to the wounds of my inner child I am beginning to understand that she still feels trapped, alone, ignored, dangling on the edge of darkness begging for help. For more reflections on this drawing see my blog post, Edge of Darkness.

This series of paintings was born from a desire to focus my time and energy in a healthy direction during the pandemic by filling the empty walls of a room in my house with memorable places that I have visited. The first two paintings of this series come from a trip I took years ago to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada.

I completed this pencil drawing as a teenager while enduring routine sexual abuse. The message ingrained in my mind during that time was that I was not only responsible for the abuse that my coach inflicted upon me, but even more, that I was the one taking from him and using him for the help that he provided. Decades later I look into this drawing and wonder what my child self was expressing. Was she feeling the shame and sense of responsibility that was wrongfully placed upon her shoulders? Or perhaps she was expressing a need to take back the innocence that had been stolen from her. For more reflections on this drawing see my blog post, At First Glance.