Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When the Tears Don't Fall

Please be warned this may be triggering to some survivors
please take care of yourself


A few days ago I read castorgirl's post "Expressive Arts Carnival: Self Portrait". I was really blown away by her artwork, which triggered some very strong emotions for me.  I found the images very confronting and could relate to them on many levels. In the comments section I explained what I saw however it was castorgirl's reply which really articulated what I saw:
 I can see why you would see the perfect face people want us to present to the world, and the hidden damage we feel. That was another motivation for taking the picture – to show the dissociative coping, show how others see us, or how they want us to be. 
When I was reading the post and viewing the artwork there was a lot of internal conflict, for many of my parts and for me as well this images and some of what castorgirl said really reflected how we felt about the abuse of my childhood. The sense of feeling dirty, used, broken. It really made me want to cry, not just for the hurt we had, and continue to feel - but for the huge number of people out there who feel the same pain.

I still struggle with the ability to cry, to let the tears fall. Its not that I don't want to cry, because these days I do - I want to let it out and feel the release that comes from a good cry. In the last few years I have started to be able to cry - but I can still count the number on 1 hand. I believe the reason I struggle so much is because I was punished for crying and so I learnt not to, and now I don't know how to undo that learning.

Generally when I feel I want to cry, but can't, I draw the tears. Its not the same thing but it does help me to reflect on the emotions and to find a sense of calm. I have drawn hundreds of these pictures over the years and generally they have a similar look to them. This time, when I drew in relation to cartorgirl's post something different came out.

In this picture I didn't just see the tears I wanted to cry, I saw the deep hurt, shame and fear that I have been unable to face for years.

Over the last few days as I have been reflecting on my reaction to castorgirl's art and my own drawing I have found a deep sense of accepting that all this hurt is not my fault and that I did not do anything wrong. It was not my actions that cause my grandfather to hurt me the way he did. While I have intellectually acknowledged this for a while now, this is the first time that I have had a deep sense of accepting it.


Evan said...

Wow. That's an extraordinary step. And your drawing is very strong - it certainly conveys emotion.

Telstaar said...

That's a beautiful drawing you have done even though it represents some very deep and difficult emotions and thoughts.... you're one brave woman Kit! xox

castorgirl said...

I wanted to apologise for any pain I caused you through my post; but then I saw how you used that pain... just incredible. Your drawing reflects those feelings of hurt and shame so well - the slump of the shoulder, the hair hiding your face, everything.

Although you say you don't cry often, I'm so glad you are able to. The emotional and physical release that comes with tears can be so healing. I say that, only based on what others have told me, as I'm still unable to cry. Those messages from the past can be so powerful, can't they?

Your last paragraph... to realise that this shame and hurt is not your fault... as Evan said, such an extraordinary step. You've been through so much just this past month, I hope you can reflect and understand the huge awareness and healing that you are working with here.

Instead of apologising, I'll thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Take care,

MultipleMe said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful responses everyone!

CG - please dont feel bad for the pain, it has been something that has allowed me to heal a little more. Margaret (my psychologist) tells me that the only way to heal is to face the pain from the past in small doses and be able to come through the other side stronger for it.

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