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Family tree on my backColors speak louder than wordsI've thought a lot of my mother lately. In therapy Friday afternoon we talked about traveling, the orchestra, theater, opera and all the cultural things she loved. It's a strange contrast between the tyrant and the artist but there was in fact a contrast, one I loved. I recall my mother singing around the house. I knew when she sang it would be a safe day. For some reason when she sang all the vile went away.

One of my mother's favorite animals is the African Elephant which is why I purchased a notebook with one on the cover. I also liked the quote which says: Colors speak louder than words.

The loss is incredible.
Grant mercy please.
She left deep wounds, many questions, but no answers. I have to find resolution in wreckage.

In the notebook I've written letters to my mother, some kind, others telling her exactly how I felt living with her. These letters and drawings are just another step in healing from the war god I called mother. ...continue reading "Mother’s and Grey Elephants"

She had a wide range of peculiarities but one constant; her mouth was always wide open.

Mouth Wide OpenHer violence frightened me as a child. The fact that she's still alive makes me a bit uncomfortable.

The woman with the split earlobe laughed loudly, sang loudly, slapped you on the back while laughing and did everything over the top. It wasn't mental illness, it was plain madness.  ...continue reading "Wide"

According to my sketchbook, I've had unrelenting anxiety for a little over a month. It's really getting to me. These two art pieces were worked on to help ease things.

The piece cluster shows a checkered flag, a flag used to signify winning the race. I don't feel like I'm winning this battle at all.

Visitation is currently in black and white. It's a mindscape piece such as those in the series called Forty Years in the Wilderness. A mindscape is a snapshot of the inside of my head. Sometimes the images are livable, manageable, other times ... not so much.

Mindscape - 40 years in the wilderness

Tomorrow at 1:30 I go in to see Dr. D. I nearly canceled it because I'm having a hard time sitting. My sciatic nerve is acting up. I've done a lot of stretching to get it to ease up. I've taken the new medications, especially the muscle relaxer, but its not budging. I think we're going on three weeks now with this nerve constantly throbbing. It adds to the anxiety. It's like a dull ache, the kind that drives you crazy.  It may not be the most painful thing in the world but it, like my anxiety, is unrelenting and that's what makes it so hard to deal with, it just doesn't stop.

I'm going to take Clyde out one more time then go to sleep. I'm so happy he's here. I love that he wants to be close by me. I need that. His ears are so soft. He's adorable.

I miss Mary Jane and hate that she died.

fma

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We talked about how there's no reason on earth I shouldn't trust that I get to keep Sir Clyde for a very long time. We discussed anxiety and grief concerning Mary Jane and some guilt that I have another pet so early after her passing. It feels like I tried to replace her but as I've said (I just have to always remember it) Mary Jane helped me be able to give even more love to the next four-legged friend in this house. Clyde is here now and I look forward to spending a very long time with him.

A few pieces of anxiety artwork.

We talked about how I became so frustrated with someone who kept giving me way too much information when all I needed was a simple answer. My head was swimming in information that just confused me. Processing words seems complicated at times. The words stop 5 inches from my face and mean nothing to me. I get frustrated and shut down. ...continue reading "Therapy Review: Trust. Guilt. Anxiety Art. Community"

Outward RageI just read the entry written by Ariel Michelle. I don't remember it at all. I remember the art. I remember why it was drawn but I don't remember, at all, writing that journal entry.

I never did write exactly what Dr. D and I discussed in session because the only thing I wanted to do was run from it. While talking to him I needed a lot of self soothing. I felt so frazzled and like once tiny increase in emotion, one adjustment in anything at all and I'd fall apart. I rocked a lot. I was quiet a lot. I had my head in my hands a lot. It was intense just being alive so I wasn't as open as usual.

After therapy I went to the store with Snow but before I got out of the car I told her I wanted her to stay with me because I wasn't doing well. I then took a Klonopin so I could pick up the three items on my list and get the heck out of there. She commented that I seemed very calm. She was surprised to hear I felt like I was seconds from screaming and hiding my head. I was. I know I don't show even half of what I'm really feeling. I don't generally make a conscious effort to mask body language, but I still do it. I've done it since I was very little. I used to be proud of not showing much, not now.

fma

Part of me screams, help me. Part of me rocks back and forth with he eyes half closed. She wants to close them and fall into herself, all folded up like a napkin tucked in a jacket pocket.. She wants to be where its dark and quiet where no one can see her.

watercolor and ink in sketchbook journalMy head is a mess. I am fearful and anxious, ready to sleep, ready to find the fetal position and take it under layers of covers with the soft, warm, wintry blue electric blanket. In that blue cocoon I will not need to complete a sentence. I won't need to talk to someone and make sense. I can just lay there and sleep this off.

I need to be held. I need a new head. I need guilt to ease up and for my inner drive to be recharged. I am tired but it's not all physical. I'm tired inside to the point that it literally hurts to be awake.

I will sleep then wake to a nice warm meal of lamb stew with crusty bread. Later I will eat homemade chocolate chip cookies. My ginger bug is fermenting so I can start the homemade ginger ale, non-alcoholic, Jamaican style.

I'll write about the therapy session after I wake up. I'm very tired. I didn't get to sleep until 9 this morning.

Bye for now,
Ariel Michelle

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Content: Biological mother issues, emotional abuse, emotional walls, letting go

The Takeaway d4Dr. D and I discussed grief over not having what he calls a healthy mother. I said I don't grieve not having a healthy mother, I grieve not having my mother. I've been very clear over the years that what my heart sought most was some kind of way for my mother to see me as someone other than a disgusting rag to be used up at her will. I wanted to be someone she could look at without disgust, without false blame. She couldn't do it or wouldn't, it doesn't really matter which. Even after my mother was diagnosed with dementia, I still hoped to be something other than disgusting to her. I figured if she couldn't remember me then maybe she'd look at me with something other than disdain. That didn't happen.

In the last year I've not actively looked for a mother figure. As a matter of fact I've watched my behavior, measured the behavior of others and tried to keep myself safe from the strong desire to seek out a mother figure. ...continue reading "Therapy Review: Actively seeking a loving mother"

There were only two of us but we had a nice time. We didn't do anything formal, just tea and cake. One can make tea and cake sound stuffy if important facts are left out. I had the tea already and she brought Little Debbie's. It was a nice visit though with some catching up as well as learning about one another.

I'm just now getting to know her. Interestingly enough, her mother was my foster mother making her a foster sister when I was a child. Small world isn't it?

It's sometimes difficult to be in the same room with someone who knows way too much about me, especially since I didn't get to pick and choose what she knows.  My sister decided this exposure for me which I find unacceptable and disempowering. I don't know what preconceived ideas she has about me, I only know she seems to like me...and yet I don't trust it. Why? In general I don't trust women. That is first and foremost but there's also the concern of being judged. ...continue reading "Tea, Chat and Trust"

Slaw

Art Title: Slaw
Art by: Faith Magdalene Austin
Size: 8.5 x 5.5 inches
Media: Watercolor, ink
Finish: signed, dated, heat sealed, unmounted
Style: Outsider Art, Surreal

I think my friend Angie got me started on watercolor pens. I'm happy she did. I all but ruined my first set but have since acquired a new set which I totally love. My next art supply purchase will be a second small pallet I can take with me to therapy. As it turns out, the watercolors have taken on a large role in art during therapy sessions.

Mother has crazy eyes I never knew what would come out of her mouth. I never knew what mood she would be in. What I did know is what to expect when she got that look in her eye. I knew to expect horror.

The art piece was created by making lines and loops. The piece has all kinds of hidden objects in the head / hair of the woman. He face is deformed, her head is full and her eyes are crazy.

When you first look at her it all blends together but a longer, closer look shows shapes that form fish, a mask, a horse and other objects. As usual, the colors are vivid. I've added swirls and checks but I started with just loops and lines.

8.5 x 5.5 on 98lb art paper. Art therapy journal.

Today during therapy I drew a large tree. At first I kept messing up. I couldn't get the branches right. After I started really talking I was able to punch out the tree exactly how I wanted it.

Faith

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