So many people decide that they are a legitimate artist when they start a professional business. Some people scale whether they are a legitimate artist or not based on if they could quit their full-time job to be an artist for the rest of their days. Some people don’t know what it looks like to be a legitimate artist. But I know what it feels like. Do you know what it feels like?Read More
I recently read the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is a very quick read, especially if you are me and obsessed with the artist’s journey. And although, I don’t necessarily write that many book reviews, I am literally obsessed with this book. Find out why, read more.Read More
Have you ever heard yourself say that you are not talented or cannot create because you are working on your career? If you have, I want you take stop right there, take a moment, and let’s discuss what it means to be an artist and live with a creative process. To me, All artists work and here’s what I think…Read More
Mel Bikowski discusses her new series and reflects on the process that she is working through in her studio for her show at Greenspring Gardens happening in August.Read More
Creativity does not just have to be bright rainbows, glitter, and happiness. Although, if that is your message, then that is fine. Brightness in art and human connection tends to eclipse the darkside. That is why the moon usually has only one day in it. Either way, We must address our dark side. We are dual beings. Beings that are light, angelic, and harmonious. But we are also dark, beastly, and chaotic. We are the light and the dark. We are a little bit of human, angel, and animal.
Our fears, our worries, our anxieties, our skepticism, cynicism, lower frequency ego driven traits are also apart of us. The Yucky side. And something that I have noticed is that our fears can become us if we do not address them. If we do not face them.
So why not face them through art? Why not face the dark side of creativity?
Face your Fears.
To start, all those lower emotions are choking up your creativity. They are choking up your heart. Your divinity. Your vision. Your true potential and all that mumbo jumbo. It seems like a broken record for me to say "face your fears", right? I mean that's what A LOT of the Internet/Self Help Books are telling ya, but it is true! Facing & Expressing our Fears is the hugest part of conquering them.
So how do we express them?
First and foremost, we need to acknowledge our fear. We feel scared. We feel worried. We feel anxiety about the future. We feel depressed because how we feel on the inside doesn't match the outside. What emotion is driving you to self destruct?
Then you own it. You are in control of your life. You didn't get to this point without some action. You didn't get there because someone did it to you. You can't blame anyone else for the fear you are feeling. You have to own it.
Guilt//Shame < Humility// Compassion
Then once you own it. Give yourself some compassion. Love on yourself. Accept yourself. Maybe you are feeling undesirable, maybe you are feeling like you can never reach a goal. Whatever it is. It's just your ego, your shadow being more powerful than your light. So, take back that responsibility. Say to yourself, I love myself. I can do this. I am a magical empowering human being and I will conquer these dumbo mumbo emotions!
Then the Last Step, EXPRESS IT
Take Charge to Let it Out. Speak, Write, Move Your Body, Yell, EFT Tap, Write out Your New Moon Affirmations, or whatever it is that allows you to express your fear. Let that emotion move through you by expressing it through those creative projects. Whenever we are moving through our emotions, we are addressing them, not repressing them and that is when we can let it go!
For me, I am expressing my fears through my most recent project. I am working on animal paintings that represent our ancestral partners. Our human connection with our furry, scaly, and wild companions. We humanize our pets. Humanize our Predators. The zoological aspect of spirituality sees animals as a merely a metaphor. We don't define them as a living creature that is present on this Earth. We use them as a tool for self exploration. In the presence of the most dangerous animals of the world, we look at them and paint them in bright colors and call them our spirit animals. Many people choose their spirit animals to be that of a predator. Which, makes me question if we see ourselves in the same lens. As the most dangerous animals on the planet. It makes me question why we are putting clothes on our pets for pictures and if we are moving towards a closer world where even animals have forgotten their wild attitude.
It's scary to think about. Leaving my daughter with a world that is detached from our planet- animals and humans alike. It's a scary thought to think that we are not helping our animals, but merely catering to our dystopia.
I want to express our wild beings. I want to express our wild calling. I want to remind each of us that we are not detached from mother nature at all, but connected.
Expressing my fears is turning into a beautiful and desirable art project. I am letting go my attachment to those fears. I am delving into them and calling action to what they are. I will share this project more than likely at my next art show. I am excited, empowered, and feel as if the light is stronger than the dark. Basically, I am a glittery beary unicorn-liger octomom ready to launch ! And you know, you can make any emotion that you need to work through a creative mission statement too.
So what are you working through with your expression? What do you need to let go? You can do it.
For those of you that aren't sure about the campaign that has exploded over the internet this week. Let me just talk about it for a moment. The "Me Too" campaign is a movement started by Alyssa Milano, who is trying to bring light to all the sexual assault and harassment that women have had to endure for not just the time I am alive, but for CENTURIES.
The Truth of the Matter is Sexual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Assault is my scar.
It's the biggest one I carry on my soul. I have been working on healing myself through art, poetry, alternative therapy, cognitive therapy, having spiritual advisers, meditation, and I have even went down the dark dreary hole of trying to heal it with alcohol. It's not a pretty scar for me.
In my youth, I was trapped in a relationship where he made everything but himself seem unsafe. He harassed me over the phone, through text messages, through friends.. He would drive up to near the end of whatever street I was at and park there. He would tell me the people I was having a good time with were out to get me. He would tell me my family was out to get me. I remember a time when I got in trouble for not paying attention to my grades, so my parents grounded me from seeing him and he came over to "help me with my homework" and tried to get me to leave and move in with him.
I didn't feel safe. Then it came to a time that I moved in with him. I had true love mixed up with horrific fear and mind control. I picked up alcohol as a habit. I was in public places all the time surrounded by friends because I only felt safe there. I remember one night, I came home to do my homework and because I didn't want to have sex, he grabbed me by my hair and dragged me down three flights of stairs. I still didn't even leave after that.
Finally, at one point, our relationship ended. He started cheating on me with other women and he wanted to take the chance with new ones. I wasn't free from his hold though. I still got harassed everyday with missed calls, emails, text messages, and etc.
I found myself sending out cries for help. I would post subliminal poems on Facebook or in a journal. I couldn't even look my mother in the eye. I was so upset at myself for allowing all this to happen.
The only thing that kept me sane through all of it was poetry.
Then I got sexually assaulted two more times by other strangers. At parties, where I thought I was surrounded by friends. I was having an enjoyable time chatting in deep philosophical conversation with some friends of mine. Then it happened and I ended up leaving the party distraught. Helpless. Again?
This led me down a path of having serious PTSD. I would spend days crawled up on a couch if I wasn't at work going through each and every scenario over and over and over again in my head trying to figure out what about me could of made the scenario different. If someone asked me to go into a neighborhood where my abuser lived, I would say no. I carried a knife in my purse and car. I puffed out my chest at anyone that thought me weak. I got triggered every time a man said "You are pretty."
I went through all the scenarios of having panic attacks. avoiding my family. hiding my scars. Thinking to myself constantly, Why was I the victim of this violence? Why couldn't I leave and why couldn't I say no?
I felt weak. afraid. unsure of myself. and hopeless.
So what helped? What Saved Me?
- I found Yoga. God did that save me from some of the PTSD. I would go into one vinyasa after another. Every time any of my abusers faces would show up in my mind, I would go and exercise.
I found Dancing. I would dance for hours. Working out any and all of my issues with emotional constraints. My chest felt free. None of it weighed me down anymore.
But that is what people with PTSD need. To restart their nervous system. Awaken the body and ground themselves into their present life.
2. I wrote poetry. So much poetry. I would journal every single emotional upheaval. I find that poetry does heal us. It might be written about a situation that is emotional and maybe not everyone will feel the way that I felt, but it connected me to something. It connected me to my senses. The good ones. The ones that made me feel more alive than I have ever felt before. I could write out those feelings, truths, and understandings without anyone saying "How dare you tell that story."
3. I painted. I am very sensitive to energy. I find myself in a room seeing and feeling all the things that aren't being said. It's hard sometimes to even get a hold of reality because I am seeing all the interactions happening. But when I paint, I can feel myself again. I wake up from the dream I am having. The horrific one & I get out all the angst. I am focused on a something larger than myself and I am safe there. NO man is going to come into my paint space and take what I have.
4. A healthy diet. It is SO important when Trauma has happened to remove yourself from anything that might have otherwise made it feel worse. Have you ever eaten a bag of chips and felt like shit the next day? Well that is how PTSD feels without the chips. You need to feed your soul. Eat those things that make you feel good. Give you energy and awaken & ground you into who you are as a person. I LOVE JUICE just for that reason. You can catch me drinking a Green Juice and smiling. Not because I am following some bullshit health trend, but because I am healing my insides to heal my soul. To heal my heart.
CREATIVE THERAPY CURED ME
I'm not saying I'm cured. I still deal with a lot of PTSD. Let's be honest. All these #METOO posts triggered me this week. I went down a path of crazy panic and needed release. I wrote 2 different FB statuses and then made them private or deleted them. I saged the whole house and I journaled and wrote poetry. I cried for a while and looked up booking an appointment with a therapist. I haven't felt that kind of panic in years.
But you know what? Art Therapy is the psychic integration of having a dialogue with your trauma. I know this because I did it. The Conscious and Unconscious mental activity, mind-body connectedness, and the use of mental & visual imagery allowed my cerebral cortex/nervous system to calm down. It illuminated what I needed to heal. It begins to change the stored images into new images.
I know that creating through art- whether it is poetry, music, or some other creative format will make trauma less powerful. And I find it to be less threatening than any verbal therapy. Sometimes we DONT want to talk about our traumas. Sometimes it triggers us to become worse.
So I urge you, if you have went through some sort of trauma to try out some poetry prompts ( I have some going on in my FB group now) or pick up a journal, dancing, music, or some sort of creative activity. You'll feel that healer inside ignite. & you will feel so much better. Trust me.
Art Is the Safe Space.