This book will be the only other set of cards in the public domain. After adding my next four pages I’ll be at 26 pages. Here is a glimpse at some of the pages.
I am so stuck on the use of gel press gel printing plates. The possibilities of color mixture and patterning with gel presses are seemingly endless. I spent this afternoon prepping more pages. Enjoy this time-lapse video of me working away!
Take time to create in whatever way is best for you. Toss dots of paints. Make up your own styles. Learn from others. Most of all, express yourself!
I have been hibernating and making art. These pages make 20 completed pages of a work in progress (WIP), which is a 52 page art collage book using last year’s planner cover. 32 more pages to go, and it is flowing out.
Sound on, babes!
Now, I have the 2021 hard back covers to make a new book. I am excited about this one. My friend sent me a pack of photos taken as far back as the 1800s, and I have a plan for them; their stories, who they are.
Go to the thrift store. Get a nice frame. Take out the art. Replace it with your own. Grab your Acrylic Pens and go for it.
The Universal eye of justice is always watching. Keep your intent rooted in loving boundaries. Take care of yourself. Fall into your passions. Disappear for the winter. Emerge new in the spring. Do what makes you happy. And for the sake of your mental health, create art!
Collage art is a medium which I feel most in harmony with. For me, it’s akin to throwing runes and letting the story emerge on its own.
I picked up some outdated pocket planners from Half Price Books to up-cycle into new books. Below is a time-lapse video of my first collage creation in 2020 which has emerged thus far, a summary of everything I understand about a family story not yet fully told.
The process of making this book was approximately ten hours of sporadic creating over time. There are always breaks needed to keep myself balanced. I follow my body’s signals. Letting memory emerge can be a slow process. I take the time to let my subconscious guide me.
I have a painting I’ve been trying to finish since 2012. It can be a year or so before I create new art. It sits in my eye’s view. It is a depiction of a lucid dissociative memory. It is at least 60% done. Every time I begin to go to it, I stop unconsciously. I just can’t muster up the interest to finish it. The emotion won’t come, not the same emotion which was there when I started it. So, I wait.
I say to myself, “Ok. It isn’t time yet.”
This is my process of creating.
Digging into memory is like mining in a deep and dangerous tunnel system. It has to be done safely and with self-care in the forefront of importance.
While you will watch a short five minutes below, for me, it is hours of music and madness, glue and floating words condensed into a representation of glued together pieces from a cult childhood that left images in my cellular memory which tend to have a mind of their own.
My mother is very sick, and no one quite knows what’s wrong. She has flu-like paralytic episodes which leave her weak. Her voice becomes froggy and scratchy. She’s been tested for just about everything, but there has been no firm diagnosis yet.
The sicker she has become the more I have been able to clearly see the depths of my father’s abuse. His nonchalance regarding her medical care is really the tip of the iceberg in an ice-cold sea of psychological and emotional abuse. It has become the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I am the camel.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I could no longer act like everything was fine. That this is just the way he is and I needed to quit being dramatic. At least he’s not physically abusive, right?
So I began to pull back. I started to work on myself. Because I am the only person I can control.
I put boundaries between my parents and me. If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist you know that isn’t easily done. Any boundary you put up they will barge right through with ‘how dare you do this to me’ entitlement.
The more I pulled back, unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the sicker my mother became. From the time I was a very young girl, she needed me to withstand my father’s abuse. I can see now how unfair it is to impose that responsibility on a child.
I ended up having to cut ties with my father completely. I feel like he left me no choice. I was falling apart. Anxious (still am, extremely so) and constantly afraid. What was I so afraid of? As I thought more about this I realized I couldn’t ever remember not being afraid to some degree.
I finally had an epiphany. A slow epiphany of sorts because it took me all of these years to get to this point. Here I was in my late 30’s, and I still worried about making my parents, especially my father, mad. Walking on eggshells. Trying to do what I could, only to be told it wasn’t good enough. That epiphany helped me realize something.
He can not hurt me if I do not allow him to hurt me.
So what if I make my dad mad? His opinions, actions, moods, and abuse do not have to dictate how I feel. In fact, they can have no bearing on me whatsoever, if I don’t allow them the power.
Though it was extremely hard, I put a shield up against him and his attacks. I blocked him on Facebook. I blocked his number on my phone. I no longer let him in my house. Not that he tried to contact me often. Most of the contact was usually done though my brother or my mother. My brother texted me often to tell me how bad of a daughter I was.
I imagine cutting off contact with him probably made him treat my mother worse. I’m sure he took his anger out on her. I feel tremendous guilt over this. I should be able to protect her. But it is not my duty.
Because I am not the one abusing her.
Though they would have me believe the opposite, I am not the one at fault, and I cannot be held responsible for fixing an non-fixable situation. I have no control over how my mother chooses to live her life. I have no control over how my father treats her. I can’t force her to leave him. Just as I can’t make my father see how abusive he is. I can only protect myself. If I did allow contact then that would, in a way, condone his behavior as I would be forced to I sit idly by and watch it happen. Not to mention he would think it’s okay to be abusive towards me again.
Going from doctor to doctor my mother ended up at the Cleveland Clinic. After going over her records and doing some tests, the doctor asked how her childhood was. It was probably no surprise to the doctor that her childhood was pretty rough. Of course, he wasn’t going to ask how her marriage was with my father sitting right there, though I suspect the doctor knew. He knew how years of abuse can affect the human body.
As it happens far too often, my mother went from an abusive childhood straight into an abusive marriage. She was barely 18 when she married my father. She’s now 65.
She doesn’t think that her illness is psychosomatic. And, who knows, it might not be, but she doesn’t think her emotional health has any bearing on her physical health.
Yet, it does. The body carries trauma. We find ways to cope, to excuse away the abuse. The brain may allow us to forget, tucking it safely away in the hippo campus, but our bodies don’t forget.
I imagine if you add up 65 years of abuse it can do a real number on your nervous system. The weakness she keeps having, the body aches, the scratchy voice; it all tells a story.
Her body is screaming loudly what her voice can’t actually say.
I still maintain a relationship with her, though it is quite different than it used to be. I am no longer the codependent daughter she was accustomed to having.
Letting go and coming to terms with the reality of my family dynamic has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Knowing I can’t change my father, that I can’t make him see the error of his ways and accepting that I can’t fix or save my mother has been simultaneously heartbreaking and freeing.
Ultimately I had to step away from their dysfunction and relinquish their power over me so that I can heal.
Never Doubt Your Instincts
Enter the doorway into the mind of this incredible Survivor Voice
Jenni Z aka artgirlcreations, is an artist and art journal creator who, through her multi-layered collage work and raw writing, explores ways to cope with her anxiety disorder, as well as the trauma she suffered as a child. Language, art and color lead the way through the muck of her past, as well as bridge the gap to a more mentally healthy future.
This past decade has been filled with many turns in the bumpy road I have traveled. I have pushed through deep depressions and sad realizations about this human existence. I have absorbed and grown my mindfulness and ability to receive and give love.
I have waded through dissociative disorder peaks, organizing the many compartments of my mind and doing the work to continue the integration of my brain. I have had situations which left me riddled with deep hurt. I spent time grieving, as twice I lost individuals who are extremely dear to me.
My heart has ached. I trudged through the self-accountability of learning how to re-parent adult children. I accepted and owned my own parental failures as lessons, not losses. I faced myself and my own behaviors, including how they affected those around me. I held all of my shame in my palms. I cried the guilt out of my soul, letting it release and evaporate into the soft air of Puget Sound.
I lamented lost loves. I clawed my way out of self-abusive behaviors and self-deprecating lifestyles. I ejected people from my life in order to preserve my own mental health and balance. I purged the pain of these difficult decisions. I endured the aftermath of their rage and blame. I stayed rooted within myself.
The decade came to an end with a bang. I realized how much I have risen, as I remained valiantly standing quietly in my truth. My defenses don’t matter anymore, only my boundaries. I have congratulated myself for making this much progress thus far.
There are many roads still left for me to travel. I am writing out the dusted shelves holding more memories behind closed doors in my brain. I am stepping through each door as they open, scribing out the facts and conversations holding answers to my existence and childhood experiences.
This life has been surreal. Being a cult child has been an experience which has let me feeling like I lived a life separate from my current existence. I am my own investigative journalist diving into my DNA as I retrieve the memories my trauma has hidden from me until I was ready to receive them. Unfolding into myself requires a specifically calm environment. I have learned to demand this space.
I had a plan to do an intentional painting on New Year’s Day. I wanted to move into this new decade setting more intentions of my body, mind and spirit continuing to heal.
Yet, when a baby is on its way in a family, they have a mind of their own when it comes to arrival. Hence, my fifth grandchild decided to enter the world on January 31st. I placed the painting plans aside to be with my family as new life arrived.
She is a peaceful, quiet little one. I am thankful that our forward generation grows and builds itself with love. Growing up without any family, I cherish these children, and the many ways they bring me moments of smiles and love, reminding me that good childhoods exist.
When mom arrived back home and settled in to rest, I returned to my original intention of creating my new decade painting.
I set up my camera on high speed mode to record the process so I could both share it and look back on what emerged. I also like to view through my phone as I’m creating art, as it gives me a different perspective and can inspire new ideas.
I sat down with a blank canvas, gathering old paints which were soon to expire, wanting to utilize them efficiently. I had no plan in my mind of what I would create. I closed my eyes, connected to my spirit, breathed deeply and began.
I first began to release a figure representing past pain, dark and brooding, filled with thick mire and a shrinking, red heart. Then I paused again and with another exhale I let my tools begin to cover the darkness, birthing new layers through space, dimension and color.
I built up the color, seeing the eye of my spiritual mother, hearing the soft whispering of her gentle words from within my own cells, leading me to the infinite parts of my existence and exploding above the path which is my way forward.
The Process Of Creating;
click to watch
Eye Of the Mother
It is unknown, what is to come. With a heart of hope, I stand inside my authenticity. I am formed from the gravel my spirit has pushed its way up through. I have swam inside of the depths of this human abyss with only my nose barely above death, to breathe and stand here in silence.
I have no resolutions going forward. My intention is softly rooted within my heart, my bones, my skin and my brain. May we all look toward ourselves with a love and patience blooming with self acceptance.
While the road is unclear in the distance, I move forward with persistence. I am protected by the gradients of my own inter-dimensional existence. This journey on earth, while often brutal, is filled with the wonder of infinite possibilities. I will not be broken.
Let go of that which no longer serves you. Accept the new without fear.