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I started a new digital collage this weekend. It is a very calm piece, charged of course, like everything else I am making, but more dreamy.
At times I feel like I could be many artist into one. I can be raw. I can be sweet. I can be funny. I can be serious. My art always fluctuate between dreamy images and more nightmarish ones. I think I will always express myself in a dark way – and perhaps I will have more than one nuance of light and darkness in my art – but I believe that I am evolving from a place of pain to something more serene. Just like I am in life as well.
Oh, yes they are! ♥
Yesterday was therapy day. Another wound revealed and dissected. The healing process behind PTSD and trauma is excruciatingly long and just when you think you are all healed and whole, something triggers an unresolved piece of your wounded soul. If it’s not a psychological memory being triggered, it’s a certain smell, a word, a tone of voice, a song, a mood or an emotional stress that feels too familiar. I have experienced many different kinds of abuse;
All this, with men who I have loved and trusted (never with any stranger) – so no wonder that it takes such a long time to get over it. I have many wounds to heal and take care of. The biggest challenge for me have been – and still is – to put the responsibility and blame where it belongs; in the hands of the men. None of these men would ever admit to what they have done or the pain and suffering they have caused me. None of these men would ever understand what I have been going through because to them – I was to blame or that I’m overreacting. “You were in it too”. They would say. “You are not innocent”. They would say. Or, “we are both to blame”. But that is simply not true.
Yes, I was there – I was part of the whole toxic dance. I was there because I didn’t know how to get out of it. I was there because I felt shame, guilt and because I was manipulated into staying, through psychological codependency and being emotionally destroyed and mentally weakened. I wasn’t there to hurt anybody. I wasn’t there to make them mad or abusive.
When an abuse victim can’t win with those arguments, the abuser would say; “you are only feeling sorry for yourself and using your victimization to get sympathies from others”. I can assure you that I would just love to just be happy and to feel free from all the pain, fear and anger they have caused me. I don’t want any sympathies, I have so many good qualities that I can share with people, I don’t need to get their sympathy. Deep down, I am a happy person who loves to laugh and making other people laugh (and I am good at it!) – there is no need for me to ‘use’ my PTSD to get people’s attention.
The whole #metoo campaign is such a liberating and empowering revolution for women like me. It has inspired me to be open about my trauma in a whole new way. I used to feel scared when I was sharing details about it in my writing but now I am using my voice to liberate myself and hopefully other women as well. As I am slowly healing, I am learning how to shift blame to where it really belongs:
I was not to blame
I am still not to blame
the guilt does not belong to me
the shame is not mine
I am free to express myself
I am free to tell my story
I do not deserve to be punished
I am free to heal in my own time
I am allowed to heal in my own way
I don’t care if these men get upset anymore. I let them believe whatever they want to believe about themselves. I only care about my healing process and everything that I have in my life that makes me feel happy and inspired. That is my responsibility, just like other people are responsible for doing the same for themselves.
The days go by so fast. One is simply replace by the next in the blink of an eye and I am having a hard time keeping up with everything, the apartment is a mess. Johnny will be here in two weeks. At least then, we’ll get to share almost 14 days of vacation days together. I can’t wait.
While life is rushing by and almost away from me at times, I am still working hard with self-empowering work. I think this year, I will only give myself a short to-do-list for 2018:
- improve my self-esteem and start believing in myself 100%
- finish the work on the new collection, get everything printed and framed
- have my first solo show in 8 years
- enjoy life, love and creativity without feeling any pressure
I think that’s really all I need to accomplish in a year.
December 1st, early morning. I can’t believe Johnny will be here in 21 days. I am a workday away from accessing my own world of art and creativity. I have to finish up the digital piece I’m currently working on and start something new and fresh. A new painting perhaps.
Yesterday, I got a notification on Facebook from writer and scholar Line Henriksen that the new special issue of Women, Gender & Research by herself and Morten Bülowa and Erika Kvistad, had been published – with my art ( “Iceland” ) on the back cover! This is yet another reminder that my art belongs out there in the world. I have to wrap up the work on my new collection – and hand it over to the audience. ♥
I love this version.
Will I ever make another art show? Sometimes I wonder. It’s been 8 years since my last solo show. 8 years! I miss the art world and meeting my audience.
It is even a miracle that I have managed to keep one foot still in the art world. I know that I am unique in my style and my expression and that my art is more relevant now than ever, since I’m dealing with themes such as anxiety and the dark sides of female sexuality. I need my art and the world needs my art too. I just have to finish my collection and then find a perfect gallery where I can show my art. It’s a shame there aren’t any suitable galleries to collaborate with here in my city. My art is way too loud to be shown in these “sterile” places. I need a place where my demons are allowed to scream without creating a contrast to their environment.
Perhaps I have to look for other places than this one to show my art – but I do want to comeback show in the city where I was born and where all the traumas happened. It feels important to me. Perhaps I can rent a place, a dirty, old space somewhere, like in an abandoned factory or in the fancy but decadent “sex palace” by the river (an old theatre building that has been turned into a swingers club). I want to find a perfect space for my collection because it will be a very special show – the best one I’ve ever made. So far.
Det är som om jag vaknar ur en lång och skuggdröm, lite mer för varje dag. Mitt liv har varit fullt av djupa hål av mörk materia och jag lär mig hoppa över dem istället för att falla rakt ned och bli slukad av allt det svarta. Det har tagit lång tid att vakna. Att hoppa istället för att falla. Så lång tid att jag knappt kommer ihåg hur allt började eller vem jag var då. Snuddar tanken vid någon tidigare version av mig själv, drabbas jag av omedelbar panik. Känner hur det spänner i huden – den enda barriär mellan mig och mörkret som dånar utanför mig själv. Mörkret som alltid har ett namn, ett ansikte och kyliga men brännande ord som smattrar likt kulor mot min tunna barriär. Vissa ordkulor gick rakt igenom och borrade sig djupt in i min själ där de förblivit en del av mig. Begravda någonstans inom mig, framkallar de en hård metallsmak så fort de gör sig påminda. Därför begraver jag dem djupare. De blir allt mer obetydliga. Jag lösgör mig från skammen. Den som aldrig var min. Jag släpper taget om skulden. Den bär inte mina anletsdrag. Jag skakar av mig mörkret. Hoppar över alla djupa hål.
Jag betraktar mig själv i spegelglaset. Såsom jag är. Såsom jag alltid varit – fast aldrig fått vara. Jag vaknar. Hela tiden lite mer. Hjärtat vidöppet. Jag ser allt så tydligt. Även mig själv.
Therapy day. New times, new therapist, new process. Good first session. She made me aware of how abusive I can be towards myself. I think I’ve gotten so used to being judged by others that it has become natural for me to judge myself the same way. I need to be more accepting, warmer, kinder to myself. “If you don’t deserve your own love, who does?” she asked.
It’s been a busy week at the furniture store, because of the black Friday sale. I’ve been creating advertisement material in Photoshop (small collages) but I miss making real art. I want to go deep into my creativity bubble and stay there for days. I haven’t had the time to do that I’m a while – but this weekend will be my sanctuary. I can’t wait. I need my own world of magic and imagination. That is where I truly belong, far away from any outside pressure or cruel reality.
Johnny is now less than a month away. I can’t believe I will be able to touch him, to look into his eyes. So much has happened during this year we have been apart. Good things and some bad. I can’t believe how close I got to losing him forever. Blinded by fear and insecurities, I’ve been closing my heart to love at times. I am scared of it. Terribly scared. My life is a painful collection of heartache and I don’t take love or closeness for granted. Johnny has taught me so much about love. About healthy, nurturing, resilient love that doesn’t come with a dark side or any bad intentions, even though I am still looking for it just to make sure. Love is where my traumas happened. In the illusion of intimacy and commitment. It would have been so easy for me to give up on love right now. To give in to all the fear. God knows I’ve tried to push love away. But when love is pure and real. Strong. It is not easy to push away or break. When the love has grown into a home, that will always be home, because there are no other places to call home. We have passed the point of no return – our hearts are so linked to each other that we won’t ever be ‘homeless’ again. You don’t abandoned the place where you feel at home, not even when you’re trying to reach it from the other side of the Earth.
As I was walking home from work, I felt a new sense of hope that I haven’t felt in a while. I’ve had so many different kinds of closure this year. I have closed the door to my past once and for all. I really have. No more restless ghosts. I am free from it all. And I will try to change the way I look at my past by remembering the good parts instead of being haunted by all the traumas and sorrows. I have a motto that I repeat everywhere in my notebooks so I will remember it: “What I focus on, I shall receive” and I know it works, because I’ve experienced it so many times. I will try to hold on to the motto. It is a key that will unlock so many future doors. I will show you.
This weekend I’ve worked hard on my self-therapy by making notes and meditating. Since I have a few hard months behind me, I will do whatever it takes to get back to the place where I finally started to feel happy and confident. I am on the right path again, I can feel it – I just have to power through.
I have especially focused on the psychological mechanisms behind self-doubt and what I have found is slightly bizarre; I have more doubt when it comes to good things than I have when it comes to bad. For example, I doubt my talents more than I doubt other people’s judgmental opinions about me. It doesn’t make any sense at all. I doubt love more than I doubt other people’s manipulation. But on a positive note, I can easily fix this by teaching my brain to think in new ways – just like I’ve done with so many other things. My new rule is to “only doubt things that doesn’t feel right, never doubt what makes me feel good.” I should never doubt my talent, strength or my intelligence, like I’ve done so many times in my life. Doubt is what ultimately will kill my ambition and freedom of expression, so I have to kill the act of doubting instead. Nothing will stand in the way of my future career and success, not even my own mind.
Reading women’s testimonials in the #metoo campaign makes me feel like..: