Feelings are such a complicated thing. So incredibly human and often inconvenient. All of my life the root of both my mental health and substance use challenges was finding ways to change the way I feel and remove them completely. For me, I learned how to actively disassociate from any strong emotion by the age of 6. This set the tone for the rest of my life as it was done with absolutely no thought process. If it was a feeling my mind immediately detached from it so while it was tangible in essence for me it was no longer real.
Upon discovering substances at the age of 12 the process to remaining numb became that much easier. Now not only did I not have to feel anything I could create false feelings through substances. This led to a 16 year battle with substance abuse. The only semi-healthy release I had in all that time was art. I had no idea that was the case in the midst of the chaos. I truly believed that the street art and vandalism was just another piece of me rebellion and anger. It would not be until many years later that the realization of how much peace I gained in the process of creation would occur.
I was blessed to be a part of the Art Detail at Whitworth Women's Facility and this was my first experience embracing what would truly be my pathway to recovery. The opportunity to escape the open dorm where all the voices were so loud in my head to a place of quiet where I could just listen to my music, create and process was life changing. I had found my peace behind the prison walls. This allowed me time to think, plan and heal on a level that solidified my dedication to recovery.
Since my release I further embraced myself as an artist although I still had only scratched the surface of what this truly meant for me. Today I can see when I am not creating, I am not truly feeling. Art is my filter. Art is my pathway. Art is my passion. It is the one place in the world I feel no desire to be perfect. I love each creation as if it is a piece of my own soul (it actually is) and in the process of creating so many pieces it has given me the space to truly love myself as I am. It has been the key element in my healing from past traumas and learning how to accept recent traumas with ease.
Today for me art allows me to not only feel my emotions fully but it provides me the skill set to willingly sit in my feelings, acknowledge them and the purpose they serve in my life and keep moving forward. Art, alongside my conscious contact with God, is the key to every door that opens in my life today. I am grateful to be where I am today and grateful for the journey and lessons that brought me to this place of healing.
Today I have a peace that nobody can take away or change. Today I am joyous to be me.