Tag Archives: trauma

Art and trauma

So it turns out that when I’m going through my childhood trauma (knowingly or unknowingly) I tend to art, drawing, painting or writing poems. When I am happy, I rarely art, spending more time on other things that add to my happiness. So my art is pretty bleak, fairly abstract and reflective of my inner emotional state.

The art I’m about to share here is from 2006 – 2008, and some of it I remember creating, and others I have no memory of at all (which might also be the tamoxifen’s fault). This stuff is mostly distant enough for me to share without it hurting me, though there is one drawing in this group that is a common one, so common in fact that James thought that it was the drawing I’d just done recently, not one from 2006 or 2007 (it’s undated, but I know when I was using the art book it’s in).

Anyway, I’ll start at the top (metaphorically speaking) and share the photos of my art with explanations as I remember (or not).

Me, 4 Sept 2006

This one is apparently me. I was hurting pretty hard at the time, having survived an ectopic pregnancy (and not dying), struggling with a relationship that made me very anxious. I don’t know now (because I have no recollection of this picture) if the things inside are the pain, or the things inside are just the multitudes within me.

James (dated 6 Sept 2006)

This is a representation of James. As a dear friend pointed out, it’s the only one of the three representations of other people that I drew that pretty much fills the page. From memory (and we are talking 2006), this represents James through his many layers of person, with a pure centre. The spiral outwards is in bi pride colours.

Anne, dated 6 Sept 2006

These two leaves represent Anne. I remember wanting to show the green of life, but without hard edges because Anne is soft and tactile.

Simon, 6 Sept 2006

Simon was my other partner at the time, and this drawing has him as a kind of question mark, still looking for who he was and what he wanted, but also at the same time embracing.

The bottom of the well, September 2006

This image was the sole reason I took the trip to Alice Springs, by myself, in 2006. I was looking for ways to deal with the trauma of an ectopic pregnancy, and the prickling of my own childhood trauma (something I didn’t admit even then). My counsellor is going to love this when I eventually get around to sharing it with her.

Keeping my people safe (undated, sometime in 2006)

My lovers have a tendency to run towards danger, the type who would want to see the aliens when they arrive instead of running towards the hill and waiting to see if they were going to eat us or not. No matter how pretty the danger, I want to people them safe.

Holding my heart high, late 2006

I remember sitting and drawing this while hosting a community stall at Sexpo in 2006. Ended up having an interesting conversation with an architect who was impressed I could art, because he couldn’t, and really he just wanted someone safe to have a conversation with before entering the general awkwardness of Sexpo.

Me vs the rainbow people, late 2006

This was the first time I drew this picture, and I drew it again recently (because I forgot I’d drawn it this time) and showed it to my counsellor – though it was slightly different. This is me feeling that I am dull and boring and that all the other people, that my partners are in relationships with, are far more bright and colourful. Basically a cry of “why be in a relationship with me when you could be in a relationship with them?”

It’s a trauma response.

A you shaped hole, Nov 2007

So after my break up with Simon, which was incredibly brutal on me, I painted this, the hole that he’d left in my heart.

untitled, 2007

I have zero recollection of what this painting is, why I painted it, or what I felt at the time. Thoughts welcome.

untitled, 2008

Another absolutely no clue. Things were better in 2008 for me, so I don’t know if this was a representation of me burying pain in a deep hole or that it is lurking and might at any moment come forth. It’s weird.

A you shaped scar, 2008

I do remember painting this one. Hoping that the pain of the ending of the relationship was more of a scar now than a thing that kept hurting me. It took a lot longer than a year to get over that relationship though, so this painting is somewhat wishful thinking.

So that’s my art from that period. I suspect one or two paintings I made at the time and gave to other people might have been lost/destroyed, which is ok. I have vague memories of them, and they’re not hugely important to me now.

I probably won’t wait another 16 years to show my current art that I have made thanks to trying to deal with my trauma, but it’s not the right time to share it now. It’s too raw and present.

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