One of my favorite things to do is stare at magnificent pieces of art and try to discover their soul. What had the artist meant? What was the artist going through? But even more so... how does it impact me and how I feel? I am the one who is viewing and interpreting it.
Part of me would like to let you interpret this piece as it is seen in your eyes. Let it speak to you without explanation. But because my personal process of the art is to write it out I am going to interpret bits of it as I have created it to be. Perhaps if you are in the middle of something as awful as anxiety or depression this will give you hope.
There are four sections to my piece, four interwoven things I would have never truly learned to be or feel empowered by if I had not gone through the deep dark valley. Courage, strength, fight and beauty. In all the sections I have used a picture I took showing myself as vulnerable, broken and yet still focusing up and trying to see God. And even in the days when I can't see God, e sees me and is shinning His light down on my face, enveloping me with His grace and love.
This is my anxiety. Red shows the intensity anxiety brings and I cut out the picture of myself in a way to show panic. Puffy paint was used to symbolize how anxiety distorts and exasperates everything in its path. All the words describing what anxiety makes me feel are written in mirrors that constantly glare back at me in loud and unending ways. And then a powerful quote "Don't identify yourself with your feelings, you are not your feelings, you merely have them." Something I have learned and am still practicing when anxiety and depression want to swallow me up and overwhelm me. My journey has taught me to be COURAGEOUS! To not hide, but speak out in truth. To embrace each moment as it comes. To rise above. To live out my life as it was meant to be... a gift. To feel empowered by my story and to remember there is a God who created me in His image.
This is my depression. Blue was chosen because I tend to identify it with sadness. I painted a cape on myself to signify the physical and mental heaviness that wants to envelope and hide me from the world. On the cape I have written how depression makes me feel and the lies that are constantly whispered into my ear. The falling hearts signify wanting to still love life and all things about it but losing the inability to do so. On one side I have the definition of depression, burnt edges signify my frustration towards the illness. Two faces are shown, happiness being covered by sadness. Trying to keep a straight face with those I love, but being eaten up inside. And then a verse from Psalm 43 that has been very poignant to me in my recovery... "Why my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." The dark and the light represent how depression has taken me to the worst place in my life but there was still light left in me to find the STRENGTH to ask for help and to keep living. The strength that I found then has followed me throughout my journey and made me into who I am today.
This part is all about learning to live with anxiety and depression and being able to accept it. The blue and red scarf show that anxiety and depression are part of me, but I am able to subdue them because of self awareness and hard work. The eye is everyone watching me and making their own judgements, but also those who support and love me. "It's okay" has been a huge part of my journey in acceptance of myself. I have a picture of the internal critic... my giant enemy and my toughest FIGHT of all... the ability to quiet it to a dull whisper has been my saving grace. A picture of Dhrumil and the kids is surrounded by yellow to show they are my light in life and a reason I fight, and also some gray because our family is not perfect, it never will be and that's ok. "Sometimes I can imagine that one day we'll throw it all out and start again." To me this means that every day is a new day, filled with moments to be caught and time to be spent right now. Being able to fight for myself has changed by world.
The truths of who I am, the parts I have learned to embrace, the knowledge that I am broken yet free... they have taken root and grown. The weeping willow I painted represents the hope I found in the BEAUTY of these truths. Forever I have loved weeping willows... the peaceful sway of the branches in the breeze have brought me to a place of tranquility again and again. It was this image I would focus on while I made my way through labor with my babies and this image that helped me many times when panic wanted to overtake me. By the tree is a picture of what I found in a parking garage once in the midst of my illness... it was as if God had placed it there for me to see that day... "imperfection in beauty" I have tried to embrace this statement. It is ok to not be perfect! And finally my fingerprints. Each with a color of the four truths that now encircle me on a daily basis. The final fingerprint place over my heart to signify that I am me... I have always been me... and I am thankful to be ME!
Soli Deo Gloria!