When i first started sharing my feelings, it was difficult. I was able to talk about what happened pretty easily, but as soon as i started talking about how i felt the waterworks came. the first real time was during my painting final. we had all semester to work on painting, just painting whatever came to us, “dont think,” my professor said, ” just paint” . of course i thought i was wasting my money, and i still do in a way, but i see where she was coming from.
Our program is very much, work on your problems now so they don’t appear later (or as intense anyway, with future clients who may have the same problem). throughout the semester my teacher and i realized some things coming from my work. my paintings showed my anxiety, my feelings of being trapped from an anxious mother and from my medical problems, how i lacked my childhood and wasn’t able to ” play” — yes this can be seen from artwork– and varied all the way to my final piece of how i felt now ( or at that time post cancer).
these paintings arent listed in order, but they represent the freedom i felt of finally being able to move without pain, moving forward in a new direction, or ” the new me” the new normal, etc. and having to take time, because although the cancer was labeled as in remission, i still had to worry about bringing my body back up to speed. that first fall after treatment i went hunting, and boy i have to say i did not realize how new my bones were until i sat in that freezing hunting stand in the middle of a Wisconsin fall. 6 month old bones ( all that new tissue) were not happy with me. luckily we had some battery and kerosene operated heaters to get me through that weekend , and no i did not get a deer ( but theres always a next time!).
However, when i first brought some of these to class to present that first semester, i started screaming at them, how upset they made me and how aweful it was to talk about each and every one. it was excruciating to talk about how the cancer affected me, the things i realized about my life, what i had missed out on, what i possibly would be missing out on, and how it made me feel in general.
Had i not started painting without thinking, i wouldn’t have come to this conclusion. i had always had assignments, but never something so open ended that my subconscious was able to speak, and to make me stand still and really consider myself and how i was doing. yes, i was feeling physcally healthy, but until that final exam presentation, as ironic as it was to be in a mental health profession to help others, i hadn’t taken the time to ask myself how i was emotionally concerning the whole situation. i went through years of pain, and while i had a great support system in my friends, i didn’t have my family until after. i have been working through this in my program with the help of my teachers and my counselor, so that is why im finally able to write about it to others.
like putting the pieces in the puzzle, such as my first knitting project post cancer, to my nephew-
a tetris themed blanket that i created using an afghan stitch.