Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tuesday Session - Envisioning my Future

Dr. E was so happy for me.  Today, we talked about how I have found a voice through my art.  I told her how I hadn't felt vibratey for a while.  It doesn't mean that I don't feel angry, or sad, or panicky... it's just that somehow, she's helped me get it out so I don't get so overwhelmed.  

We talked about my summer plans for teaching at the Forest School.  We talked about me maybe taking a yoga class, or trying a daily meditation practice to help me keep grounded.  She encouraged me to keep helping Jake with his art and to test drive some lesson plans on him. 

We did an envisioning exercise, looking at yesterday's drawing.  She asked me to draw what I was feeling about going to Thunderbay to teach art to kids.  I asked her to put on that New Age calming music and let me use the Posca markers and watercolour.  I went in finished outlining with the Pentel brushpen.   

When I finished, Dr. E asked how I was feeling.  Without thinking, I said hopeful.  She asked if she could hug me.  I said yes. That hug felt like today's picture.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Monday Session - I got a job!

I'm freaking out.  Mrs. Hildebrand put my name forward as one of the students she recommended to travel to Thunderbay to be a junior art instructor at The Forest School.  She talked with Dr. E and everything is set for a summer job teaching art!

This is where I'll be going.  It's 45 minutes outside of Thunderbay and it's for 3 weeks this summer.  I can't believe it.  I'll be getting paid to do art.  I have a job.  I feel like I won the 649.

This is where I'll be going.  They sent a picture of the view from the school.  Of course, it'll look a whole lot different in July.  I did it as a blind drawing.  They also have a guest instructor coming to teach yoga and meditation, and I can go to those classes for free.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Weekend collage

 I started a collage yesterday on one page, then continued it today.  I kind of like it.  I started to think of my super hero self and my super power to change into a bird.  There's a #putabirdonit challenge on Instagram and I kind of wanted to post something.  So that's what I did.  I put a bird on it. When I started painting the yellow, I got that hopeful feeling again.  Maybe I'm not such a basket case loser as I thought.   I actually posted it on my Instagram.  Wait'll Dr. E hears that I got a comment from someone who said my image was powerful.  

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday Session - Drawing with Jake

When I got home yesterday after school, Jake was waiting on my front steps.  When he saw me come around the corner, he raced to greet me on the street to show me his new sketchbook.  His dad gave it to him for his Saturday classes at the WAG.  He said he was scared to wreck it.  I told him that I thought that was a very common fear, and the sooner he got over it, the better his art would become. In fact, we googled it and the word for fear of the blank page is VACANSOPAPUROSOPHOBIA.  I suggested he write that on his first page for a little art joke with himself.  We sat down on my front porch and I pulled out my sketchbook and fountain pen.  

I remembered a great exercise I saw online for freeing up drawing and imagination.  It was perfect for Jake and we did it together.  We looked down at my cracked sidewalk at the bottom of the steps..  I got him to draw the cracks on a page with my fountain pen.  I did the same in my book.  Then we made up drawings from the lines. He was pretty impressed with my waterbrush. It was really great to watch how much fun he had watching the ink run.

I told Dr. E about Jake’s art lesson, and again she asked me if I had ever thought of teaching art to kids.  I told her that it would be my dream job.  She suggested since I was looking for summer work that I check out Parks and Rec and see if there was anything remotely to do with teaching art.  I’m not going to get my hopes up, but I’m sure going to check it out.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Thursday Session - Magazine woman

Today, Dr. E gave me a magazine and asked me to pick a photo that spoke to me.  I opened it to this old woman.  I felt like she was crying out to me.  Dr E asked me what I meant.  I told her that she was lonely, full of regrets and unfulfilled dreams.  I could make up a whole story just from looking at her eyes.  I knew that look - angry and sad. Dr. E asked what advice I could offer her.  I said, "let it out".
Dr. E said, with a smile..."Sounds like good advice. Maybe she should read your book, "I'd Rather Die Than Cry". 

I love Dr. E. She really gets me. She remembers things I've drawn and said and she listens.  She never pushes me to talk.  She thinks I'm an artist.  She thinks I'm strong and for some reason, she seems to have faith in me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wednesday Session - Poscatown

Today I told Dr. E that I wish I had someone else's life.  Anyone's but mine.  She asked me where I'd be living and with whom.  I said I'd live in Poscatown, in an apartment by myself with a cat and a dog.  It would be a quaint little postcard place where the streets were clean, you were safe to walk alone at night, and the houses were painted bright happy colours.  Each evening a bell would chime to say goodnight, and each morning, birds would sing.  I would have an artist studio and offer classes to kids. Dr. E asked me if I ever thought of teaching art to kids.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tuesday session - Becca's Bird

I told Becca all about Dr. E and how my sketchbook has helped me not feel crazy.  I haven't shown it to her yet, but I probably will. We got caught up on all the news.  Her biggest thing over the last months was that Billy Bird Thornton died.  They thought he had flown out the window, but then a few days later Mrs. Lundstrom went to fill the humidifier and found the bloated, rotting remains of poor Billy. They figure he got out of his cage, got chased by Pepper and flew into the humidifier and couldn't get out. He probably treaded water in that reservoir as long as he could and then drowned a gruesome death.  Becca wasn't too upset, but her mother loved that bird and still cries when she talks about reminisces about how he would say, "Hooked on Phonics". 

Dr E thought it was a good thing to talk about death, even though it is hard.  She said that sometimes the loss of someone in our lives, like my dad leaving, is like a death.  I told her that when I was young, I sometimes told people that my dad had died in a car crash.  She wasn't surprised.  She said, "I bet you said that, because that's how it felt." Dr. E kinda gets me. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Monday Session - thanks Dr. E.

I couldn't wait to tell Dr. E that Becca and I are friends again.  We texted all night, and this morning she was waiting at the front entrance of the school to meet me before class.

Dr E was so glad to hear that I contacted Becca to apologize.  She said that I showed great kindness and maturity to own my behaviour.  She thought the orchid was a lovely gift and really liked that I drew Becca in my sketchbook.  She said it was wonderful to take time to be grateful and being able to draw things in my life that I'm grateful for is a way of becoming more content.  She looked at the picture of my Dad and asked me about him.  I said, "Can't I just have a bit of fun today and not get into anything heavy?"  She said "Of course.  You're in the driver seat. "

I drew three birds.  I have no idea why.  I guess my super power is not only being able to turn into a bird, I can turn others into birds.  I told Dr. E that she was in the middle between Becca and me.  I thanked her for saving my friendship.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Orchid

Dear Becca,

It's Easter Sunday and I  know you're at church.  I wanted to give you this orchid as a peace offering. I saw it the other day and it reminded me of you because the blossoms look like little pink ballerinas. I'm so sorry I hurt you. I was so angry at all the shit I was going through when Grandma Kay died and I should never have said those mean things to you. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't forgive me, but I'm hoping you'll remember all the fun times we had, all those Skor Blizzards we've shared and all those crazy selfies we took every year at the Ex.  You've probably deleted me out of your contacts. But, please give me another chance.  I'm so sorry. Your BFF.

I left the note and the orchid on her front step.  Later this afternoon, she texted me this picture of her with the orchid.  She didn't say anything, but I think she's going to forgive me.  I'm so glad.  How could I have said those things to her? Never has she teased me about my skin or said anything to make me feel stupid or to hurt me.  She's the best friend I've ever had. I'm going to text her back.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday collage

Inga and Jocelyn asked me over for pizza tonight.  I brought my sketchbook to show them.  I hope they didn't think I was showing off because I was blabbing about stuff all night. It's just that they're the only ones who get me.  Jocelyn and I sat at the kitchen table with some National Geographics.  She cut out images that she liked and I cut them up to make a collage.  I'm going to have to have an answer for Dr. E. on Monday when she asks me what's going on. She'll probably think I'm suppressing a wild tiger of anger inside or that I'm drowning in tears that I've locked inside since Dad left.  I'll be sure to tell her that I wasn't feeling angry or sad at all and that it was fun.  It was super fun. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday

I don't know why I pulled out my box of photos but I did.  I pulled out the only picture of my Dad I have and drew him.  He was on a train going from Stratford to Toronto.  I don't think of him that often, but when I do, I kind of feel like he must be thinking of me.  I wonder if he ever imagines what his life would have been like if he had stayed with my mom.  I wonder if it's possible to hate and love someone at the same time.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday Session - There's a thing called hope

Dr. E asked me to draw myself as a super hero.  She asked what my super power would be.  I told her it would be bringing people back to life.  She asked if I was missing Grandma Kay.  I said no, that I just said that to make her think I was all depressed.  Actually my super power would be to turn into a bird.  We agreed that would be pretty cool.  I'd be one of those Disney bluebirds of happiness that would land on crying people's windowsills and sing them into smiles. I was kind of being sarcastic, but Dr. E replied, "that would be lovely', so I didn't want to burst her bubble. She said maybe my super power could be hope.

I did a collage and somehow I managed to put the hope thing in there.  I kind of liked it.

I said, "See you tomorrow" on my way out and Dr. E reminded me it's Good Friday.  I totally forgot.  Hope went right out the window.  What a rip off.  I only had 3 sessions this week.  I guess I'll have to do my own art therapy over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Session - Flowers make me happy

Today, I spent my whole session talking.  We didn't really do any art except look at my journal play with some plasticine stuff.  Somehow we got hung up on Becca and how I would like to apologize to her.  We started a plan.  She won't have anything to do with me and I avoid her at school.  Dr. E suggested I write a letter to her.  One that I could decide whether or not to send.  I liked that idea because it took pressure off having to face her in person.  She gave me some plasticine and asked me to make two figures - me and Becca.  While I was making them, I got an idea.  I would send her a present with a letter.

On the way home from school, I stopped at Shelmerdine's greenhouse.  I sat and had a coke and drew a hanging basket and pretty yellow orchid.  As I was drawing the orchid, I noticed there were little pink ballet dancer shapes in each blossom.  It was the perfect gift for Becca since her whole world is ballet.  But it was $30.  Maybe Inga or Jocelyn could lend me the cash.  They know I'll be looking for a summer job next month and I'm good for it.

First I did the drawing in the restaurant, then took it home and when over it with a Pentel brush pen and gouache.

While I was sitting in the restaurant, I overheard an old lady say to her friend, "Being around flowers just makes me happy".  I kinda agreed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Session April 16 - Pieces of Me

Dr. Ethans was back.  I was so relieved she wasn't dead.  She said there was a death in her family but didn't say who and I didn't ask.  Then later, I wondered if it was her husband. I decided it couldn't be because she would take more than just one day off.  I figured a husband would be worth a week. She looked tired, but still smiled when she looked at the drawings I did on the weekend.  
I told her that I felt a bit crazy with all these different feelings rumbling around inside. She had asked me to draw myself feeling different emotions.  I really was only good at drawing mad and sad, but then she gave me a pair of scissors and a glue stick and said to cut it up and glue a "self" out of the pieces. I got the metaphor. I think she was trying to get me to feel like I wasn't broken - that I could piece myself back together. It kind of surprised me what I came up with.  I looked a little like Frida Kahlo which I guess isn't too bad.  

Monday, April 15, 2019

Session Cancelled

It snowed today.  I can't believe it.  It's April 15 and I am so sick of winter, I could scream.  I got to Dr. E's early and there was a note on her office door saying she was away due to unforeseen circumstances.  I immediately thought...  she's dead. She was in an accident on her way to work and was in the hospital.  A wave of panic rushed through me.  I thought of going to Emergency to see if she was there.  Then I remembered that she mentioned living in a small town, so probably she couldn't make it in to the city due to bad roads.  But then, why didn't the note say due to weather?  What kind circumstances were unforeseen?  I imagined her calling in sick and taking a mental health day.  Yeah, a mental health day at the cost of MY mental health.  I'm so glad I had my sketchbook in my bag.  I should have gone right back to school, but instead, I wandered to the park and watched the ice breaking up on the river.  Huge chunks were grinding and bumping the shore as they were swept along with the current.  I saw a picnic table float by and imagined the picnickers and their basket at the bottom of the river.  I crunched some puddles on the muddy path and when I got to the edge of the forest, I leaned against a fence and drew.  It was quite nice.  Grandma Kay would have commented on the looseness of my line and the thickness of the pen in the foreground.   When I got home after school, I added some gouache for the sky.  I left my book standing open on my bedside table so it would be the first thing I'd see in the morning.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday - Flexible

I had a dream last night that I was super flexible like those Cirque du Soleil rubber girls.  I could easily bend one way, then the other.  I felt so powerful being a human pretzel.  Unbreakable.  Then, I was in shallow water scooting around on my elbows.  I looked down and saw I was turning into a lizard.  

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday - Jake's lesson

I usually hate Saturdays, but today was ok. I'm glad I took my sketchbook home because I was trying to explain the colour wheel to my neighbour's kid, Jake.  I knew he was going to take some spring art classes at the WAG, so I thought I'd do him a favour and teach him his complementaries.  I demonstrated on a page in my therapy sketchbook because it has better paper than my dollar store one.  As I was painting the primaries, I thought of Grandma Kay and how patient she was while teaching me to avoid making mud with the colours.  For a moment I felt like her hands were mine, and I saw myself in Jake. It made me feel like crying, but not from sadness.  It's hard to describe - kind of glad that I have that memory. After I got home from Jake's place, I looked at the colour wheel and saw colour as my friend.   I can't wait to see Dr. E on Monday.  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Session 12 - Apology

Dr. E asked me about my friends.  I said I didn't have any.  She reminded me that Inga and Jocelyn sounded like they were good friends.  I told her that they don't count because they're old.  But then I told her about Becca and how we used to be BFFs.  Of course Dr E asked me what happened and I couldn't really say.  But then I remembered that it was right after Grandma Kay died.  Becca and I were at the Red River Ex and she was going on and on about some cute guy she liked that worked at the Dairy Queen, and I was getting madder and madder.  Finally, I said, "As if he'd ever look at you.  Anorexic with thick glasses... he probably gobs in your Skor Blizzard."   She looked at me like I punched her.  She hasn't talked to me since.  I never called her.  I avoid her in the halls.   

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Session 11 - Breakdown/through

Last night I had a breakdown.  Grandma Kay's friends, Inga and Jocelyn invited me over for supper.  They picked me up and we got Chinese food and went to their house on the outskirts of town.  I love going to their place. Inga is an artist and Jocelyn has the most awesome collection of old toys.  They've got old wooden chairs that they've hung up in their trees.  They had TV tables set up in the living room and they said they were excited to watch a movie with me.  It was Coco. I didn't really feel like watching a stupid Disney movie for kids, but I didn't want to hurt their feelings.  So I said to them that I had wanted to see it.

I was totally bored until right before the end.  This Mexican kid, Miguel goes into the world of ghosts and meets people who have died.  Family members come back to visit once a year when their family remembers them on the Day of the Dead. The family has to keep remembering to keep them alive in the ghost world, or else they disappear.  Coco was the kid's senile great grandmother who had to remember Coco's great great grandfather Hector or else he would disappear forever.  Anyway, Miguel sings a song "Remember Me" and Coco's wrinkly eyes light up, and she starts to sing along and remembers her dad.  At the end of the movie, it's a year later and Coco is now with the dead family and partying with Miguel and his live family. 

All I could think of was Grandma Kay.  I started to cry.  I looked over at Inga and she had tears running down her face.  Jocelyn got a box of Kleenex.  She said, "We miss Kay so much.  We know how you miss her, too.  She sure loved you".  By this time I was bawling.  Like ugly crying, complete with snot.  Inga rubbed my back as I sobbed.  It was the first time I've cried since Grandma Kay died.  I got home and went right to bed.  I wanted to sleep forever and never wake up.

When I got up in the morning, I actually felt not bad.  At my session, Dr. E asked me to draw how I felt today.  I knew exactly the image I wanted to use.  I told Dr. E about my breakdown last night.  She smiled and said, "I call that a breakthrough, not a breakdown".   

Session 10 - My Dream

I had a dream last night and I told Dr. E about it.  I was hiding in a garden.  I don't know who I was hiding from.  The word bullet girls came by and were picking flowers around me.  They never saw me.  I felt like I was camouflaged. I was looking up at them but they were busy gathering blossoms.

Dr. E asked me how that felt.  I said it made me feel lonely. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Day 9 - Drawing to Music

Dr. Ethans gave me a present.  It was a set of Windsor & Newton watercolour markers.  They had two ends - a brush tip and a fine tip.   After you drew with them, you could go in with water and moosh the colour around.
Then, Dr. Ethans put on some meditation music.  It was kind of New Agey, like you'd hear in a expensive spa. She said that it would be great if I could practice grounding myself when I felt vibratey.  "If you want, you can just listen to the music and draw to it.  Try to let the music lead you on the page. After, you can talk about your drawing, or not".  I really really liked this.  I could have sat there all afternoon and filled the book.  I kind of felt like everything was okay.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Session 8 - A Bad Day

I was having a bad day.  Dr. E. said to draw how I was feeling. I thought she'd get freaked out, but she didn't.  Actually she said I did a great job to put it out on paper. I told her I felt angry but also sad.  She said she could totally see that.

Session 7 - Teddy Bear's Picnic

Dr. Ethans asked me to draw a picture of myself when I was the happiest in my life.  In Kindergarten, I got to carry the picnic basket in the Teddy Bear's Picnic at the school Spring Concert. I got to lead a family of teddy bears skipping in a circle around a tree in the centre of the stage. I felt so proud and happy and couldn't wait for the show. On the night of the performance, I had the flu and remember feeling worse and worse right before the song.  I ended up puking in the picnic basket right on stage. 
I wanted to die.  Afterward, Grandma Kay said to me that she couldn't tell that I puked, that she thought it was part of the show and I was gobbling up the goodies.  She always made things right, even though I knew she was lying.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Session 6 - A Safe Place

I only went to school today so I could meet with Dr. E.  I want to use those Posca markers.  We talked about practicing ways to keep myself grounded and not vibratey.  She asked me to remember back through my life when I felt safe and happy.  She had me write "I was born" and then continue and draw my safe place stepping stones. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Session 5 - I'd Rather Die Than Cry

Dr Ethans called me an artist.  She said it like she really meant it even though I know she says that to all her clients.  Grandma Kay was the real artist.  She taught me everything.  Dr E asked me about her again today.  I got that vibratey panic feeling and couldn't talk.  She asked me to draw what I wanted to say.  I drew myself in a tomb.

Dr E looked at my drawing for a long time.  Then she asked me, "If this were the cover of a book, what would the title be?"  It just came out of me.  I'd rather die than cry.  I wrote it at the bottom.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Session 4 - Grandma Kay

Dr. Ethan has an ivy plant in her office just like Grandma Kay's.  It needed water, so I gave it some out of my water bottle.  Dr. E said that she really liked that I noticed things. I told her I have a slip of Grandma's ivy growing in a bottle on my windowsill in my bedroom.  When no one was looking, I had cut it from the back of her plant at the garage sale they had after she died.  Dr. E asked me to draw Grandma Kay.

Instead of a pen, there was a container of sticks and a bottle of India Ink.  I picked out one and drew Grandma and her ivy.  Dr. E put out some coloured Posca markers and paints and said go for it.  I didn't want to, but I also wanted to.  I just coloured Grandma's heart and then made her hair into hearts.  Then I kept adding colour.

While I was drawing I started feeling dizzy.  I had a huge lump in my throat and my eyes burned. I wanted to pour that India ink all over everything.  But I didn't.  Dr. E asked how I felt, but I couldn't talk.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Session 3 - Word Bullets

I punched a wall in the bathroom. I wanted to punch the mirror.  I told Dr. Ethans that I fell. I didn't want to draw because my hand hurt.  Dr. E said that was okay. She still put the art stuff out.  I didn't want to talk.  She asked me why.  I told her because words are bullets. I hate words.  She said she'd like to see the word bullets.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Session 2 - The Weather Inside

April 2
Dr. Ethans said that feelings were like the weather.  She asked me to draw the weather inside me.

First session.

April 1.
Dr. Ethans gave me a journal and a basket of art supplies.

2019 Fake Journal

It's that time of the year.  I'm crazy busy, and distracted and stressed... BUT I can't NOT join in with a Fake Journal.   Make up an alter ego and go with it.

We have a Facebook group called Up for a Challenge where several of us drawing daily and are posting our fake journals.

This year, I've chosen to be quick and dirty.  I made an accordion book out of 140 lb Canson watercolour paper and covered it with a piece of a torn hand-dyed sarong.

This year, I'm setting these intentions:

make a mess
work quickly
be spontaneous
use a bamboo dip pen (first time) or ink with brush
use markers, gouache, media I'm uncomfortable with.

My character is 17 yr-old Noreen.  She is visiting an art therapist for the first time.

Here's my book.