I’ve been quietly back in social media land for a bit, but I wanted to make a post to really arrive here after my hiatus.
July 9th will mark one year since my diagnosis of breast cancer, and it’s hard to believe that I’ve almost made a full cycle of the seasons with this experience. In my first appointment, my surgeon told me that I’d have several hard months, but then things would settle down and I’d feel normal again. Happily (very happily!) she was right, although normal isn’t what it was, and that’s a good thing.
It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve tried to approach cancer with curiosity, staying open to what it has to teach me. I’m still unearthing the lessons, but it’s clear to me that part of what cancer is offering is a chance to become more true to my authentic self. To that end, I’ve been in a deeply therapeutic art-making process for the last several months.
I took watercolor paints (a new medium for me) to Mexico, and spent hours splooshing colors around, I’ve been drawing more, and am dabbling in clay again. The new mediums are fun, but the issue isn’t about the medium, it’s about finding the truth of the voice that’s working through that medium.
This has been art therapy in the deepest sense of the word. The way I show up in the world is my art, and when I move things around at the level of color and texture and shape, it has an impact on the larger me. It’s like reading a dream, as the images on the canvas shift, I can feel reciprocal shifts in me.
Much of the process has been incredibly frustrating, in a bang-my-head-against-the-wall kind of way. I’ve had a visceral feeling that there’s something very specific and particular that wants to come out, but I just haven’t been able to find a channel to let it come. Something really wants to be born, and I have to make myself into a shape to allow it to come through. It’s a whole-being renovation process.
After months of work, often several hours a day, I actually don’t have anything visible to show for it, but I’m finally beginning to feel the glimmers of something shifting inside. The old outdated structures are cracking a bit. Things are flowing with more ease, and images that have been percolating (sometimes for years) are starting to make sense with each other in a way they never did before.
I’m still not sure what’s being born, and I’m sure I can spend the rest of my life exploring it, but there’s a spaciousness in me that I haven’t felt in a long time. I can feel myself forging my being into a shape that lets me be me.
It’s a lifetime journey, but I’ve taken an important step in the process.
I’ve been quiet for many months, and that’s been an important part of the healing. I’m excited about coming back into conversation, and into the world (pandemic notwithstanding,) and am grateful to have a place and a community to share my process.
With much love,