Thingadailies 5: Hurt People Struggle to See Themselves


My lack of/struggle with my identity often makes me feel out of control and child-like, when I wasnt permitted to exert a lot (any?) control over even minor things. I was dressed in boy-ish clothes and given a boy-ish nickname with a boy-ish haircut, in direct contrast with my older sister with the floral name, long hair and dresses. It seems like such an odd thing to be hung up on but to this day, wearing clothes that are floral or feminine gives me pause and I dont feel like they are appropriate for me. I have been making in-roads into my grey, black and blue wardrobe with yellows, pinks, corals and reds, but each purchase has to be made deliberately and with an eye to change, everything just outside my comfort zone.

My therapist asked me to complete a self portrait so I could try to figure out a bit more about my identity issues and how those manifest themselves in my nightmares. Ironically, on the same day, I received the gallery photos of my resilience photo shoot from way back in September. I looked at the pictures and was shocked by how heavy I looked, how my features seem to melt into one another, how rectangular my body shape really is.  I felt disconnected from those images as representations of WHO I AM but also don't have a clear picture of myself otherwise.

I snapped a selfie and thought it was a better image--unadorned with make up or jewelry, even though I do like getting dressed up. I asked my kid which picture looked MORE like me and she shrugged, "They both look like you"

I thought someone else would find the discrepancy of the professional camera and my quick selfie to be equally disconcerting. But it wasn't.

I then drew a series of self-portraits in pencil and watercolours=skewing towards abstract than realism in my paint colours to take the pressure off of needing it to be a perfect representation. But again, not what I imagined myself to be--too open, too simplistic, perhaps. My capacity for first visualizing and then portraying myself accurately was a big struggle. 




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