I have had a number of people asking me if I am still painting or drawing and so I want to answer that question here. The short answer is “No, I am not Painting Now…It Was A Temporary Gift.” (But the Healing that came from it is Eternal!) The more expanded answer is this: The day Dr. A. suggested that maybe I try to draw or paint what I was having so much trouble communicating, I went back to the room where I was living with some pencils, paper and pastels. That day began an outpouring that completely took me by surprise and it felt surreal to me. I felt someone else was using my hands and I was scared of what I was seeing appear on the paper, but it had the most unbelievable cathartic effect on me that I would would finish a drawing, fall on the floor and sob my heart out with relief. I finally felt like what I had been trying to get OUT of me for over 40 years was getting OUT. Within a week or two I bought paint and bigger paper…then eventually an easel and canvas and allowed the process to unfold. It was like a powerful wave or torrent that was carrying me through wild sea’s.
I never took an art lesson. No one but Dr. A. saw my work, for years. I just felt this incredible, irresistible urge to get what was Inside of Me onto the Outside Canvas, and it was an extremely private experience that I dare not share with anyone but Dr. A. I was breaking the old rules of Silence in a whole new way and I was terrified. In fact, when I would take a painting in to my therapy session in my big black art bag, I would show it to him, process it a bit, and then I wanted to destroy the painting so that no one else would ever know or see it. I was sick with fear of damnation for telling and now depicting the truth so graphically. I was dreadfully frightened that my dead father would find out. Although he had been dead for many years, he had threatened to murder any person that I spoke to about the abuse and I was convinced he had become a very powerful invisible demon that would carry out those threats. I used to be so afraid that Dr. A. was in danger of being killed because he was hearing my story. I thought my story would Poison him, or that he would end up in a terrible car accident or get a disease that would kill him. I was obsessed with the fear that my father could and would murder whoever I told my story to. Dr. A. very calmly assured me each time that he was not afraid and that my father had no power now. It took years before I believed him. There were many times that I would have to call his office the day after a session to make sure that he was still alive.
Thankfully (and wisely), during this time Dr. A. offered to keep all my art work in a locked storeroom closet in his office. He showed me and assured me that it was very strongly locked and safe. I trusted him and I felt mostly okay about that. It was just a relief not to have my work anywhere near me or my room! For all those years, we carefully put my work in that locked storeroom after each session and I felt lighter and lighter as the ugliness was coming out of me and I felt so safe that it was locked away in his office.
There was a certainty in me all along that what I was doing was for The Singular Purpose of Getting the Story Out. There were days when I would try to paint something “pretty”, like a sunrise, or a landscape or a happy scene of people and it was useless! I seriously could NOT paint something “just for the fun of it”…I would feel clumsy, and awkward and uninspired and didn’t even enjoy the prospect of it. It was then that I understood that for some reason I was going to be able Paint Myself Well, but that I would not be able to create art except for this purpose and I wholly accepted this.
I became fascinated with art and artists. I went to the library and borrowed beautiful books of the old painters of France and Italy and the old Dutch painters. I went to galleries and museums and churches. Often I would see a figure in a position, or I would see a fragment of an expression in a painting or sculpture and suddenly it would mirror something I needed to get out and in my mind it burst into a another expression of my own story and I would race home and put it out on the canvas.
After the first 4 years of therapy I moved to another city and I felt safe with my art work, so I brought it all from Dr. A.’s storeroom and had it with me in my little basement apartment. Unfortunately I had a rough spell about a year later and I destroyed about half of the originals. Thankfully I had digital images of everything. It was a day of dreadful purging of everything important to me, a day when I was deathly afraid of ever being seen or known, or my story every being discovered.
Although I could say that I regret that tragic act of fearful destruction, I have forgiven myself and accepted the fact that at that time I truly believed that it would help me to be DONE with my story, if I now destroyed it and I felt it would keep me and everyone in my extended family from ever being exposed.
I began this blog by intending to answer the questions I have had about why I no longer am painting…I hope this has answered that question. I Treasure and Honor the Gift I was given to get my terrible grief and torment out of me by putting it out on paper and canvas, and I accept that I have no need, no desire and no gift to do that now. I am living with the Eternal Healing that Temporary Gift brought to me.
Maybe with what I have just written today you will see what a Miracle of Healing it reflects that I have been able to Publish my story and my paintings and do it with Joy and Hope that they will be a Gift to someone else in this world. Although I do it under the Veil of my Pseudonym and thus somewhat anonymously, it is still an enormous act of Trust and Courage.
For those of you who have not read my books, let me just say that the reason I am publishing under the name of one of my most dominant Persona’s is because of my desire and commitment to respect the privacy of my living siblings and other living victims of my father who do not want to be exposed by association. Each of them are at very different stages of recovery and some are not recovering at all.
I received an email from a woman in Europe who was a victim of terrible abuses. She said “I have been frozen inside for decades of my life, from unspeakable things that happened in my childhood, and your paintings are thawing me and I have cried for the first time in years. Thank You.”
Those words of one woman are enough to make this effort to share my story all worthwhile.
I appreciate the questions that come, they help to focus my blog on topics that my readers are interested in.
Gabriel Orion Marie