There is a theme that I collaged about for quite some time…self-discovery. For years I lived as “someone else”. I was someone’s wife, someone’s mother, someone’s daughter. I lost myself in the roles of mother, daughter, and wife becoming the person I thought others expected of me but never developing just “me”.
Just before my 10 year high school reunion I was asked to write a paragraph about what I’d been up to since high school. I wrote a long paragraph but when I reread it I found there was nothing about “me” in it. I had written “my husband … and my children … but there was absolutely nothing about me. And to make matters worse, I didn’t have anything to say about myself either. That was when I knew I needed to do some self work to figure out who I was but I had no idea how to go about doing that.
I spent the years that followed trying new things, making new friends, and doing things that I truly enjoyed just for me but I still didn’t know how to answer the question, “Who am I?” I was an adult trying hard to be all the things I was supposed to be without any guidelines or manual to follow. When I became a mom I took parenting classes but there were no classes on how to be an adult. Being a wife was supposed to be simple all you had to do was LOVE, which is all fine and good until it isn’t. And when I was suddenly not a wife anymore, I had a whole new set of roles to fit into. Not only single, but single mom and head of the household, financially responsible for not only myself, but also my children and I had never done that, had never been on my own-ever. I needed to make it work because my kids future depended on it but I struggled with finding myself in all those roles.
I collected images of frayed rope and breaking chain links. My collages placed my feelings in tiny boxes and I struggled with finding some sort of balance between roles and person. I scoured self-help books for answers but found none. The collages in this case provided no answers but were an outlet and expression of how I was feeling. It was a little like a silent scream, a lot scary but way better than holding it all in. And the collage images that emerged showed me how scared I was and gave me the courage to keep moving, keep looking for “me”.
Eventually I was able to step out of the boxed roles and find myself although I am constantly changing. With every new experience I become someone a little different. The difference now is, I’m not afraid. I am “me” and not what I do for a job or a role that I play in other’s lives. I am “me”, unique and quirky, sometimes serious, sometimes silly. I make mistakes but I love a lot! Most importantly, I want to help others find themselves and their voice. I’m far from perfect and I don’t have many answers but I do know the right questions and I hope I can make a difference in peoples lives with Art & Soul. I hope you will share this, “like” me and give the process a chance.