Art Therapy

Being a licensed social worker who likes to have meaningful conversations and quality time with people, I expected that I would want to talk my way through the ups and downs of life. Well, apparently not always. As I said in the last post, I discovered that there is a part of me that does not like to cry in public about myself. Sure, I can write intimate details for the entire internet world to read, but to be face-to-face with someone looking into my tears is a vulnerability with which I am not comfortable.

My mom has been staying with us since last week. This weekend she asked me one night if I’d like to talk and pray together. I was towards the end of watching a movie on television. Many of you know I am not a huge fan of the boob tube. I don’t have any shows that I am addicted to, and I could totally live without it. In fact, in the early part of our marriage, it would be a point of contention between Mike (avid TV watcher) and myself. However, I declined my mom’s offer and rewound the DVR to catch what I had missed when she interrupted with attempts to give me some motherly TLC. She went back upstairs while I proceeded to finish “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” Yes, folks, that was what won out from meaningful conversation, quality time and soul nurture. Sure, Matthew McConaughey is nice to look at, but really?! I couldn’t believe it myself. I am NOT the fan of formulaic romantic comedies. I seriously wonder what girls see in them. Hot, womanizing man at first gets turned down by beautiful woman of actual substance who despite being totally out of his league in every way cannot help but fall for him and successfully reforms his slutty ways. WHY DO GIRLS LOVE THAT?! I will never understand. Personally, I think it sets up girls all looking for the wrong thing, getting screwed up emotionally, and then missing out on all the truly quality guys out there. Wait, what was this post about originally?

Anyways, I know for me at that moment, I preferred the mindless movie because escape won out on dealing. I’d rather turn off my personal emotions and let sappy formula take me to another, albeit bad but still different, place. I can counsel those impacted by illness but letting others counsel me is not so easy. When a friend checked in with how I was doing, I could not imagine replying any other way but fine.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t deal. For me, I think it is safer to write than talk. I can talk your ear off with certain emotions, say anger. But sadness, stress, worry, grief, those riskier feelings often need another outlet. As humans, we all deal with life differently and as much as that can cause confusion or worse, it is another display of the vast range of personality that make us much more interesting to one another in the end. Or closer to each other when similarities exist.

Middle 2 panels of Chagall’s “America Windows”

When my shopaholic mom wanted me to take her downtown, I knew immediately how I would spend the time: free days at the Art Institute! As soon as the doors opened yesterday, I made a beeline to Marc Chagall’s “America Windows.” They were calling my name. Those deep, penetrating blues soothed my soul in a solitary, safe and effective way. Like reading verses, looking at art in different times of your life often allows you to see it in a new way. Yesterday saw the birth of my love for Jackson Pollack’s 53. I know Pollack is considered a master of modern art and that his role in abstract impressionism was hugely influential. Most people are at least somewhat familiar with his work, and even Ethan learned about and tried to emulate him in his art camp last summer.

However, in all honesty, I would sometimes look at his work and wonder what he did that was so much greater than what Ethan did here. 🙂 Yesterday though, I was totally drawn into this piece.

Jackon Pollack’s “Greyed Rainbow”

Looking at the chaotic black, white and grey swirls, I thought of my beloved Mike and his health. I think it has brought him down to a depressing point like chronic health issues tend to do, and I thought of Pollack’s own struggle with depression. What I love about this is how the bottom portion of the painting hides but clearly shows colors, the rainbow that though greyed, is still present. It brings hope and the promise of what rainbows symbolize: God may bring storms and floods but He will never allow them to devastate completely. What I had previously thought as too dark with this painting now seems perfect in present circumstance. When I read about Mark Rothko’s works and how he believed them to be for the purpose of emotive response with the viewer, I appreciated art in a new way. Thank you, artists. I don’t always get you and the understanding sometimes is a long way coming (like I still do not get Rothko’s works even if I appreciate his intent), but you do provide food for the soul and help me deal with life.

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One Response to Art Therapy

  1. ask says:

    i love, love, love Rothko. also love hearing about how art touches your soul. thinking of you!

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