Updated: Sep 10, 2022
Picture this. May of 2012, early 30’s, 20 something junk food diet, overworked, underpaid & far from the top half of the corporate ladder. Not fully aware of exactly how to care for myself, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. I mean, they don’t exactly stress the importance of that stuff in school, do they? I’m sure they’d rather us be ‘loosing it’ on all levels because they make more money off us in that state. I was a mess. That is the state in which I created the angry fish on the left. Clearly a piranha & scared enough to be bearing all those teeth. But also exhausted with half open eyes, definitely not alert enough to attack any prey. All the detail in the body could either represent very elaborate armor needed to protect me from predators or the mental and physical knots I had tangled up inside of me then. Either way, it’s not ideal. The image shown is actually a digital recreation of the original drawing I had done then in which there was no seaweed for me to swim through. There was no where to hide. Just a lonely angry fish swimming through shark infested waters, alone. Maybe that sounds a little dramatic but aren’t we all a little ‘worst case scenario’ when it comes to viewing our situation in our minds eye? All I can say is thank God I kept drawing. What I mean can be explained with one simple quote.
“Jung said you can cure a psychotic patient if you can make him creative. In other words, if what is destroying him from within can be brought forth in writing or painting or some other form, then he can be cured. What we try to do is to help people bring forth the Self.” - Von Franz
Now I’m not saying that I am or was psychotic at any time in my life but we all have issues on some level don’t we? And we would all like to be rid of them for good. That is why I draw. It either releases me of what I am currently holding or at the very least, it allows me to see an image of what I am going through from an outside perspective so I can finally see where I need to improve. Is it just me or is there anyone else out there that feels like they have the answer to everyone else‘s problem but their own? It’s because of the perspective. Literally dumping ‘it’ out on paper helps you see it differently. So where am I now, some 10 years later? Well, what would you guess from the digital drawing on the right? I did that 13 days ago. Well, first off my fish has more cover and a lot less detail on his body. That means I don’t feel as vulnerable in my environment and I’m not in need of armored protection from predators & I’m not as chaotic on the inside as I was then. This is also very interesting because there are actually spears coming at me from the top left of the page. Why am I less scared now if I am still being attacked? Well, first, my eyes are very open & alert so this time I am awake enough to see what is coming at least. But more importantly I think, I have a friend. In the top right there is a whale. Calm & steady. He is closer to the spear attack, almost in between me and them, yet he remains unaffected. Who is this presence in my life that makes me feel so much more protected in an environment that hasn’t changed? Well I’m still single so you can rule out a husband making me feel safe. And I do have a dog now but my little Shi Tzu would never be mistaken for a whale sized protection. She loves everyone who pets her. I hate to ruffle any atheist feathers, but to me, the whale is God. That is the only difference in my life in the last 10 years that could be responsible for this change in me. It’s not that I didn’t believe in God back then but our relationship has definitely blossomed in a way that makes me feel better in my own skin. He helps me see the beautiful parts of myself that the rest of the world tries to snuff out. Just as I am having this thought & typing it out, across the loudspeaker in Starbucks I’m sitting in plays the song lyrics “You’re beautiful just the way you are, you don’t have to change a thing the world can change it’s heart.” And that is exactly how he works… if you are listening. He can use anything to reach you if you let him. It could be a painting that resonates with you somehow, a song lyric at exactly the right time, a social media post saying what you need to hear, or a line in a book. The possibilities are endless. He will help you if you ask him to. He will motivate you. He will protect you. He will love you. Even if you feel scared, unworthy & lost.