Monday, June 15, 2009

Doodling under duress

We had an exercise in class to demonstrate "expressive arts therapy" and using the expressive arts, such as drawing, to help our future clients express themselves if words weren't forthcoming.

I don't like to draw on demand.

I don't like to draw in public.

I've had the unpleasant experience of drawing in front of others and having people respond with sad, self-deprecating remarks like, "I don't want to draw ever again" or "Wow, I can't even draw a straight line" (yes, you can, with a ruler like most other people!).

There isn't much control one has over another in the usual circumstances. I can't manipulate how other people will feel when confronted not only with art, but also with artmaking and the artist.

Personally, I'm uncomfortable with singing in public. Oh, I'll do it quite loudly and with nary a care in the world in the car or when I'm alone, but I will freeze up and break into a cold sweat if I ever have to do it front of other people, and that's an understatement. I just won't do it.

So I sympathize with people who feel self-conscious about their artistic abilities. I still encourage, I still coach, I still work with students who want to make art and feel better about making art, but I would never force or ask them to do it unless this is what they wanted and we were collaborating to remove the inhibitions and negative self-talk about the right to express ourselves creatively.

Anyway, so we had this exercise in class. I think it could be useful with clients open to doing such an activity, therefore I'm keeping it in my therapy toolbox. I'll also keep in mind how uncomfortable I felt about this activity.

But hey! Y'all get a sketch out of it. I'm obsessed with circles and circularity as my friend Ed pointed out a while back. You can really see it here. It helped that the instructor gave us a sheet of paper with a circle on it (she didn't say we had to draw inside it, but I did). It's supposed to be a "mandala" because it's circular, but it's anything but (it's a cross without Jesus, a crucifix with; them's the rules of naming something what it is!).

I also didn't choose to use color, although it was offered.

I think this doodle says a lot about me. There's a tree that's surviving and a wave that's going to crash into it. It's all beautiful and there's going to be struggle, but things will be what they will be, and I hope--expect--the tree to survive.

I'm not so much about the new hotness. I'm all about the old and busted.

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