You may know, if you follow my blog or have read interviews with me, that I drew on a lot of my own life experience to write SCARS. Like Kendra, I’m a sexual abuse survivor, I used self-harm to cope, and I’m queer–and I used my insider perspective to bring realism to the work. And also like Kendra, I had a great therapist, and I used art (and writing) to cope in a healthy way with the abuse. Unlike Kendra, I am also a ritual abuse survivor, and my experience of torture comes out in my art and writing.
Some of the art that I talk about in SCARS I actually created as a teen. If you read SCARS, you may remember Kendra talking about this drawing. I drew it first in pencil, then in ink, using a paint brush and India ink in the background, and washes of ink over the figure, as well as a fine-tipped marker over some of the pencil. I was trying to show the pain of sexual abuse, the way it hurts not just physically but emotionally for years afterward. (Although it does get better.) When I drew it I was in so much emotional pain–it felt like the pain would never end, even though I was in therapy. The bandaids were symbolic for me–things were a tiny bit better because I was talking about the abuse, but it was so hard and the pain felt pretty unbearable at times. I’m so grateful that it got better!
(You may have seen some of this artwork before in my Dear Teen Me letter.)
I liked a lot of the same mediums that Kendra did in SCARS–I especially like pencil and colored pencil, though I’ve also used clay, wire, and wax for sculptures; acrylic, watercolor, and tempura for paintings; and ink for drawings.
I didn’t mention Kendra creating a self-portrait, but I imagined her doing that. I made Kendra vulnerable, the way I was, the way I painted my own self-portrait as a teen:
And, like Kendra, I found greater happiness over time, and that began to show in my art (and my writing):
Have you used art to try to get out emotion or make things better? How about writing, or another creative outlet? For me, using writing and art to get out emotion has been very helpful.