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The Bloody Arms Project

Today the good folk at The Daily Post offered the following prompt:

Tell us about a time where everything you’d hoped would happen actually did.

Well, I’ve been plagued with thoughts about cutting myself for some time now. Mostly lately they come in the form of mental images, rather than as an urge or thought that I should do it. I’ve been interpreting them less as a message about what I could or should do to my body, and more as an expression of what has already been done to my soul.  My spirit. My emotional self.

I’ve been trying to find some way to get these images out of my head, where they tend to hurt me, and into some form I can share with the world. I thought paint would be the best medium, but for the time being I seem not to have access to any. Today I experimented with crayons, oil pastels, and finally modeling clay (plastalina).

Art Materials

Not only was I able to express at least some of my inner turmoil without harming myself or anyone else, but as I was working with the clay I actually felt a sense of peace. Gone were the disturbing mental images and verbal abuse. Thoughts about the process of creating art – even the thought, “Ooh, yeah, that’s beautiful!” – took their place.

So now I have a safe outlet for dangerous emotions and a means of exploring emotional experiences that really do not lend themselves well to words. I can even experience some peace and a sense of accomplishment while I do so. And that gives me a lot of hope.

The images I created are behind the following link. They may be triggering to some people, particularly anyone inclined toward self-harm and survivors of abuse.

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I broke my crayon making violent slashes on the paper.

I broke my crayon making violent slashes on the paper.

I was able to express myself a lot better once I switched to oil pastels.

I was able to express myself a lot better once I switched to oil pastels.

Blood

Blood

I created the above image first by rubbing the oil pastel that had gotten on my fingers on a new piece of paper, then by adding some additional red to smear. Although the oil pastels were helping me to express a lot of anger, they did not quite satisfy the destructive urge. “I want it to be your blood,” a voice in my head said menacingly. I wanted to use paint because it is the art medium most similar to blood, but I couldn’t find mine. So, I opted for clay, possibly the most hands-on material I have.

Torn Flesh

Torn Flesh

Bodies

Bodies

Wound

Wound

Untitled

Untitled

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2 thoughts on “The Bloody Arms Project

  1. Pingback: Sculpture | a day with depression

  2. Pingback: Second 3-Month Review | a day with depression

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