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.

Continue reading

Rage Dragon

On Wednesday I spent a significant portion of my music therapy session throwing an extremely loud temper tantrum on drums and cymbal. (The cymbal is seriously the best instrument ever, you should check it out! – especially if you have anger issues. Just … give everyone else around you earplugs.) Wakana supported me on keyboard and drums. I had a blast, banging crashing screaming wailing shouting “Go away!” It was fantastic!

When I finished (I wasn’t really finished, but things were slowing down a bit and it was a good time to take a break. I don’t know if I’ll ever be finished with this temper tantrum!) Wakana looked me in the eye and said, “Ziya, you have got a ton of rage!” As I spoke I felt like laughing, crying, and tantruming again all at the same time; it took all my effort to speak coherently. Yeah, of course I’ve got a lot of rage.

And I’ve been sitting on top of it for a lifetime.

I gotta get this stuff … you know, strong language is allowed on WordPress. I doubt people would really mind reading “shit” from time to time. You’re typing it. Great!

I gotta get this shit out of me! It’s causing me constant back pain! I’m wasting so much energy trying to keep it down. No wonder I’m so anxious, I’m afraid I’m going to explode! And I really really really don’t want this to end with me hurting myself. I can’t hurt other people either. There has got to be another way!

Art. My ideal would be to go in a place where I could smash things, maybe things made of colored ceramic or glass. Then, after I’d smashed things, I’d put the pieces back together into something beautiful.

Or a room where I could throw red paint everywhere, okay, maybe other colors too. I could roll in it and crash into the wall, smear it all over the place with the biggest broadest strokes my body can do.

I was considering getting a giant roll of art paper and finger paints to simulate the second option at home, but the rolls I’ve been able to find (so far) are too expensive.

So, for now, I’ve contented myself with coloring a dragon. It was drawn by Rachael Mayo. Her artwork is gorgeously complex, so it will probably take me a few coloring sessions to finish. Here’s what I’ve done so far; I’m working with colored pencils because they give me the most control.

color-dragon-01

Viola Improvisation 1: Muted

I finally feel like I’m getting my music back. Yesterday I was having a hard time emotionally; I was too exhausted to deal with anything. But I was able to improvise – on piano and then on viola. I recorded all of my improvisations, but the last one (on viola) seems to capture my experience the best. I was able to be very intentional while expressing … well, stuff that’s been bottled up for too long.

I would love to purchase WordPress’s space upgrade in order to be able to post audio files, but in my current situation that would not be financially responsible. So, I ventured forth in search of a free audio hosting service.

I found PodOmatic and posted my first (entirely instrumental) podcast today. You are welcome to listen to my improvisation (mp3), or download it to listen to later. Here is a preview of the podcast:

viola-improv-1-screenshot