When I think of the word, "Survivor", it sounds scrappy, like a warrior. But in my experience, being a survivor of trauma is a lot more about playfulness than fighting.
Early in the painting process of this piece, I encountered some frustration thinking the painting wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. I was tempted to paint over the whole thing and start again - but then I realized the paint already on the canvas was part of the process. Healing from trauma and abuse involves a very similar realization: it’s common to feel broken and like something is wrong with us. It can be tempting to try to restore ourselves to an imagined blank state, untouched by our histories.
Our histories are part of our stories, though.
Healing isn't about fixing ourselves or restoring ourselves to a blank slate of perfection: it's seeing the truth that we are already whole and beautiful, no matter what we've endured.
By focusing on the details of the painting I liked, and by leaning into play, I completed this whimsical piece, and in it I see reflected three healing facts: