WHY SHARE MY STORY?
(I am an artist! - And I have something to "say"!)
When I grew up, I did really love my mother, though she did not love me back. She just did not have the capacity. She constantly abandoned me, belittled me, told me what was wrong with me and how I was supposed to be. She abused me, neglected me, scolded me – and once in a blue moon she would do something that on the surface looked kind, but would turn out to be much more for her than for me.
At the age of 5 I made a conscious decision to no longer beg for her love, as in seeking her out. I did keep on a couple of years to try to make her see me favorably, but it did not work. A bit older, as an early teenager – my love turned into hate. I hated her with all that I had. Because it was always about her – and never about me. With that hate – I became the problematic one. I learned fast that describing my parents to anyone outside (which I tried to do to the child psychiatric hospital (at 13) I ended up in due to me starving myself, not taking care of my appearance etc, slowly shutting down) – was to no avail. It really felt like screaming (even if I was quiet, even mute quite often) – straight out into space. Or straight into a wall – there were really no one there to hear it.
I already did self-harm much younger – but this is when it escalated and became almost the sole way, I communicated with the world around me. I think I meant – with my self-harm actions: this is what I hear you say and show I deserve, but also – I hope you feel the fucking powerlessness I did (do – back then).
And even in some strange way, to self-harm was soothing – as this was the only way I was used to being touched and connected with. It was the way I had been taught to self-regulate. By having it modeled to me. This was how others connected with me – so this was how I too connected with myself. It isn’t sick – it is logical. It was what I was taught.
My most “anorexic” part of me expressed it later as she wants to be an exclamation mark – poking people – so they cannot, not see. She literally wanted to be thin and pointy as an exclamation mark. (Other parts of me were anorexic for other reasons, to stay small so there could still be love and attention – “funny” – isn’t it – small does not only mean invisible – at times we become more invisible when we grow… Have any researchers looked thoroughly into the connection between having grown up with a pedophile and the wish to stay small (and thereby lovable?)
The stuff you learn as a child about yourself – gets ingrained – engraved into your bones. Lives in you, you drank, ate, and breathed it. You slept with it, wore it, moved with it, navigated it – all the time.
The fury I finally felt – towards everyone around me. Was healthy. Because – if they would not take care of me – would not protect me from harm – thought I was worthless – decided I was expendable – even enjoyed seeing me hurt and harmed – had no problem leaving me to my own devices and isolation – and there was nothing to be angry about – I was what they told me. My fury helped me choose my own side.
To later on be declared crazy for fucking not giving up, for fighting, for being angry. To constantly be told – as long as I cannot behave – no one will listen. But my behavior was my story… as how do you tell the un-tellable? How do you express the unimaginable? How do you put word on feelings and experiences that are just immense pain? Immense fear? Immense shame? There aren’t enough words for that.
To be told – use your words. Don’t act out – was basically telling me to not communicate. That I again had to take care of myself, that my story, who I had become because of my story – was unacceptable.
I have always had this need for self-expression. People have always told me – leave that stuff. Go and live your life. It is what it is. I think it is well-meant. And I have learned to know what is in the past – but leaving it behind – is not possible. It is part of me. Part of my life story. Part of what formed me into who I am.
And I am still angry. Angry as fuck. I can see people’s short comings. I can see the well-meaningness. I can see people’s own fears and their need to protect themselves (and their “innocence”?). I can see that. I understand it.
But where do I go with my very legitimate anger?
But also with all the other – very strong emotions and feelings? I don’t want to turn them towards myself as weapons anymore – and neither towards someone else.
The decision I can take is to not let whatever goes on for other people limit me. Not let other people tell me what I can express, how I can express it, if it is good enough to be expressed, if I hurt other people by expressing it.
If I “shut up” (as in not expressing myself), I hurt myself. I simply have to trust that you can take care of yourself. If you cannot bear to hear what I say – it is your responsibility to tell me so (or to just not interact with me, not read what I write, not look at what I share, not pay attention to my story.
My story suck. Most of it. Not all of it. I have had plenty of great experiences to in my life. From like 30 years of age. But before that. My story mostly suck.
But it is not me. My experiences are not me.
And when I express my story – express myself – I see that division. When I put my story out – it is my story, the parts I choose to share – but it is not me.
And I don’t share it to save someone else. I share it because I am saving myself by doing so (and saving myself, taking care of myself – is an ongoing process). If anyone else relates, feel inspired, feel helped – that is good. But our stories are different – even if there are elements of sameness – similar themes – like oppression, neglect, violence, abuse, isolation – and what is called “coping strategies” – that I believe, as it was for me, often is so much more than that, communication e.g. You need to express your own story – in whatever way you feel called to do it in (and to whomever you feel called to tell it to).
I tell my story to the world. It is logical too – I was – still to some degree am – angry at the whole world. To me – growing up – where there so obvious was bad stuff happening to me – and no one intervened – and when the intervention came – all took my parents side – and no one lifted a finger to stop me from perishing.
I do think what I share has value to others. Because even if our stories are different – we are all humans – sharing the human conditions – living in societies we ourselves have created (and that now equally much harm us as help us – or as in my case – contributed and prolonged my pain).
One way we share what it is, can be, to be a human, is through creating art. And I have now decided I am an artist! I usually say I don’t like labels – but this one I like. There might be limitations to this one as well – but I want to explore the label – and possible limitations. Maybe I will drop it later, how knows? For now – it intrigues me.
And I want to thank my friend Christine Fairweather who was the first one to call me an artist. Not that I need outer approval – but I did never occur to me that what I share can be called art (and hence me being the one sharing it can be called an artist). I did have a psychologist call my writings "incomprehensible drivel" in my 20-ties and my paintings were called "nonsense" - that kind of put me off from showing it anywhere. But! Creating art is a legitimate thing to spend your time on doing and need not to be defended (or even defined). And now what I do I am naming art! It is all about perspectives and mindsets! And to not let anyone else limit you – not even a psychologist who claims to know you well (11 years in this case)!
In my struggles to find a way forward – one of the things I did, letting all of me participate in this quest, was to send in an application together with work samples, to an Art & Design school. And I was admitted – to my utter surprise! To their year 2 (out of 2). The admission letter I got – stunned me. I still feel dazzled, but also very happy. And excited. And have already taken steps to find out how this can be attained, realized – me going to Art school, at the same time as I will take my first year in my psychotherapy training AND move to Italy to build an equine assisted, nature assisted, expressive arts assisted, movement and mindfulness assisted, experiential learning assisted, rewilding our heart-place!
It will be so exciting to see what I share through this new lens! Through the lens of art. I feel like I have been given the gift of more Freedom! What it will lead to – I don’t know. Will it work out? I don’t know. The only thing I know is that I each day take a number of small steps to move forward and stay as open-minded as I can to the responses I get back, to what I send out.
To me – it means – I can act-out – within the framework of art. I can express myself – share myself – share the parts I want to share of my story – with my reflections on it. Expressed in words but also in other ways. I feel like the empty air, the wall I have been sharing with – somehow now transformed into a space with potential listeners.
I have so far only shared this news with a couple of people. Who I thought would understand the significance of this to me. And they have all told me that they are not surprises – and just congratulated me 😊 – my exam in this art school will be to take part in an exhibition (or even have my own? – A bit unsure of the structure). It isn’t a fine arts school – only “preparatory” – but I don’t care – I feel I have been giving the gift of both freedom – and space.
Meanwhile – I am editing my first book. And I have started to upload some of my photos to Pickfair: https://katarinalundgren.picfair.com/albums
I will continue to work with equine assisted interventions, work on becoming a psychotherapist, to educate in MiMer, to do the things that other parts of me love and find their passions in.
I will be all of me. Even if it means my process to get somewhere is slower. I love how all these passions and deep interests come together and nurture and support each other, give each other perspectives – becomes this layered grid, or dense and full of life woods.
I will live the whole of me.
All Is One.
If you find it in your heart that you want to support me – on these new adventures – you can do that by reaching out and hire me (I already reached out with a post to UK peeps and have gotten some answers – and I am connecting with you one by one to explore things – possible collaborations, work, etc). Or by hire me for a TS-EAM workshop in any country. Or have me as a supervisor/mentor in equine assisted work. Check my page out to see what I offer: https://livethechange.se/
Support me by buying a photo on Pickfair – and wait a bit – I will upload more of them!) https://katarinalundgren.picfair.com/albums
Or support me through my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/livethechange
Or support MiMer: https://www.patreon.com/mimercentre - so we all can continue our dedicated work!
And if you have missed that MiMer Centre offers science-based and model-independent trainings – we have special offers for both our Equine in Therapy and Learning education – level 1-4 – with a 200 Euro reduction for 2022 – and for the TS-EAM workshops that will also have raised prices from 2023. Though we will keep on offering sliding scales for students and charities and developing areas of the world. You can read about our trainings and offers here: https://www.mimercentre.org/
Thank you all!
Text and picture are copyrigh protected © Katarina Lundgren 2022