I often wish I had the gift of being able to draw or paint. I don’t…really…I don’t! But I do have the gift of words. Descriptions that can hopefully bring what I wish I could draw or paint on canvas to life on a blank page. This week has been one of those weeks. It doesn’t matter what my intentions are, sometimes I’m going to have a hard time. It’s part of living with complex PTSD.
I have an extremely talented painter friend. I often text the words, “If I could paint a picture,” and proceed to text her a photo of what I’ve just drawn. She is wonderful, always tells me how creepy, cool, sad, dramatic, haunting my drawings are. She always guesses what I’m trying to convey and I love her for that. We have known each other since we’ve been 17 years old, so often I don’t even have to speak and she knows what’s going on my head.
Yesterday, I drew. I could see everything so clearly in my mind. I knew the depth, the color scheme, the graininess of the paper, everything, except I couldn’t draw it. It lost all its meaning, so I wrote what I saw in my mind, and I’m satisfied with the description of, “If I could draw my bad day with PTSD this is what it would look like:
The sky is cloudless and a deep turquoise blue. A single raven is soaring high and away from the dusty, sandy terrain. A solitary, barren looking, one level non-descript desert beige building, stands in the middle of no-where. The building is foreboding, no windows and no way to ever image what horrors go on in there. As the beat up, emotionally ruined girl staggers out, a shadow looms on the left. It is enormous and high and humidity sweats down from its ghastly shape. She hears sounds, the choke-hold echoes of the past, and then she notices the skeleton hands reaching from the scraggly bush nearly touching her. She sits down, head in hands, knees scrunched up, head lowered. A posture of turning inward, shutting down, wondering if it will ever end, or if this is an exercise in futility.
I’m glad every day isn’t like that, and I’m glad that when those moments happen, at this point on my healing journey it isn’t an all day event, but some days, like yesterday, the waves I had to ride were enormous and unsettling. I wanted to draw it out of me, get it from inside my mind and body, to the paper. I knew that if I could see it, it would have less of a hold on me, it would dissipate in strength and begin to lose it power.
Even though I may not have the talent to publicly display my artwork, I can still draw, I can still paint, but most importantly to me, I can write. I can describe how the world looks, feels, tastes and smells and sounds. I can touch the depth of the emotion and write what a bad day with PTSD is like for me.
Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph