I was looking back over old posts, and found that the painting didn’t come through in this one. Which greatly detracts from the text! So I am going to try again and hope for better results. I made a few minor edits while I was at it.
After I remembered the sexual abuse, but before I remembered ritual abuse, I worked a lot with self-hypnosis. It told me nothing new about my past but it helped me deal with the feelings that had been buried so long. That was okay; I wasn’t looking for more information. I was trying to absorb what I already had learned, which was far more than I ever wanted to know.
An early phrase that came up was “If I could write with blood…” which meant, or I thought it meant, was that the intensity of writing in blood would drive home the meaning of what I wanted to communicate. Like taking somebody by the shoulders, shaking them, and yelling, “Listen to me!!!” At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to say, I just knew I wanted a really powerful way of expressing myself.
A few days later I took out pencil and watercolors and started sketching my hand. It was as if the painting painted itself — it was like one of those coloring books from my childhood where you went over the page with a wet brush and a picture magically appeared. (Wonder if that kind of coloring book is still available?) My mind was blank as I did this.
I have never cut my wrists, and so there are no scars. But I was painting a scar — saying that my pain was so great that I wanted to, or could have, or might just as well have tried to kill myself. And the red? Is it blood, or flames, or both? I didn’t know then and I don’t know now. But it surely signifies injury and pain and it surely is intense.
Painting on my wrist is telling, if not in words, and the real scars that many of us carry are an intense, compelling way of telling. It is so sad that people cannot understand what we are saying when we hurt ourselves or even that we are trying to communicate something deep and awful. At times we ourselves cannot understand that we are trying to talk about what happened to us.
We have to find a way to translate our actions into words, and then we can make sense of why we hurt ourselves and forgive ourselves for trying to speak in the only way we had at the time.
2 thoughts on “If I Could Paint with Blood”
Jean, this is an excellent article,,, it explains many of my feelings when I first began my journey. I didn’t have scars either, but I might as well have had them. I am going through some more healing, seeking to know myself deeper, an this article touches me on many levels. Thank you!
Thank you for this. I feel it really captures the kind of pain that we have inside.