I felt the breath catch in the back of my throat as I read the words out aloud:
“I love art, because it lets me express my feelings – sometimes sadness, sometimes frustration, sometimes happiness, sometimes anger. When I show it to my parents it makes me feel heard even when they don’t understand”
These were the words our 11-year-old daughter, Teja included in her application for a leadership position as arts captain at her primary school.
Her words were profound and confronting all at once.
All I could think was that I had failed her. I had failed to see what she had been showing me, failed to understand what she was communicating, failed to hear her…
But as I held her and continued to take in the rest of her presentation, I could see the diversity of her drawings and paintings. Some were bright and colourful, cartoon-like, made-up aliens; others a collage of eyes and mouths and fractured faces. Some bejewelled with joyful textures and feathers; others drawn and shaded carefully in serene still life.
Then I realised her words were not about my failures, but about her process.
She had found a way.
A way to express the things that are hard to put into words. To use the energy of an emotion to create a statement piece. To work frustration, sadness and anger out of her fingertips and onto a page in a way that made her felt heard, even if no one else understood.
And in that moment, she took my breath away.
We all have to find our way.
Our way – of managing the emotions that bubble up within us each time we face the tough stuff in life. If we don’t, we risk losing the battle and losing sight of the truly important things in life.
For me – much to the annoyance of those who live with and work with me – it is to talk things out. I am often told that I talk too much! Perhaps I should take up art instead!!
So, tell me – I genuinely want to know – what is your way?