Leaving the girl behind

I have been craving silence for a few days. I needed both the time and space to get through a process of reliving childhood memories and to look at family patterns in an absolutely honest way. Honest to me. This is my truth and I don’t share it with anyone else. Looking at something that way can make you feel really lonely – but it’s necessary for acceptance and understanding. It is part of the healing process.

Me, having fun in the waves

Me, having fun in the waves (ca. 1986)

When it comes to breaking familiar and destructive patterns – in behavior or in relationships (or both), they are often rooted in the childhood and that’s where you have to start looking. I can see that both my present anxiousness and fear has been part of my mind’s texture since I was a little girl, trying to please adult people and family so I could avoid being scolded or the source of anyone’s rage.

Anger, rage and yelling still makes me highly uncomfortable and anxious. I am now able to follow this fear of anger throughout my life – and perhaps it is a reason why I have such trouble with expressing it. I do express it through my art though. That is where I feel safe enough to confront my own rage and explosive energy. But even in some artworks, I’m holding back by using smiling demons or a sense of humor.

Baby Blue

Baby Blue by Mia Makila, 2014

Going back to find the root of this fear of anger has been healthy and it’s worked like a catharsis. I have never been able to understand the nature of rage and anger in my life. I could not fathom how I could be the source of such rage. An in my adult life, I have been victimized because of it – but also attracted to it. Subconsciously I have been trying to find it in different men so I could try to control it, master it and tame it. But it just created codependency and a deeply submissive disposition –  and it made me repress my own rage even further down.

I have a lot of unexpressed rage. I only get angry when I feel safe in a relationship, if I don’t feel like I am allowed to get angry, I will push it back and it disappears – or I guess it doesn’t really. It is still there but I don’t have access to it. Only in my creativity where I am able to explore it in a safe setting where I feel in control.

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A photo project from when I was a teenager – I worked with themes of vulnerability and fear back then too

I was a happy little girl. I loved the freedom I had in my mind where I could create any world of magic and control reality – because I could not control real life. I had a good childhood and I was deeply loved. But there are wounds and flaws in my childhood, just like in any other person’s childhood. I did not feel seen in my fear of anger – and I stood completely powerless in front of it. It makes sense now why I’ve spent most of my artistic life creating little girls and vulnerable creatures. I have been seeking comfort for my childhood fears and an outlet for the vulnerability I felt as a young girl. I’ve tried to rescue other people because I felt like I wasn’t rescued in moments of fear. I have been looking in all the wrong places for healing until now.

It is quite impossible to change anything if you are not becoming aware of the wound. It is impossible to change if you are not willing to sacrifice the overcompensation, the false identity that is masking the wound, self defense mechanisms and survival strategies. Only by sacrificing the certainty of knowing who you are and daring to look for the roots of your suffering,  is it possible to change. It is very painful, it takes a lot of effort and time – but it will eventually lead you back to something that feels absolutely true and genuine. A feeling of coming home. Safe and sound.

I am leaving the little girl behind because I am providing that comfort for myself now. And my art will always be a place to explore the things that makes me anxious and scared. I am lucky to have such a playground for my repressed emotions. That way, I am never really lost in them – but only one brushstroke away from healing.

The Rage

The Rage by Mia Makila, 2012

Opening the black box

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Even though I woke up with anxiety, I also woke up with a assertiveness and will to go against it. This summer, I’ve been consumed with fear and worries and it has triggered some kind of meta anxiety (anxiety based on anxiety alone). It is not even real. And I need to open the black box that contains my fear to examine what they are all about so I can accept in – and finally let it go, before the anxiety takes over and I’ll end up in another depression. So, I have to do this.

I’ve already dissected my ‘ladder of anxiety’ that leads to fear and panic attacks. Since I’m highly intolerant to uncertainties and everything in my life right now is filled with uncertainties, any problem that brings another uncertainty will trigger the anxiety and I’ll keep climbing down the ladder:

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When I reach the level of anxiety, it all spirals down to panic pretty quickly, especially at the critical ‘point of no return’ when my mind has made up various future catastrophes in hopes of solving the gap, created by the threatening uncertainty. Since I am struggling with PTSD, my mind automatically goes to the worst case scenario because that has often been my reality. It once was a way to protect myself – a survival strategy, but now it doesn’t have any function and instead ruining any peace of mind.

I’ve been making a lot of research about anxiety and how to deal with it, the best strategies I’ve come across so far is learning how to deal with the worries and the nature of problem-solving/ accepting and letting go, and also becoming more tolerant to uncertainties. So I made a new ladder to see where exactly I should make a change:

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The trick is to stop the movement down the ladder at the second stage of worrying – instead of going to the next level where anxiety takes over, I have to be aware of my worries and pause – so I can ask myself “is there something I can do to fix this uncertainty?”, if there is something I can do I need to be better and more effective when it comes to solving problems, if there isn’t anything I can do, I need to accept it and let it go. Both ways will stop me from going down the ladder. I just need to celebrate the positive outcome and stop confirming the bad ones where I’m feeling like a victim (“bad things always happen to me”) and to trust myself to handle whatever crap that will come my way. I have survived many difficult things and I’ve always landed on my two feet.

I am stronger than any shit-storm.

2010

2010

And there really is something fundamentally important about the message in this silly song:

The black box

All the Bears In My Garden

All the Bears In My Garden by Mia Makila, 2012

With my black box.

I’ve been thinking about this thing about being without a thinking box. I do HAVE a box (other than my own core). It is my fear. My black box. I’ve even put it into my work a few times. Every thought process is filtered through this box. Always. It’s what a trauma does to your mind after a long time of feeling unsafe and judged. I used to be scared of everything, but I’ve dealing with so many fears in therapy and in my art, I do feel I’ve overcome so much of it. But there is still a black box inside my mind. I think it contains residue form my trauma, but nothing more than that. There is no real substance to my fear anymore. It’s almost like a phantom fear – no longer real but still present.

I have already been writing so much about this fear. The fear of happiness. Love. Success. The world outside my own head. Life.

It’s a twisted fear, not about the dark but about the light.

2012

2012

I wonder what could erase this fear and eliminate the black box. I think I know the answer already. It’s trust. Faith. Acceptance. Peace of mind.

And I’m working hard to achieve all that. Perhaps I’ll always have a black box inside my head – maybe we all have one, but I want to make it shrink and empty the box as much as I can.