Malcolm X said, “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”
Like many women, I had a long history of burying my anger. I came to believe that my anger was unacceptable and made me unloveable. My beloved grandmother died in the front seat of the cat while I sat in the back at age three. When I was ten, my father died of pancreatic cancer. Several years later, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately, I learned that no one wanted to hear about my anger or my sadness. Perhaps if I were extra kind, loving, and self-sacrificing, bad things wouldn’t happen and I would not be left alone again. I clung tightly to my very first relationship and married when I was 23. He was an outspoken man who was good at expressing anger, which I also felt but was unwilling to show. Through Somatic Experiencing therapy and painting, I learned to feel my fear and terror at being alone and not let it stop me from making changes to better my life. Anger is a very important emotion– telling me when a boundary has been crossed and that I need to take action.
These two pieces were created during the many months of my divorce in which I was angry and also filled with great sadness, grief, and loneliness. I let these emotions fill my body and come out through the brush. I wrote words, threw paint, scraped, and attacked the canvas. Painting allowed me to befriend my anger and not be afraid of it. It has opened up space in my life to grow, change, and find my voice.