Are you AUTHENTIC ??? (class # 4)

Being your “real self” is the definition of AUTHENTIC.

But, how do we know who we really are, especially if we are only a kid?
Or perhaps we are an adult and still don’t know who we are going to be when we grow up.
Try this art class and you will get a better perspective of  WHO YOU REALLY ARE.

INSIDE/OUTSIDE Box:
The outside is how YOU PRESENT YOURSELF TO THE WORLD.

Outside=This teen wants to show how perfect she is with good grades, pearls and flowers.

The inside is HOW YOU REALLY FEEL

Inside= Emotions she never expresses
And when you see how different the inside is, there is no mistaking that she is NOT being authentic.

More examples:

Outside=clowns & smiles

Inside=a burlap net to hold feelings in.

 

Outside= Fluff with gray underneath

 

Inside= bars, blood & sharp edges

 

I must mention here that the above pictured artworks are from my past art students in rehab settings.
Most are disturbing because of their present situation, (depression, anxiety, addiction, self-harmers, etc.)
You can see how this art class can bring a rapid visual understanding to the student’s awareness…
if they are open to the process.
I also need to mention that this is a standard art therapy lesson. I did not invent/create this project.  A friend and mentor, Brenda Woods, taught me many art therapy lessons when we both worked at Remuda Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. I am forever grateful to her.

One last story about this art lesson:
While teaching at Remuda Ranch, FAMILY ART GROUPS were standard procedure. It was always helpful for members in a family, who is/are struggling with addiction, to actually SEE how everyone in the family is reacting to the disruption. ART helps us to express emotions when words, sometimes, are not available.
This particular day a grandfather was quite overwhelmed with his granddaughter’s dire situation. She was in a rehab for trying to slowly kill herself by not eating.  “Why can’t you just eat?”
My assignment for the family was “Create something that shows how you feel knowing that your granddaughter/daughter/sister/is dying from an eating disorder.”
Silence. Pin drop. Gasp.
Several family members started their art piece right away. They knew how they were feeling and how to represent it.

The teen with the eating disorder: “I’m fat.”

 

The dad who is struggling with finances: “This  expense was going to be your college education !!!”

 

Older sister: “This seductive eating disorder has stolen my sister away.”

 

Little brother: “What about me?”

 


Mom: “I’m exhausted. Help me.”


But what about the Grandfather???

As others were busy creating their ideas with chalk, paint, model magic, markers, wood shapes, magazines, etc. Grandpa sat there stunned… quiet… watching all his family working on their art piece… getting more and more insecure by the second. Why can’t I think of anything?
Normally I watch all my students to see if they need help or are having a difficult time because nothing is coming to mind. This time grandpa had his back to me painting the outside of his box a pale gray-blue. That’s all he could think of. A first step.
Time came to share our artwork and this is where the MAGIC comes in. The student shows their art piece and explains WHAT they made and WHY they made it.
I will explain here that the students/clients/patients are NOT talking about themselves, they are sharing their art piece–something separate from themselves. This creates a safe place to open up.
As you see above, all presented their art and were prompted to explain the emotions behind it.
They cried, hugged, pouted, disagreed, yelled… UNDERSTOOD… while grandpa listened and watched very carefully. He was slowly catching on.
When it came time to share his Inside/outside box he said, “Outside I am blue because I love you and don’t know what it happening.”
“Inside” (he showed his vacant box with nothing inside), and said “I am EMPTY. Without you I have nothing.” His granddaughter ran to his side and they cried together.

There are NO MISTAKES in Art !!!

PS. There is much more depth to the stories I share with you in my blogs.
For more details check out: Art with a Purpose and Stories behind the Art. 
Also FOLLOW me to receive free art lessons (Yes, this is a challenge !!!).

 

Tamlin

Author Tamlin

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