Reflecting on the first artwork in my Cycle Breakers series
To my dearest Doodle Soupsters,
I walked, walked, walked, walked, walked, walked, and walked some more.
I carried the weight of my grief and anger on my back. I crouched underneath the heaviness of words unspoken, and words once shared yet pushed away …
Crushed under the tons and tons of denial …
Depleted because how to feel when there is no time or space to feel … when the demand is that you move away from the truth, move away from knowing, out-run the answers?
Depleted because the most effective solution I could offer myself at the time was to find a way to numb the ache …
No healing, only pain relief …
Only pain relief in the form of starving myself, in the form of debating whether I should live, in the form of ambivalence about my own existence …
I got lost out in the storm … trauma after trauma I had to survive, piles of memories stored up in the neglected corners of my mind … I closed the doors of those rooms, locked them shut … I told myself the rooms did not exist.
I forgot, except I didn’t. I dissociated. I dissociated. I dissociated some more.
And in my dissociation, I became half-alive, half-alive on a good day.
How to go on?
Walk closer to the door of those rooms — fear strikes, blinding and sharp. Like lightning. Paralysis. Paralysis …
And then, I turn back around … walk away from the doors, walk closer again, back and forth, back and forth, that agonizing back and forth, back and forth … the roots of my hopelessness.
This week, I was having flashbacks of how I felt when I was suicidal. How I felt when I was trapped. How I felt when I was abused and abused again, unable to name what was happening. Unable to because, what then? How to survive, how to survive … how to survive?
What did it take? When I was 20 years old and said no more, no more of this? I must find my way to some other life, I said. I couldn’t live that way anymore, I said.
I didn’t use the word, but the word was dissociation. It became startlingly clear to me that no one was coming to save me — I was going to have to save myself. I was going to have to feel that avalanche of unbearable pain that I was numbing out, that I was dissociating from … and I did, I do …
Why choose this? Why choose to feel when you can be numb?
Well, living half-alive is also like not living at all. I was willing to feel that pain in order to come alive and get to truly live. I am still willing. Because as painful as it gets, feeling alive is precious.
Isn’t that why people go sky-diving? Why people chase passion? Why I love looking up at the sky? Why I love kissing my husband? Why I love being here, on this Earth? Why I love stroking my cat Milo’s adorable soft furry head? Why I love watching the ocean waves roll in and out, in and out, over and under, again, again?
Ultimately, I wasn’t willing to miss my chance at living my one precious life. I had to find a way … I had to find my way …
I walked, noticing the smoky sky, feeling my ache. I walked, carrying my past selves in my arms. I walked, cradling the shards of my memories. Carry, carry, cradle, cradle, soft, gentle, carefully …
Above is the first piece I’m releasing from my new Cycle Breakers collection. It’s called “I got lost out in a storm.”
I heal to break cycles of suffering, cycles of humans hurting other humans to escape their pain.
And the process of healing itself is a form of cycling. Turning our hearts and minds inside out and over, creating new mental pathways, birthing new ways of being through turning, turning, turning, feeling, feeling, feeling with each pass through processing our own memories, our histories.
And I heal so I can live. So I can come alive. So my frozen parts can thaw.
As I’ve written here before, the healing is in feeling the pain, all the pain we couldn’t let ourselves feel before. And with each turn around, each tear we shed, we water the seeds that will grow into a better future — for ourselves and future generations.
Reflecting the themes of the work itself, this artwork can be displayed both horizontally and vertically.
Now, before I go to lay on the couch and pet my Milo, here’s the series description for Cycle Breakers:
Each of the works in my Cycle Breakers series has gone through many stages. The layers underneath look very different! Yet, there is a common thread in the process: creating from stillness, peace, and clarity then creating with bold strokes from intense emotion, and vice versa, repeat, repeat.
Breaking cycles is similar: there’s beauty, hope, and clarity behind the choice to be a cycle breaker. Yet, there’s also messy, wild, intense, confusing, and frustrating emotions to be felt while breaking free and maintaining the boundaries needed to stay free.
The artworks in this series express this duality, my heartbreak AND my hope as a cycle breaker. I hope they also bring validation, solidarity, and understanding to others who've made the beautiful and painful choice to heal from trauma.
Lost out in a storm, searching for something, remembering, still breaking free,
Nicole Sylvia Javorsky
P.S. Below are some close-up images of details from "I got lost out in a storm" :)