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Naming is a Vital Part of Healing

Yes, something so cracked can survive. I know that now.

dreamy, dark, expression mixed media painting by artist Nicole Sylvia Javorsky

Dearest Doodle Soupsters,

“Can't see me, see me?” is the title of my artwork above.

Fingerprints, ghosts, floating eyes, floating feet, floating heads — there is a rootlessness, a disconnection, a severing of the psyche reflected in this piece that I completed 10 years ago.

Back in 2012 and 2013 when I was working on this artwork, and for years afterward, I couldn't come up with the right title for it. I simply couldn’t name it.

At one point, I called it, “Interconnected.” At another point, “Complicated.” But neither of these titles really felt right. And that’s because while this piece was such a pure, authentic expression of how I felt, I hadn’t yet named those feelings.

With art, I can create visual depictions of what I don’t yet have words for. Yet, finding the words? To me, that’s a crucial part of my process as an artist too.

Naming is a vital part of healing. Moving between wordlessness and putting it into words and into clarity and then into wordlessness again and repeat. This is how we process. This is how we make sense of ourselves, of living, of our experiences, of the world around us.

My art has plenty of light and plenty of darkness. I can embrace that now. Yet, back when I made this artwork, I was proud of it and also confused by it. I couldn’t even acknowledge how confused by it I truly was because then I would be facing the darkness that I didn't have the space or support to process at the time.

And still, all of it, all of the words, they’re right there in this painting in wordless form.

A few years ago, I wrote a song called “see me” — the lyrics are below:

Have you ever stared into broken glass

then saw yourself, saw more of yourself

in the discarded than in the mirror?

Shattered? Not a name I’d ever go by,

but I can’t deny how much this bottle

thrown on the side of the street looks like me.

Can’t see me, can’t see me.

Why can’t I see me? Why can’t I see me?

Have you ever stared into a brick wall

then saw yourself, saw more of yourself

in the wall than in the mirror?

Motionless? Not a name I’d call myself,

but my reflections all look like somebody else.

How can it be? This brick wall looks just like me.

Why can’t I see me? Why can’t I see me?

Frozen in place for now,

I wonder when these cracks will bring

the whole thing down.

Will I strong enough

to hold myself up

when my last wall comes

tumbling down?

Can something so cracked ever survive?

All these questions on my mind,

making it so hard to see me.

Can’t see me, can’t even see me.

Why can’t I see me? Why can’t I see me?

Yes, something so cracked can survive. I know that now.

Yes, I am strong enough to hold myself up when I let my walls down.

I know who I am.

I can see me.

And I understand why I couldn’t see myself for so long.

I face the darkness. I name and untangle the contortions of my mental pathways, created to cope with and survive abuse.

I return to my inner light and I know how to reignite it — I listen to my desires, I listen to my soul, I listen to the wind, I surrender to my grief, I nourish my body, I rest, I make space for messiness and mistakes, I remind myself that perfection isn’t my goal, I remember my story and my truth … I find compassion for myself when rigidity, fear, and doubt resurfaces … I face myself and sing:

I see me

I see me

I am cracked, not broken

I am whole

I am enough

My wounded places become points of connection

To the sacred, to the true, to our shared humanity

I see me

I see me

I see you

Beautiful and strong

Just like this

It’s safe to fall

You’ll rise again

You always do

You, sweet soul, look like you

Always did, always do, always will

What’s lost isn’t gone

What’s lost can be found again

With trust,

Nicole Sylvia Javorsky

P.S. Music Corner Related music for today’s bowl of Chicken Doodle Soup … listen to my song “see me” from my EP, a little rain!


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