The boy inside Frankenstein

A few years ago, I saw a old high school friend. He wasn’t in the best place in life. He had scars from his past, open wounds he was trying to heal. We started talking about our shared interest in art.

He had drawn a sketch on a piece of wood. He had this concept of what he wanted all laid out in his head. He asked if I would paint it, bring it to life. I was hesitant at first. My view of things and his were different. Art is such a personal thing. We often aren’t even aware of the things we transcribe-translate onto wood, paper, paint….

He insisted, brought over his drawing. There were two sides. Both he had sketched out his designs. Over the years, the thing he most identified with was Frankenstein. He had drawn out two versions, the man and the monster within.

We talked about colors and his envision of how it would be painted. I tried to encourage him to paint it. I was fearful my vision would not match his. He still insisted, “No, I want your style on it, you to paint it how you see it, how you see me”.

I accepted the challenge… nervously of course. The thought of ruining his drawings weighed heavily on my mind. He had already been through a lot in life. Material possessions, were of no concern. But this, something he created, something he identified with and he had carried with him over the years…. To him, this had value.

I thought long and hard before I began to paint. I stressed over my use of Colors, style and direction.

Then I considered every conversation we had. Every interaction I had with him throughout life. I heard his struggles, his highs and lows. Suddenly I realized…. This was not as much about Frankenstein, as it was about how he actually saw himself.

I started added layers of paint. Nervous about his reaction and mindful to not ruin his drawings. I sent him photos during different stages….

With each layer of paint. I could see him peeking out from inside the drawing. I saw his emotions, his sadness, his pain. I heard his stories over and over again…

Each phase or new layer, the more personal it became. At one point, I felt uneasy. As if I were peeking inside his mind, his most intimate thoughts. I just proceeded cautiously, sending photos as it progressed. Waiting, patiently for his reaction.

The more I painted the more I can find, the boy I once knew hidden inside. I do not think he ever intended for his drawings to reflect his hidden emotions, much less mirror himself.

Sometimes in life, everyone feels things too deeply. We each have a way of releasing the pressure. For many it is working through tasks. Never slowing down to reflect or feel the emotions; just keep moving, till it passes. For others it is stopping time, looking back, embracing the pain. Some choose to drown out the sensation of emotions., with people, relationships, Substances…. For each individual it is unique.

When I was done, careful to not over paint, not to hide the drawing underneath. I looked and notice… the image was quite clear. There was no longer Frankenstein, but my friend did appear.

On the back he had drawn the Monster within.

Oddly I thought, I recognized that grin. It was of course the mischievous nature of my friend. When I asked him if he noticed that. He got quiet, silent even… He replied… “I just drew what I felt and saw inside”.

Last time I saw him, he was at peace. He had meet his new bride, gotten married and seemed at last content. Almost a whole year had passed, I ran into him again. I almost didn’t recognize him. He was changed from within. He smiled, so bright from inside out. I asked how he’d been, before I could finish he pulled out his wallet. He flipped through his photos to show me his daughter!

I mentioned to him, you never got your painting. I had mentioned, how I had tried a few times to send it to him. He just smiled, “you keep it, I know where it’s at”. He was no longer that sad little boy, no longer fighting demons within. He had a new identity…. Father to a daughter & Husband to now a wife!

#artistheraputic #arttherapy #painttherapy #paintings #jenzphelps #jenz #mirrorimages #overcomingyourpast #recovery #awareness #mindfulness

Not everyday is a bad day, sometimes it’s simply a new beginning!

I feel like a weight has been lifted… A decision has been made. I am able to move again…

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Doesn’t mean I don’t miss you, or value you less. Just means I finally love myself a little more than I love you! We couldn’t have kept going at that pace, up and down… eventually; that pendulum was bound to break!

I have FAITH, that life will sort itself out. I just can’t be on standby, waiting for you to figure it out. I know my worth, value… it might have been less in your eyes, but mine see it just fine!

I will never settle for less that I deserve. You won’t see me disgruntled or unhappy because I choose too soon or settled for less! I can be alone, at peace with myself. You will never find me searching from man to man… I define my worth and push myself to be all that I can.

I don’t have to change how I see the world, I never did; to include you into the equation. You were the one, running from the safety in security that love provides…

Your soul is restless, I see it from here; you have nowhere to hide. Tossing and turning,dying to break free. You are truly the only one weighing you down; and you cannot even see. You can try and point fingers; but… the mirror doesn’t lie.

I knew when I walked away, you would start to have doubts… I warned you, you thought they were empty threats… This was never a game you see; my heart, my emotions are as real as they can be.

I am not a toy, this is not a game, you can’t just have it your way; whenever you want! I am a real woman, with priorities and responsibilities! I hold my head high and live my life with integrity…

I have no time or interest in these school yard games. I saw you, I see you… I know you! Even still, today….

Tonight I breathe lighter and easier than before. I have tried so, so many times; to get you to understand, to open up, to talk! I will not… I will not! Titter- totter again back and forth, up on that pendulum again….

We are adults! I can own my feelings, my emotions, my love…. I can own my hurt, my pain, and my faults!

I will never go back to that playground again…. I am grown, I can own the life that I want!

I have FAITH, life always works itself out!

But tonight…. I no longer feel the weight of that rock on my chest! I can breathe! I may crack and crumble from the love I have… But I can put the pieces back together, to create something far more captivating with the beauty in those scars!

I am weak, in that I feel my emotions soo deeply; however, my roots are strong like dandelions in the city, pushing it’s way up through the cement to feel the rain and stand in the sunshine!

My pain… only makes me stronger… Not everyday, is a bad day. Sometimes it is simply a New Beginning.

Embrace the pain… just don’t get stuck!

It is ok to acknowledge & accept that we feel pain… it is simply a necessary part of life. Sometimes… you have to embrace the pain life throws at you, in order to heal; and grow. It is those life moments… that give you the stepping stones you need, to get you to the next stage in your journey!
#noteverydayisagoodday #embraceyourself #emptyyourmind #letgoandletgod #focusonwhatyoucanchange #letthepainmotivateyou Just remember… dont get stuck in the moment…

When is loving you, too much

I have been doing some real soul searching. It is a fine line you walk, loving someone struggling with addiction or mental illness.

The line between self preservation & enabling. This poem, is what we all want, desire, aspire to have in life:

But when do you walk away? Walk away because the longer you love them, the longer you support them, the longer you stay…. You hurt them; by enabling their behavior.

I don’t always know, I search my heart, I pray about it, I truly struggle with doing the right thing, careful to not lay judgement but truly try to understand, see things from their view.

I feel we are at a pass, a crossroads of sorts…

At some point… I have to love myself, more than I love you!

The stress, the worry, the not knowing if you are ok, hurt, sick, or in need of help. It’s just weighing too heavily on my soul; even when I pray.

I pray more for you…. than I do myself!

#sfami #supportingfamiliesofadultmentallyill #addiction #recovery #awareness

Never did I see myself here

Never did I see myself here. This place in life, a waiting room of sorts. I am on the other side of the desk usually. I am the caregiver, the one counseling others, reminding them to set firm boundaries. To role model for their loved ones how life should be.

You took that away from me. You brought me to the other side. The side of worry, fear, stress, angst… You brought me restless nights, endless stressful days.

You weighted down my heart, causing it to tear & break. There is an emptiness now, larger than before. A endless void that causes me to pray, for God to take the heartache away.

I knew better. You cannot open doors from the past. Once you walk through, they are sealed. That window passed. Now I wear a armour of fear around, instead of hope.

I never wanted to be on this side again. I grew up watching the damage it creates. You think by being silent, this will simply go away. You think by ignoring the issues it will resolve itself.

Nothing will change, until you own your lifes choices. Time is running out… Can’t you feel it, slipping through your hands; faster than your heart beats ?

I still carry the burden of HOPE. I carry it around like a rock on my chest. It crushes me little more each time I take a breath. Taking the life out of me.

I never intended to wait, my mind, body, soul got stuck; frozen in time. You have to know how you ripple out into every aspect of my life.

My heart now beats, like a heavy tribal drum. I hear the faint of calling of a war cry…

*thumb*… *thumb*…, … *thumb*

It’s harder to breathe, each day passing. I am here…

Waiting…

Pacing…

My mind clouded with fear, worry, & stress.

*thumb*… *thumb*…, … *thumb*

There is another tightening in my chest…

*thumb*… *thumb*…, … *thumb*

I keep looking, searching, praying,

It’s harder to breathe…. the weight is crushing me from the inside out…

*thumb*… *thumb*…, … *thumb*

I never intended to be on this side of things…

I never thought I would fall into this quicksand.

It’s pulling me down… each breath I take, sinking me down little more…

*thumb*… *thumb*…, … *thumb*

It’s harder to breathe!

I feel my heart being ripped to shreds…

The pain is so intense….

*thumb*… *thumb*…, … *thumb*

I NEVER thought I would be on this side of things…

Down on my knees… Begging God please, keep him safe… another night!

*thumb*… *thumb*…, … *thumb*

*thumb*…

*thumb*…, … *thumb*

It’s too heavy… I can’t keep pacing, the waitroom is suffocating….

I never thought… I would be here…

Praying…

Waiting…

Praying….

Worrying….

My heart can’t take it….

…. … …

I can’t watch you self destruct, I can’t stay in this waiting room, any longer…

I can’t breathe!

… … … _________

Life… is a gift, a blessing to be cherished. I can’t stay in this waiting room any longer….

Waiting for you, to realize…. You need help!

I have to Breathe!

#sfami #supportingfamiliesofadultmentallyill #addiction #familysupportgroup #recovery #awareness

http://www.sfami.net

Prove them wrong

I love this!

I soo can relate. In middle school , I was pretty much told by my guidance counselor, I needed a trade, college would not be for me. My teachers felt I didn’t pay attention , I was a day dreamer in class…

By high school, I struggled with reading comprehension, testing… Teachers literally assumed, I wasn’t trying. No one noticed, I was writing backwards, inverting words & letters…. Math was a challenge.

It is funny, you remember clearly the words, expressions of disappointment & disapproval from authority figures growing up. They make you doubt yourself, I was told by yet another guidance counselor, “college is not for you, try trade, he put me in CNA curriculum *…

Best thing could have happened, the structure of the medical field, help me learn. Still struggled with testing.

It wasn’t until I finished nursing school, started college at CVCC, finally… my English teacher, Mrs. Ellen Gross… she noticed. She talked with me, edited my papers, sent me for testing. I wasn’t, stupid, or unmotivated… I was dyslexic & ADD.!

Just knowing that, learning to proofread, slow down, learning some cognitive behavioral techniques; opened up a whole new world for me.

Suddenly a girl that was told by many teachers & guidance counselors that she was a “day dreamer, unfocused, unmotivated, would never go to college”…. Suddenly, college was now just the beginning!

I was determined, no matter how many times someone told me, “you can’t do that”… I was determined to prove them wrong! I believe, I can do anything… I put my mind too!

I have been a nurse for 25 years. I have held many positions, gone back to school, graduated with two B.S. degrees in Psychology, started grad school. I have overcome and achieved more than, I ever thought possible.

NEVER let anyone tell you what your potential is. Only you can determine that!

If you ever doubt it… Just ask me, a girl that once failed English in high school; now 1st Vice President of Virginia Board of Nursing and Co-president of Virginia Association of Community Psychiatric Nurses.

I have surpassed goals, I personally never thought would even be possible for me in life.

#neverstopbelieving!
#provethemwrong
& I still need editing when writing papers!

Sometimes life mimics art…

Sometimes life mimics art…. #feelmuchlikemyart #insomnia #embraceyourself #emptyyourmind #jenzphelps #jenz #mirrorimages

Art has a way of mirroring the artist within…. I often feel that. Painting my emotions just trying to get them out.

Sometimes, you feel too much. You just become numb.

Know your true needs…

Sometimes we can distract ourselves from what is real and focus on what we want…

Our minds have a way of filling in the spaces that distance & silence naturally create.

As human beings, we react often to our desires & our wants; rather than responding to our actual needs.

It is often easier to chase the dream, than live in reality. Hope’s, dreams, desires… these are the things that fuel us, motivate us, drive us.

Reality, truths, actual facts of our circumstances; these are the things that can suppress us, overwhelm us, unmotivate us, & cause us to have doubt & uncertainty, fear.

If we step back, and dare to be honest with ourselves, truly honest… Oftentimes the things we find ourselves fighting so hard for, aren’t truly the things our hearts actually desire. They are far often; our minds idea of what we want.

Hope’s, dreams, wants, wishes, desires….. These are all valuable things to hold on to; if in fact we make certain those Hope’s, dreams, wants, wishes, & desires are truly what our hearts, souls, & minds need!

Never stop Dreaming…. However; make sure your dream, is also a true heart, mind, & soul’s need.