Note: The images in this entry could be triggering.
The activity for this months Expressive Arts Carnival was:
Through drawing, painting or any other visual means, create a self portrait. Please also include a couple of sentences saying what the process was like for you.
Over the years I have done a few self portraits – many of my Polyvore sets are forms of self portraits, although I’m rarely aware of it at the time. So to approach an activity with the intent of creating a self portrait, was oddly intimidating. It’s difficult to portray to the world how you see yourself, when you know that your self image is so twisted. I can see myself as innocent, guilty, fat, thin, ugly, dirty, disgusting, etc all at once.
There is an added layer of confusion, when you see yourself as a reflection of those around you. The most obvious example of this is when I was growing up, I was constantly comparing myself to the sister. She always seemed to be able to garner the attention of the parents that I so desperately wanted. I never seemed to be able to get it though, no matter how much I tried.
So, I entered into this exercise with a great deal of trepidation. I had no idea what I was going to do, until I read back over a couple of blog entries, and spotted my comment about the sister and I both receiving identical dolls with different coloured outfits for Christmas. Then it became fairly easy. Purchasing identical dolls was as simple as going to The Warehouse (Target or Walmart equivalent). But then came the task of creating the difference between the two dolls. In many ways, what I ended up creating was the exact opposite of how we appeared to the outside world… the sister was “the bad one”, who always got into trouble; while I was “the good one”, who always appeared perfect. But with the dolls, I created how we appeared in my mind…
The front doll is the sister, and I’m in the background. She’s looking straight at the camera, getting the attention she deserves; meanwhile, I’m obscured, blurry, looking down, trying to be invisible.
You might be able to tell that I “altered” the doll representing myself. This alteration, is a reflection of how I see myself – as damaged goods.
I was amazed that I was able to damage the doll, and fairly easily. All of the toys I purchase, are left in their packaging, usually with the price still on. I’m not allowed to open or touch them due to how I might contaminate them with my filth. Yet, with these dolls, they were opened and one of them basically destroyed within a very short time. It was cathartic, and slightly disturbing. I now have a damaged doll… I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it.