The activity for this months Expressive Arts Carnival is to:
Write your memoir using only six words and present it as an image.
I’ve been trying out different ideas for this activity for the last few weeks, and I’ve found it a useful tool in helping me to understand where I am in the moment. Each day, I would think of six words which described my day, feelings or experiences, and put them into Wordle to see if I could generate a graphic of what was going on internally for me. In some ways, this exercise is a link between my Polyvore sets, which are a visual representation of my experiences; and this written blog.
Here are a couple that I’ve created over the last week or so…
I was going to submit one of these, but then I clarified with Paul whether the autobiography was to be descriptive words, or a sentence. Strangely enough, he considered an autobiography to be (at least) a sentence **Please note: Paul doesn’t expect a sentence, there was a bit of miscommunication going on**. As it was identified when I reached university that I was unable to tell a complete sentence from an aardvark, I didn’t see this as a huge stumbling block… incomplete sentences are my forte, although they tend to be incoherent, rambling marathons; rather than anything pithy. But grouping random words together with an ellipses thrown in for good luck, seemed doable. Here’s the result:
The first half of the sentence describes how the expectations, needs and wants of others, defined me for so long that I seemed to get lost, and become almost like a puppet… I did my undergraduate degree, not because I enjoyed the subject, but because I got good grades in it. I got married because society expects a woman in her thirties to be married. I stayed silent when I should have screamed, because I didn’t want to hurt or inconvenience others… These are all indicators of my abusive past, and I’m still very much under their influence; therefore the words representing that past are so dominant. But I’m now starting to redefine the distorted self image, even though that redefinition is feeling a little shaky and unsure; as can be seen by the smaller second half of the sentence.
After I completed this activity, and reflected back on it, I could see those old dysfunctions coming through. As you can tell in my descriptive word exercises, I’m feeling quite disconnected from things at the moment, so use the more impersonal “self” instead of “myself”. It’s also a much lighter colour – almost like I’m scared to come forward and be seen/heard. I used the term “redefining” instead of “defining”, to indicate that it’s all a work in progress.
As with all of the Arts Carnival activities, this has helped me understand a little more about myself. It also helped to establish a little bit of reflective connection in an otherwise disjointed month. Even if you don’t submit anything for the Arts carnival, I’d encourage you to give this exercise a try, it’s been interesting seeing how the words changed over time – and noticing which ones have stayed the same.