The theme for this months Expressive Arts Carnival is:
Through drawing, painting, photography or any other visual means, create an image representing your relationship with “safety”.
As I’ve described before, my relationship with safety is tenuous and rather dysfunctional. Allison asked me last week whether I felt safe in her office, I asked her what safe was… This interaction sums up my confusion towards safety. Intellectually I know the definition of safety, but I don’t have a framework to put that experience in for myself. At times, I consider it safe to be in the middle of an open field or park, where I can see if someone is coming to get me. Sometimes I consider it safe at home with all of the windows and doors locked. Other times, I consider it to be safe to be in the middle of an abusive event – there is a sense of having control over the situation. So yes… dysfunctional.
Internally there is little sense of safety. The closest I get to the feeling is when I’m out taking photos, or watching the ocean. This is when I get a sense of calm. The internal noise quietens down, and there is a sense of being. This feeling is rare, and even when I’m doing those things, I don’t always feel it. This highlights for me that safety can only be reached through a combination of factors, but most important are the internal ones. If I can be in exactly the same situation twice, with one time feeling things slowing down, and another time them still racing… it indicates that my reactions are the deciding factor. The problem is trying to establish why there is a different reaction.
I know that trust plays a big part in my feelings towards safety. The ability to trust those around me, and myself. I second guess the motivations of those around me, because I don’t understand that people would want anything to do with me, without wanting something from me. I wish I could say that these are all old feelings, but they’re not. I’m often only sought out at work to fix something for someone, or to do extra work… rarely is it for anything else. Yet, I also know that I encourage this sort of impersonal interaction… if the “go away” neon sign above my head was any bigger, it would topple over into the razor wire topped concrete wall that surrounds me. Yet, I still don’t feel safe inside my wall…
This is why I keep on doing the difficult work of healing.
This is why my entry into this months carnival is menacing, rather than optimistic. Safety feels like some out of reach ideal that only happens to good people…