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Welcome to the Expressive Arts Carnival! My apologies for being late to publish the entries. The March 2012 theme, see announcement, was to "make a simple shape on the page that represents a core belief that holds you back. Then draw (using the same pencil) around the first shape to represent support for change of that core belief."

Here are the entries in the order received.

Entry 1: Alice

New contributor Alice wrote: "The core belief that holds me back is the belief in innocence, or the belief that I'm not innocent anyway."

Entry 2: Algo4ME4Once

Algo4ME4Once titled her entry "Helping Arms/Hands" and wrote: "In Greek Mythology, Apollo tried to carry the weight of so much, that he fell apart. I recently got compared to Apollo, in that I carry the weights' of our human world on my shoulders', taking it all on, and it is one reason my body is even collapsing physically, so often. Sometimes I feel if I did not, then who would, not that I choose, it feels as if it just happens because I am human and really care a great deal about humanity. "

Entry 3: Wantstorun

Wantstorun wrote: "The central figure is a graphic "W."  A core belief we have is that we are *&^%#@.  Ways we are working to change that core belief are: Reminding ourselves of the present time; looking to our inner children, because don't consider the Littles to be *&^%#@; some use faith, and the acceptance we receive through the church; and we try to continue educating ourselves about trauma, PTSD, DID, and so on."

Entry 4: Castorgirl

Castorgirl wrote: "I started this drawing with the intent of showing how my feeling of standing on the outside of society, or being a "square peg" could be supported so that I could feel more included.  But, this seemed to morph into a piece which showed the highly defensive space that I'm in at the moment."

Entry 5: Paul

Paul (me) wrote: "I guess I put up the prompt knowing what I wanted to do. This is what I struggle with. The core belief is that I am worthless. The circles and curves are meant to help change that belief. It was all about process and intention."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed, especially those of you who are new. Thanks for taking a chance! If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Carnival will now be on a bi-monthly schedule. Our next activity will be posted on or around May 1.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every other month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. If you are interested in the carnival and want to be notified of activity postings, please send an email to paul@mindparts.org.

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Welcome to the January 2012 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival, back after a bit of a hiatus! This month's theme, see announcement, was to "create an image that represents a major obstacle facing you now."

Here are the entries in the order received.

Entry 1: CimmerianInk - blog

CimmerianInk wrote: "For me it was very important to have a wall visually that separates the me who is looking for answers, from the me that's fragmented and full of doubts. It feels like my mind is the obstacle that I'm up against."

Entry 2: JustEliza

JustEliza wrote: "Not a child, Not a mother, Not a life."

Entry 3: Laura

New contributor Laura wrote: "I drew this while I was in the hospital recently, as a response to the same prompt about a major obstacle. Right now I am deeply struggling with how to bring myself—my very, very complicated and terrifying self—into therapy. It feels as if there is literally not room for all of the things I am experiencing and remembering in a 50 minute hour twice a week. Although I have been working with my therapist for several years, I am afraid that she has no idea what is coming. How can I navigate therapy as an adult when I feel so broken and out of control?"

Entry 4: Kerro

Kerro wrote: "I've been facing some challenges at work lately, and this photo I took over the Christmas break seems to capture those nicely, in a couple of different ways. First, there's a sort of literal representation. I work in a building that's around the same vintage as this one, so there's a physical resemblance to my place of work. Second, there's a more metaphorical representation in that the building seems dark and gloomy, with the spire towering over me—all of it with the stormy sky, almost a sign, foreboding. I've been feeling this way about work for a few weeks now. It's really challenging me not to be afraid of work and what will happen there. Challenging every healed (and unhealed) fibre of my being to walk in there every day."

Entry 5: Castorgirl

Castorgirl wrote: "My thought patterns have become my greatest obstacle, resulting in an inability to speak up for myself, looking for any excuse to put myself down, and within my disordered eating habits.  I know that these are all symptoms of an underlying cause or motivation, but the scream of these symptoms is so loud, it's now impossible to see what is behind it.  So my scream, as represented by this abstract photograph, is my obstacle."

Entry 6: Bay - blog

Entry 7: Wantstorun

Wantstorun wrote: "I My mind definitely responds in a logical manner, and my mind definitely responds in an emotional manner.  I struggle a lot to get my emotions to match up with logic, or vice versa.  It is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole."

Entry 8: Paul

Paul (me) wrote: "The result of such complete focus on the "left camp" lead to huge jealousy and anger from the right camp, and that lead to a serious lack of safety. The obstacle, for me, is getting some communication and collaboration over that divide and over that bridge. The path is the art. The expression."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed, especially those of you who are new. Thanks for taking a chance! If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Carnival will now be on a bi-monthly schedule. Our next activity will be posted on or around March 1.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every other month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. If you are interested in the carnival and want to be notified of activity postings, please send an email to paul@mindparts.org.

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Welcome to the September 2011 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival. This month's theme, see announcement, was to "create an image that incorporates your personal hopes and dreams."

Here are the entries in the order received.

Entry 1: Castorgirl

Castorgirl titled this piece 'Aspirations' and wrote: "I'm not sure why, but I found this activity really easy to do.  This, of course, makes me incredibly suspicious... did I not think it through properly... did I focus too much on the happy, cheery aspect of it all... did I do the exercise when so dissociated, that it will make no sense in an hour/day/week... That sort of self-doubt is the kind of thing that I hope to one day not live with so strongly.  My ultimate hope... to be able to look people in the eye, with a smile on my face, and without the need to dissociate in order to accomplish this.  Because, if I can do that, then I will have confidence and a sense of self-worth, and I won't be living under the cloud of shame that envelopes me and directs so many of my actions."

Entry 2: Algo4ME4Once

Algo4ME4Once titled this piece 'Bitterness taking Plight' and wrote: "It is in hopes once I am medically stabilized and further along in terms of developmental issues, that learning what I need to and reaching more milestones will allow me to finally get what need to from traumas, and not internalise so much. My dream right now is to just get to the next stage, where I can get angry at them, not me."

Entry 3: Releasing Lunacy

New contributor Releasing Lunacy wrote: "Hope is the cruelest of monsters. Hopes. Dreams. I no longer hope or dream. It only adds to the suffering. I pray for the health of my family. I pray I outlive my parents to save them the heartache of burying their first born. I pray my death is swift and I am a burden to no one. I do not entertain hopes or dreams in my heart or mind."

Entry 4: Kerro

Kerro wrote: "I have blogged on this theme too many times to count! It felt too tedious to recreate any of these posts or images here, so I did something slightly different.This is a photo I took on one of my travels. Travel continues to be one of my hopes and dreams, but that isn't the point. For me, the point is to remember that attaining my hopes and dreams as a pathway, a journey. It's not always easy; in fact sometimes it's downright difficult. But if I keep working at it, even one step at a time, then one day I'll (probably) get there." "

Entry 5: Paul

Paul (me) wrote: "So, my hope and dream is for my life to be more representative of this image. That there be collaboration. That parts support other parts. That on the macro scale it is one. But on the micro scale it is many. That each part is different yet has similarities to others. And so on."

Entry 6: Bay

Bay wrote: "Our hopes and dreams seem to be closely connected to loss. We dream for a friend, a partner, a family, a son or daughter and a comfortable relationship with our brother. And in expressing those dreams we realize how all but one seem like an impossibility and even that one seems so difficult."

Entry 7: Wantstorun

Wantstorun wrote: "In the future, I see myself as being more appreciative of my mind, rather than feeling tortured by it; I hope to have found my balance in a smooth, calm place.  I hope to have cleared my mind of some deadwood, so that I have more room for light, peace and happiness.  I want to be sweet, strong, protected, colorful and sharp, to feel like I am free to fly without being caught up from the times of the past."

Entry 8: Andréa

Andréa wrote: "Working on this gave me hope.  While I lived at home with the abuse, I always clung to the hope and knowledge that things would get better.  When I went to college, and was sexually assaulted by a pastor, that hope seemed to be ripped away from me.  This exercise helps me remember that hope, and how much it has helped me to survive."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed, especially those of you who are new. Thanks for taking a chance! If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. Please consider emailing to paul@mindparts.org to be added to our anonymous mailing list for announcements and occasional discussions.

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Welcome to the July 2011 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival. This month's theme, see announcement, was to write about someone who has taught you something about healing and select three words to send to the carnival along with a color. I took all your submissions and made a word cloud using Wordle.

Here is the result of the combined contributions of 11 entries (33 words) presented as one image in rough alphabetical order to reveal similar words (i.e., most word roots are unique except for 'accept' which appears four times and 'healing' and 'understand' each appearing twice).

You can click on the image for a higher resolution version.

Contributors whose names are linked have a blog post on this activity. Here is the list in the order they were received:

  • Castorgirl wrote: "This was a difficult exercise.  When I tried to think of someone positive, my mind went blank.  Then, as I described the safe hug that the person I chose gave me, I cried.  But it was a healing thing to do... to remember those times of positivity that kept me going."

  • Payton, a new contributor, wrote: "This experience was a really helpful way to focus on some of the gifts that I have been given for this healing journey. Sometimes, in the throws of intense therapy work, it's easy to get lost in the exhaustion and pain. Thanks for this great way to thank my therapist for the many great lessons I have learned from her!"

  • Haven, blog, wrote: "These words come from a poem I wrote about my father who is the only hero I've ever had."

  • Kylie wrote: "This project really made me consider all those who have helped me and continue to do so, all the people I am so grateful for. I think it can be really easy to get stuck into how hard things are and focus on the hurt, and this can mean you overlook the people around you and you forget to show your gratitude."

  • Just Eliza, blog, a new contributor, wrote: "This exercise was meaningful because my therapist and I are facing our last sessions together. I have been reflecting on what I brought to therapy (hope), what she taught me (being kind), and ultimately what we achieved together: learning to value and express my authentic self."

  • Bay wrote: "This month's exercise was actually a really big one for us. It wasn't hard to decide who to write about, but once we started writing we started to wonder about sharing our blog with this person. We have done, and in doing so have allowed our 3D and online worlds to touch for the first time. So far, nothing terrible has happened."

  • Wantstorun wrote: "We did a modified version and came up with three words that are characteristics we want to have in an individual who helps us with our healing, or is otherwise inspirational.  My other modification was to put the words in "code" (more formally known as windings font)." When I replied back to her that I had received it, my mail converted the font to reveal the words. She took this as a sign that the non-coded words should be included.

  • Andrea, a new contributor.

  • Kerro

  • Algo4Me4Once wrote: "This entry I found particularly difficult because having been through a lot medically this month, it also increased my over-load emotionally. Also, got "stuck" when asked to pick one person because in reality, it has been many. I chose 'Healing' because it is what I am trying to do, ever so slowly, but not giving up, one moment at a time, even in the midst of chaos or when silent! I chose 'Movement' without movement I would be literally stuck. I chose 'Love' because without learning to love me, I feel the journey would not be able to be taken."

  • Paul wrote: "This exercise was helpful in allowing me to get to more stable ground."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed, especially those of you who are new. Thanks for taking a chance! If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. Please consider emailing to paul@mindparts.org to be added to our anonymous mailing list for announcements and occasional discussions.

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Welcome to the June 2011 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival. This month's theme, see announcement, was to "create an image about how you are feeling in the moment."

This month's activity came from contributor Bay. Thank you Bay!

Here are the entries in the order received.

Entry 1: Haven - blog

New contributor Haven titled this acrylic piece "Red Sky Dawns", and wrote: "I knew what I wanted the figure to be but the colors and the scenery were an exploration in emotive coloring. The environment raw, almost angry. Her skin white and bare. Dancing faerie, allowing herself to be free to move as she sees fit at the dawn of a new day though she is in a place that is a little desolate and too exposed."

Entry 2: Algo4ME4Once

New contributor Algo4ME4Once titled this piece "Inner Child Flag" and wrote: "I may feel she deserves to "Burn in Hell" forever and ever, and even though I intellectually know she does not, I still need that 'external validation.'  Sad, but true. So I ask of you: does she really? If she was but a child trying to survive in a world that was and still is a mystery. So I suppose I reach out in need to be validated that no, it should not hurt to be a child and no, I did/do not deserve to burn in Hell, even now. I am allowed to make mistakes because in the mistakes there is born an imperfectly perfect human being!"

Entry 3: Tai

Tai wrote: "At this moment, I want to scream but I can't. I want to cry, but I don't, it's not allowed. So... here I am, like this."

Entry 4: Wantstorun

Wantstorun wrote: "This painting holds/represents a lot of emotions.  It was created in the T's office by one of mine who wanted to 'tell without talking.'  Some imagery was painted representing trauma from the past, and then the T and I scraped off the paint used for that imagery in an effort to be rid of it.  We then painted over it to create something new; something better.  I think there is fear, grief, confusion and sadness underneath.  I think there is relief and hope showing now... even though it doesn't completely cover the underlying emotions/feelings.  It is progress."

Entry 5: ClinicallyClueless - blog

ClinicallyClueless created this on slimber.com and wrote: "As I looked at what I did, I realized that I've been feeling a bit anxious and hypervigilant lately.  Not sure why, but my drawing spoke that to me."

Entry 6: Paul

I wrote: "It incorporates 'colors' that identify with different aspects of myself and attempts to blend them. In all honesty, this is not an image about feeling as much as it was an image about just doing some kind of art without much overlay of thinking."

Entry 7: Catherine - blog

Catherine wrote: "I am exploring truth and memory at the moment. If I don't speak my truths, as I remember them, this darkness stays in my heart. I feel caught in the memories. They threaten to overtake me. As long as I keep speaking I can keep the darkness away."

Entry 8: Ivory - blog

Ivory wrote: "This is a picture of me. I have cluster headaches and for the last month, I've had what is like a migraine that takes days to turn bad, and days again to lessen. I've reached the breaking point and this is what I feel like."

Entry 9: Sanity is Knocking - blog

Sanity if Knocking wrote: "I was not confident that I could contribute this month as I have a hard time explaining or expression how I feel "in the moment". I usually decipher later, how was feeling at a particular time. Today was different though. I felt anger and tried to find a way that I could best express it through photography. What was I angry about? My extended family ate my left over tacos! Can't they eat their own food?!"

Entry 10: Bay

Bay wrote: "We did several things this month just to express the way we were feeling at that moment, so me made a little collage of them. Interesting to put them together, which is not something I've done before."

Entry 11: Castorgirl - blog

Castorgirl wrote: "I struggled with this exercise, purely because of my internal disconnect.  I'm not sure what this represents, if anything.  There was a need to use crayons, and also for the circles - which is in contrast to when I tried this exercise yesterday, and all I could draw was squares."

Entry 12: Kerro

Kerro wrote: "In my last post I used a photo to represent how I was feeling. That blurring, whizzing, frantic pace of thoughts was in the moment. It was funny, actually, doing this activity; I thought about it a lot over the month, and how I'd represent how I was feeling at different moments. If I was to choose another image to represent how I'm feeling today, I'd go with this one. I can't take credit for these images, though I do take credit for connecting them to my feelings. Sometimes that's a giant leap forward for survivors."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed, especially those of you who are new. Thanks for taking a chance! If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. Please consider emailing to paul@mindparts.org to be added to our anonymous mailing list for announcements and occasional discussions.

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Welcome to the May 2011 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival. This month's theme, see announcement, was to "create an image about mechanisms you have used to cope when you thought you could not."

This month's activity came from contributor Kerro. Thank you Kerro! She made a blog post with her submission talking about how she came up with the idea and how her coping has evolved. You can read her post at: Expressive Arts Carnival 11 - Coping (at Kerro's Korner).

Here are the entries in the order received. Only if there is a blog or a post to accompany the entry, the artist's name will have a link to it.

Entry 1: Tai

Tai wrote: "I use fantasy all of the time to escape my life and sometimes it's how I get through something that seems unendurable. Of course many times, I end up in the hospital so I could have done that as well."

Entry 2: Catherine

Catherine wrote: "I have been cutting as a way of coping since I was 13. I started when my life felt out of control. I like having at least a little bit of control over my body. Later I came to love my scars. I felt that they were the only way I could show how much pain I was in. Now I write on my arms instead of cutting. I tell myself 'you are safe now.' I am learning to express myself in words and art instead of scars. It feels good."

Entry 3: Wantstorun

Wantstorun wrote: "Ways I use to cope include: Imagining myself not falling to pieces in a time of crisis, but remaining put together; counting/writing out numbers, because I have been told that the most intense of feelings can only be sustained for a maximum of 10 minutes, so I will literally sit and count/write out numbers 1 through 600 to get through those 10 minutes; I will try to imagine soothing colors about me, to calm myself down."

Entry 4: Kerro

Kerro wrote: "I wanted to capture not just the range of things I've done to cope, but the progression in them as well. When I first started out on my healing journey I turned most often to those maladaptive strategies I'd used in the past - cutting, getting drunk, etc. As my healing progressed, I became more able to seek out things that weren't just about "coping" but also about soothing and helping myself. I've used a spiral to represent this, as many times I returned to the old ways of coping, though less so as time has gone on."

Entry 5: Castorgirl

Castorgirl wrote: "Last year I underwent a psychiatric assessment to determine my level of impairment.  I knew that this was probably going to be difficult, so put in place some safety plans ahead of time.  One of those plans was a trip to the beach.  The emotions stirred up by the assessment were intense.  After a particularly difficult night, I forced myself to pick up my camera and go for a walk.  This photo is one I took while on that walk.  It's not my best photo, and if I'd been more present, I would have chosen a different angle and camera setting. But as it is, the photo shows my attempts to connect to the environment around me."

Entry 6: Kylie

Kylie wrote: "For me, losing myself in music has helped me cope with so much. I often find music that reflects my mood. Drawing to is another way for me to cope, I actually drew this one night when I was not feeling very good. Music and drawing have become my two biggest sanctuaries."

Entry 7: Bay

Bay wrote: "Just some of the things we use to cope, some of them healthier than others. Like to think we use more of the healthier ones these days, though I have to admit, when things get bad they're hard to see and it's the unhealthy ones that have the power to keep us from falling over the edge."

Entry 8: Paul

I wrote: "There is a particular image that I tend to draw or paint that helps me reconnect. They are all variants of showing many colors as a patch quilt of sorts. This is what I did last night. I represent parts of me as colors, and sort of take a "snapshot" of where all of me is. It is sort of like a check-in. I find it helps in the moment. We will see if it does longer term."

Entry 9: Leslie (blog)

Leslie wrote: "The doll is from my childhood. I chose her because she represents how fragile I feel some..ah...most of the time these day. As I pondered this project, I realized that writing (either journaling or blogging) has been my main coping mechanism. The color red in the dress, the pen and the background represent the pain that I am trying to free myself of by writing."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed, especially those of you who are new. Thanks for taking a chance! If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. Please consider emailing to paul@mindparts.org to be added to our anonymous mailing list for announcements and occasional discussions.

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Welcome to the April 2011 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival. This month's theme, see announcement, was to "create an image representing your relationship with safety."

It is my policy to not comment on art in the Carnival itself. This is why we have the words of the artists themselves, if they choose, talking about their entries. But certainly if discussions ensue in the comments, I am happy to talk about the art in any way that is appropriate and encourage others to do so.

Here are the entries in the order received. Only if there is a blog or a post to accompany the entry, the artist's name will have a link to it.

Entry 1: Castorgirl

Castorgirl wrote: "I have a tenuous relationship with safety - it feels like some out of reach ideal that only happens to good people.  This is why my image is more menacing than optimistic.  I struggle to understand what safety means, and that I could be deserving of it."

Entry 2: Kerro

Kerro wrote: "When I took this photo I was deeply afraid of the dark and particularly the city at night. The dark, the people, the crowds, the noises, the lights... it all triggered me. And yet I was drawn to it as well, longing to walk the streets taking photos rather than taking them from the safety of a hotel room high in the sky. A few months after this photo was taken I was walking in town one night when I realised I wasn't afraid any more. Sure, the people were still there, the crowds, the noises... it was all the same, but I felt safe. Safer than I had ever felt before. I've represented this healing aspect with the splash of colour. I still get freaked by the dark sometimes. City crowds and noises are still an easy trigger, but I'm hoping my splash of colour will spread. The splash - and the contrast with the black and white - also represents the tenuous grip that I and many survivors have with safety. Sometimes we feel safe, and others we don't - even in the same situations. Sometimes we turn to the darkness to create safety in ways that aren't safe at all, but that we can at least control."

Entry 3: Shen

Shen wrote: "Recently, I've been protecting an eight-year-old part of me. Actually this has been going on for months, but so certain was I that I needed to keep protecting the eight-year-old, I haven't written about it on my blog and I couldn't tell C (my therapist). Two nights ago, with great anxiety, I finally told C what was going on... and soon afterwards I realized that the eight-year-old didn't need my protection at all.  That's what this image is about. I first started it before I told C, and at that time I had the wall all the way around the figure in the middle. When I finished it tonight, I realized the wall didn't need to be quite so restraining. Maybe, in time, I will be able to let all the parts of me be free to be who they are, without so much control."

Entry 4: Sanity is Knocking

Sanity wrote: "The first thing I thought of was my response to a discussion my therapist and I were having about opening up and being more vulnerable. I said I could do it if he put me in a cardboard box! I was half serious as being contained like that would feel more safe than having someone constantly reading every body movement. I think I could be a lot more open if I could hide."

Entry 5: Tai

Tai wrote: "This is about choices and sometimes about inevitability, both choices are hard and both come with emotional consequences for me. You would think that the woman on the right would look happy because she represents choosing not to self-harm , but I have to be honest and acknowledge that there's a unique kind of pain from not giving in too."

Entry 6: Shades of Ivory

Ivory wrote: "T Water. Slow, lazy water. That is what makes me feel safe. I'm drawn to water and the sound of water, but not just any water. Not the surf, or a rushing river, but slow water, lapping at small pebbles along the shore, or the silent sound of waveless water. Also, as in this picture, there are few colors, which is soothing to me because I'm often overwhelmed with the emotion of too much color and/or too much sound. Guess what live wallpaper is on my Thunderbolt?"

Entry 7: Bay

Bay titled this piece "The Price of Safety" and wrote: "Throughout our life finding safety has been a matter of building a wall around us, when we've tried to let people in we seem to choose the wrong ones, so best build a good, strong wall. Right now we feel safe in our little world, but also very lonely. The challenge now is to learn how to open that little door and let others in while somehow maintaining that feeling of safety."

Entry 8: thequietone

thequietone wrote: "What safety means to me: The word safety brings on sadness to me.  It is a fragile state that is so easily broken if put in the wrong hands.  For many years I couldn't comprehend what the word "safe" meant.  Safe for me was to keep everything inside, put up huge walls and not let anyone in.  It was a matter of time before that stopped working of course and when that happened I was on a new quest to learn all about this elusive word."

Entry 9: Leslie

Leslie wrote: "A child's home should be a protection and a shelter from the storms of life, much like an umbrella protects and shelters us from storms.  For us survivors, too often our homes were like the umbrella in this picture...broken not providing any protection at all.  Thus safety is a concept that is hard for me to trust in. My son helped me to look at this in a new was."

Entry 10: wantstorun

wantstorun wrote: "The text says: 'Safety is the state of being 'safe,' the condition of being protected against physical, social, spiritual, emotional, financial, political, occupational, phychological, or other types of consequences of failure, damage, error, accidents, harm or any other event which could be defined to be the control of recognized hazards to achieve an acceptable level of risk.  This can take the form of being protected from an event that causes loss; can include protection of people or possessions.'  I used 'magic paper' for this project, paper that is black on the surface, until parts are scratched away to reveal the rainbow of colors underneath.  It is symbolic of my system, because while I see the beauty of my system, it is much safer for us that it remains hidden/unseen.  I cut the paper into the shape of my vehicle, which is one of my safe places in the 3-D world."

Entry 11: OneSurvivor; see Blog Post 1, Blog Post 2, and Blog Post 3

OneSurvivor wrote: "It was really difficult for me to get into things this month. The theme was ironic... safety. It was due on my birthday which is the anniversary of my sister's death, which was likely cult related. When things finally started to come together for me on this, I ended up with three pieces. Each one expresses something a bit different about safety, while sharing a similar theme at the same time. Namely, that my safety is in Yahweh. Although I don't really have a 'favorite' or think that one expresses safety better than another, it is the third one that speaks to me the most. I feel as if it has the strongest message. Or perhaps it is because it speaks the most of healing. I don't know."

Entry 12: Paul

Paul wrote: "This is a picture of my bedroom now. The chair was one of a pair that my Nana and Papa sat in every night in their own bedroom while watching television together. It is my safe chair. In the background are three paintings my Papa made. It is probably the safest spot on the planet."

Entry 13: ClinicallyClueless

Safety...what a vast topic, but safety within is difficult to achieve when one has been abused.

My sense of safety was broken
By the hands that were supposed to teach me to be open

To others and myself I built numerous walls and defenses
Of the real me only I let other and I see glimpses

The world to me all seems threatening and a place to fear
Everything begins to seem unclear

So many parts of me escaping reality
Escaping into myself I vow to be

I will go underground where no one will find me
The real me inside aching for someone to see

They have seen too much I feel threatened
Push away as I tell myself to always approach with caution

I don't really want to know who I am
As I am ashamed and I don't give a damn

A world of lies and distorted truth I learned to live
Now, I need to learn to live in reality and not be so passive

For I am not small and childlike compared to the world
I am just as large and want to be seen and heard

However, my first instinct is to hide
For my safety lays in deep inside

No one, not even me will ever see
My plea to just be

A false sense of safety is what I need to take down
At times, this makes me feel like I'm headed for a breakdown

Safety always comes from a sense of self and worth
And not from things and others even the one who gave you birth

Safety it not around me
For it is something within

Safety does not equal control
Although I keep trying to make it so

Control is an illusion and it doesn't work
It never makes you safe in reality

ClinicallyClueless wrote: "Ironically, safety is an issue that I have actually been talking about in therapy and how my defenses keep others out and even myself from facing reality. However, it keeps both 'good' and 'bad' out of reach. I have difficulty with relationships, letting others near, forming attachments, keep living in my world or should and must, live in a world of self hatred and self judgment. All it was once a way to cope now it is problematic as an adult. In keeping reality and these feelings at bay, I also have difficulty feeling love, happiness, accepting reality and moving on to just being able to be me."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed, especially those of you who are new. Thanks for taking a chance! If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. Please consider emailing to paul@mindparts.org to be added to our anonymous mailing list for announcements and occasional discussions.

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Welcome to the March 2011 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival. This month's theme, see announcement, was to "write your memoir in six words."

It is my policy to not comment on art in the Carnival itself. This is why we have the words of the artists themselves, if they choose, talking about their entries. But certainly if discussions ensue in the comments, I am happy to talk about the art in any way that's appropriate and encourage others to do so.

Here are the entries in the order received. If there is a blog or a post with more details, the artist's name will have a link to it.

Entry 1: Tai

Entry 2: ClinicallyClueless

Entry 3: Shen

Entry 4: Kathleen

Kathleen wrote: "My six words were chosen quite spontaneously and without edit. I was thinking of things that have 'gotten me through.'  They are things that I consistently rely on to make my way through my days, weeks, months when so often I feel a sense of overwhelming chaos inside. I am proud of these things. These words are empowered and empower me. I came to language late in life and hated words at first. Now I find comfort in seeing written words of power and hope. I like to see singular words-with no context. That is sometimes when I feel they are at their most powerful; hold the most potential and flexibility."

Entry 5: Ivory

Ivory wrote: "I have climbed many emotional hills, only to crash to the bottom of a devastating valley. I believe, though, that as I'm working on issues and learning coping skills, the speed bumps and valleys are beginning to level out!"

Entry 6: Sanity is Knocking

Entry 7: Tales of a Crazy Psych Major

Entry 8: Kerro

Entry 9: Kylie

Kylie wrote: "I think this came to me partly out of the frustration of how much the past influences my life now. But it is also a huge statement of how far I have come, at least to me. For me, this image as well as the statement holds so much hope."

Entry 10: Wantstorun

Entry 11: OneSurvivor

Entry 12: Manymes

Entry 13: Tracie

Entry 14: Beth

Entry 15: Paul

Entry 16: Castorgirl

Castorgirl wrote: "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. These are 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."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed, especially those of you who are new. Thanks for taking a chance! If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. Please consider emailing to paul@mindparts.org to be added to our anonymous mailing list for announcements and occasional discussions.

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Welcome to the February 2011 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival. This month's theme, see announcement, was to "create an image of your truth."

It is my policy to not comment on art in the Carnival itself, as I feel as though it is not my place to put words to others' art, especially healing art. This is why it is the words of the artists themselves talking about their entries. But certainly if discussions ensue in the comments, I am happy to talk about the art in any way that's appropriate and encourage others to do so.

Here are the entries in the order received. As usual, if there is a blog post with more details, the artist's name will have a link to it.

Entry 1: Kerro

Kerro wrote: "This is the place I went to when my life started 'falling apart'. It's the place where I started uncovering my 'truth' - peeling back the layers on my onion of abuse. It's also the place where I started discovering who I am, and the place where I started healing. I love this place because of its physical beauty, but also because of what it represents to me. It is my spiritual home."

Entry 2: Katie

Katie wrote: "The images I chose to make this collage represent truth for me in a number of ways. How scary it can be to speak the truth. The power of writing. Connecting with the truth as an ongoing process. My tendency towards black and white thinking and my need to step back and see the bigger picture. The truth in my dreams. The importance of emotional truth and confronting pain. The light that each of us has to share in this world, and the power of each person to survive and even flourish no matter our circumstances. Finally, I thought that it would be most truthful of me to choose an actual photo from my life to incorporate in this piece, so the central photo is one I took of an Oklahoma road. As driving along the country roads is something that brings me peace and helps me feel connected."

Entry 3: Castorgirl

Castorgirl titled this piece "What's my Truth?" and wrote: "The upper part of the collage represents how each of us is inundated with messages about what is true from those around us.  It can feel like you're being buffeted in a storm.  The reflected picture underneath represents what is possible when we can hold onto our truth.  The figure isn't happy, but there is a sense of reality about her reactions.  What is the truth?  I still don't know.  But it doesn't come from the external messages, it comes from within."

Entry 4: Kylie

Kylie wrote: "Truth is largely influenced by perspective, it's probably why two eye-witnesses will never give the exact same story. Each person sees things a little differently. The way a person is feeling a the time can change it too."

Entry 5: Tracy

Tracy wrote: "The DID Awareness Ribbon that came about through an online group Paul was involved in a couple years ago means a lot to me.  The pieces are patchworked together.  I see this as my parts eventually joining together and having communication amongst themselves.  When I was facing the prospect of losing my therapist, I used the ribbon as the inspiration for a quilt.  The statement I gave my therapist was, "The DID Awareness Ribbon Quilt.  Up close it's rough, raw edges doesn't look all that good.  From a distance, it looks much better.  A person with DID is like the quilt, seems fine to outsiders, but the closer you get to that person, the more you see their struggles and difficulties."  My truth is that others can't see or appreciate the depth of my struggles.  Those close to me only see the tip of the iceberg.  A few of my parts really enjoy sewing.   Making the quilt, my first, was cathartic.  I could see that I would get to the point of communication.  That each part overlapped others and that really all my parts were, deep down, connected in some way.  I am working to learn how all my parts relate to me and how we are all connected."

Entry 6: Thesamesky

Thesamesky wrote: "I wasn't going to enter anything this time round because I wasn't sure that I could come up with anything on truth, but when you sent a reminder I thought about the piece I did just recently and I suppose in a way it is portraying my truth because it is about beginning to take hold of a new position, believing that I'm good enough and relating differently to others (my therapist in particular)."

Entry 7: OneSurvivor

OneSurvivor wrote: "My Truth 1 (I did this first) and My Truth 2 (I did this second). I am not sure how to explain them. It is what came to mind as I thought about my life. I know there is significance to the colors, but, right now... it feels very private... like something I need to hold in my heart for a while."

Entry 8: Paul

I wrote: "This is about people helping me as well as me helping others and myself. The truth part of it is that 'I'm good'."

Entry 9: Kathleen

Kathleen titled this piece "Violations of Truth" and wrote: "In this piece I was thinking about violations of truth-political truths social truths personal truths; I immediately thought about the phrase 'the elephant in the room' that is so large and no one at all is willing to acknowledge it.  There were so many people willing to actively look away and denouce my truth about violations against me even when it was so actively and publically displayed. It is so sad/painful for me personally and yet so pervasive across cultures and time and played out on grand stages in front of masses of people. I am now more equipped to hold my own truth and even my adolecent parts are learning to do the same."

Entry 10: Wantstorun

Wantstorun wrote: "The jumbled letters of truth represent how the concept of 'truth' is confusing to me; I have many questions surrounding truth.  But 'hurt' is spelled out from the mixed up letters of hidden 'truth.'"

Entry 12: ClinicallyClueless

ClinicallyClueless submitted a YouTube video and wrote: "This is a pictorial personal description of the truth of my childhood of abuse and trauma. I have been and am currently in therapy to address these issues. If you work hard in therapy, find a good match and don't give up, you can get better. Hang in there. Thank you for viewing my slideshow. Christian music is added as I have always, no matter what felt God's hand on my life."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed. If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. Please consider emailing to paul@mindparts.org to be added to our anonymous mailing list for announcements and occasional discussions.

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Welcome to the January 2011 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival. This month's theme, see announcement, was to "create a self portrait."

It is my policy to not comment on art in the Carnival itself, as I feel as though it is not my place to put words to others' art, especially healing art. This is why it is the words of the artists themselves talking about their entries. But certainly if discussions ensue in the comments, I am happy to talk about the art in any way that's appropriate and encourage others to do so.

This month, the Carnival is also viewable as a slideshow presentation. Please visit:

Expressive Arts Carnival No. 7 Slideshow Presentation

You must have a Flash or HTML5-enabled browser. There is a menu bar at the bottom. Click the icon on the right to enter (or leave) the high resolution fullscreen mode. Click the left "play" button to start the show.


For a more traditional view, here are the entries in the order received. As usual, if there is a blog post with more details, the artist's name will have a link to it.

Entry 1: Shen

Shen wrote: "I did the drawing series this morning as a distraction. I was hoping to head off this depression, but no such luck. It's taking hold very strongly, a reaction both to the latest outburst from my father, and to the integration of an eight-year-old who never knew my sister actually left. She's grieving, I guess... and I guess that means I am as well."

Entry 2: Castorgirl

Castorgirl wrote: "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."

Entry 3: Holly

Holly wrote: "Creating this self portrait helped illuminate for me why I feel so unseen. Everything people find interesting or special about me belongs to other parts of my system. Without them, I am a blank slate, invisible."

Entry 4: Ivory

Ivory wrote: "This picture tells a story. At times, I feel like a puppet, broken. Even so, there is no one controlling the strings, leaving me helpless, too. While my emotions are often twirling, the rest of me is rigid and stagnate. All too often, I find myself unable to move forward, yet there is no one and nothing in my way. It was drawn in a PTSD flashback during a class on abnormal psychology. The instructor was talking about how when a person is diagnosed with DID, he/she is immediately taken to a "facility" best equipped to handle "that kind of thing." The year was 2006. That lecture was deeply disturbing and I don't remember actually drawing the stick man, but I remember thinking that I was very broken. I didn't realize until after the daily 4 hour class that instead of taking notes, an alter had drawn how she was feeling, the way "he" was making her think about herself.  The picture is hand drawn, then scanned and put into PaintShop Pro X. I added some brown chalk coloring  for fill in and then I believe I used the "Artistic Effects" of Contours."

Entry 5: Nansie

Nansie wrote: "This was me at 5 years old on my first grade picture. I was already a shell of a person and the bubbles around me represent the parts of me that had already become separate. They are all around me at their earliest beginnings."

Entry 6: Katie

Katie wrote: "Though initially I was reluctant to focus on myself so directly as in making a self-portrait, this experience helped me see where I am today. Things about myself I feel good about, and areas in which I still struggle."

Entry 7: Kylie

Kylie wrote: "I wanted to show how much hurt I still feel inside from my past; I wanted to show how fractured I feel living with DID but I also wanted to acknowledge how much I have achieved in healing and how much my self esteem has improved in the last few years. As well as showing how broken I sometimes feel with so many parts, I thought that the broken mirror was an apt metaphor for how the abuse has distorted my view of myself.

Entry 8: Thesamesky

Thesamesky wrote: "This is a picture I drew in July 2008, a representation of the physical and emotional barriers I put up to keep me safe. Unfortunately this also prevents others from getting close enough to touch and comfort  me. I drew this in response to my counsellors observation about being uncertain whether or not it was safe to come near me, not being sure what reaction she might get. The girl is perhaps so hurt that she  doesn't trust the hands that might help her. I really enjoyed doing this piece. It was one of the first times I had ever attempted artwork in relation to therapy and expressing an image, and I was pleasantly surprised at the results. Using the charcoal to create the surrounding shadow was particularly therapeutic (I used my fingers!) And writing words to create the barrier was helpful because it got them down on the paper."

Entry 9: Paul

I wrote: "I did this in stages in a direct attempt to reconnect inside. The first stage was just the circle of my head and a circle for my mouth. We stopped and talked about it a little bit. The second stage added the strong black slanted lines for the closed eyes and "My Healing Guide" said "that changes it quite a bit." I then (quite deliberately) blackened in the mouth. Then I dirtied up the face. Each time she said what I was doing was changing the message of the image a lot."

Entry 10: Kerro

Kerro wrote: "The Polyvore set shows more about how I see myself in relation to the world. It isn't the happy, positive image I had hoped to create, though I'm comfortable with how it turned out. I am small, in a very big world. I am colourless, in a world of colour. I am ugly, in a world of beauty. I am invisible, in a world of light. I'm different; I'm an outsider. I am hiding my face because I've never felt worthy. That is changing, but I've still got a way to go."

Entry 11: Kathleen

Kathleen wrote: "This is a self portrait I completed in an inpatient art therapy group awhile ago and is now hanging in my art therapy show at Lesley University. It was from a time when I was feeling particularly disconnected and all my parts had no clue what the others were doing. I was feeling that I/we had hypersensitivity (vision, sight, hearing) and yet at the same time, oppositionally,  disconnected and somewhat numb/floaty too. Kind of like my world was being taken in by 7 different reports and nothing added up to a remotely similar story."

Entry 12: Wantstorun

Wantstorun wrote: "The girl facing the mirror represents me presently; I don't "see" myself in the mirror most often, but instead I see or feel those other parts that are around (through) the mirror (not the entire system, but some representatives)." This piece is done with mixed media of colored pencils, compact pastels, and collage.

Entry 13: OneSurvivor

OneSurvivor wrote: "For 'Woman with Dreams' I did a collage that represented my whole system. Then I did a subset of 5 collages that represented particular aspects of myself. This is number 5. All six really go together as a set, but I chose this one for the Carnival because of what it expresses: hope. I have notes for each one except this one. I wonder if that is because dreams are always changing on some level and I did not want to lock into anything. Whatever my dreams for my life are, at any given moment, I believe they may be reflected on some level within this collage."

That's all folks! Thanks to all those who contributed. If you think this Carnival is worthwhile, then let others know about it and we can continue to increase the contributors for future months.

The Expressive Arts Carnival was founded to to bring survivors together through expressive arts activities. On the Carnival's home page you can find links to all activity announcements and Carnival publications. Activities are posted on the first of every month and submissions are open for approximately 3 weeks. The Carnival will be posted shortly after submissions are closed.

Categories: