I am fifty- six years old.
And I still battle inner demons, taking the form of anorexia.
I thought I was done with this 10 or so years ago. But I find that there is still more to do. More stories to tell, more wounds to heal.
So here I am- AGAIN.
I thought very hard about publishing a picture in this blog: a picture I took of myself a couple of days ago. It's a scary picture. I talked about it with a few trusted friends and family, and came to the conclusion, that although a picture is worth a thousand words, it would not serve to use it just now. It would be a reminder to me of the work I must do now, and also the long way I have come. It would remind me that I am committed to this project of healing myself through my art. But it would not serve the greater good. Since this is a blog that addresses eating disorder, and since I know that the eating disordered brain can be addled by ideas that are simply not true (like "I need to be that skinny...), I also know that a person with an eating disorder might really hurt themselves with it. Plus- it's really not pretty. So I will just tell you that I look old, and haggard, and very, very skinny in this photo. I don't look like the grandma I am about to become with great excitement and anticipation. I look anorexic.
I took the picture of myself in a bikini because, true to the anorexic mind frame, I am not able to see my own image clearly. I know in my rational brain that I am too thin, however that doesn't really translate adequately to understanding. When I took the picture, I was far more able to see what other people might see- and I scared myself into action. 
My purpose here is to chronicle my healing process through art. It is meant to be an inspiration, or even a demonstration of the healing power of the creative beauty that dwells within all of us. 
This is NOT a blog about trauma- past or present. It is about healing from trauma, and the ways in which I reframe my experiences so that they may become of service. I am committed to diving into my art as a way to express both the turmoil that has existed, and to create the unfolding of the next part of my healing path. My intention is to create art every day, as a barometer of my healing process. I will post my pieces from time to time as a very public statement of my commitment to this action I am taking. I hope my commitment will have a positive effect on any who need the encouragement to undertake their own healing journey.

I decided that instead of the very unflattering image of myself, I would give any readers a reference point of where I am right now. I painted this picture over the course of six or seven weeks. It is about nine layers of different kinds of art media; it went on in layers and then I sanded and scratched each layer with muscle and grit, until it was shaped and moulded into this image. It transformed itself almost daily until it told the story of the chaos I have been feeling, trapped in the lines that are all around me. There are images and metaphor hidden in every aspect of the finished painting. There are old, dirty, ugly places and a bridge to new ways of thinking. As I look at it, I am satisfied with the complexity of it all. I also am wondrous at the simplicity of putting paint on paper and releasing a story, previously untold.
It feels, to me, like it tells the story of how I landed here once again- knowing that it is as simple as eating- and that it simply isn't that easy at all.

What is impossible to see in the finished product, are the layers that transformed markedly from one day to the next.
The first image is one of the early under layers. It is lighter- testing the colours and paying attention to the actions of painting and sanding. 
The second image is much more chaotic, there is a change in colour, imagery and suggests loss of control, OR letting go of controlling. 

This process (thank you to Lenore Walker Art Therapy for guidance), was a raw, tactile experience of the pain and confusion that took my life by storm once again, catching me unaware, erasing the ability to manipulate the tools I've used for years to keep moving forward. 
My deepest hope is that transformation from the heavy way that I am holding my current stuck- ness will be evident in the art making process. I believe it goes both ways: as I imagine growth and how that needs to look on my paper/ canvas, I am able to experience a lightening in my body. AND as my feelings become less burdensome my art making moves with them.

I welcome feedback on my process- the rah rah kind and critique as well. Also art invitations from any of you Art Therapists out there.



11/11/2013 8:01pm

You go, girl and use the warrior to blossom your softness. R

11/11/2013 8:43pm

Thanls Tobin,
Support is much appreciated.

11/11/2013 9:36pm

Love you and thank you for inviting me to be a part of this journey.

Ruth Livingston
11/11/2013 9:51pm

Yona, you never cease to amaze me. What a gifted writer you are and so immeasurably brave. I will hold you in my heart during our weekly Mi Shebeirachs and know you will be successful in this process, yet again.

Susan Ewenson
11/11/2013 10:04pm

Yona thank you for including me. I am amazed at the beauty and the ugliness of the process. You are so brave. Love from me and all of us always.

11/12/2013 9:04am

This is great! I love the description of your process, would love it if you could post pictures of how a project evolves as you have described!

11/12/2013 11:51am

Real and raw truth is a real gift to give yourself and others. And your willingness to invite people into your journey is really brave. Those of us still hiding in "closets" will see your light and find the courage to open the door and walk out.

11/12/2013 12:17pm

Thank you Danica.
Your heartfelt support is necessary and appreciated.
Be Well, girl!

Donna Paige
11/12/2013 1:45pm

Yona - Thank you for opening the rawness of your journey and sharing with us the dungeon of difficulty. I send oceans of heartfelt kindness and love to you, to soften the demons and strengthen the clarity so present in your voice. Gentle...gentle....gentle.....

Shelley Jacobs
11/12/2013 8:13pm

So proud of you. Grateful you share the good, bad, ugly, & beautiful....thankyou for being so honest. Xo

11/12/2013 8:52pm

Love you guys!

Sam Young
11/12/2013 11:07pm

Thanks for sharing your journey so openly and honestly. It can be hard to read something so emotionally raw, but I think in sharing your experience and struggles, it gives hope to others trying to face their own demons and follow their own path to healing.

Terry Taylor-Topp
11/14/2013 8:44am

You are an amazing, courageous woman Yona. I was so drawn in to your writing and your art this morning. "Healing power of the creative beauty… reframe my experiences so that they may become of service…" - beautiful and true. I am thankful you know the power of this work and your ability to transform out of this place, even wiser and stronger. Thank you for being you, beautiful you. Blessings and Light.

Tracy Carroll
11/18/2013 8:40pm

Yona- what a great thing it is to see your process with the canvas. It is so brave of you to share with all of us, and a great lesson that you are passing along. The digging into the layers is such hard work, but I can see the warrior in you fighting to achieve lightness once again...
Many hugs!! xo

Norma Lachance
11/20/2013 11:07am

Looks amazing Yona! I love all the photos.... Very visual (duh!)

So proud of you :)

11/22/2013 10:52am

Thanks Norma.
See you in the pool!

Beth McCann
11/20/2013 11:41am

Great you are sharing your journey. I again share"whether you are on the path, in the right ditch, the left ditch it doesn!t make any difference". Hope this resonates with you.

11/22/2013 10:51am

Thank you Beth.
I'm pretty sure I'm still in the ditch, but climbing out.

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