Thursday, February 7, 2013

An Unlikely Ally

"She Journeys With An Unlikely Ally," Summer 2012
Watercolor, acrylic, pen & ink, shimmery cardstock, magazine image

It’s been a while since I last posted my “inner little girl” art and also, a while since she’s shown up in anything I’ve created.  After receiving my fifth in a series of six maintenance chemotherapy treatments a couple days ago, it's been on my mind to share this last entry in a portfolio I compiled and titled "An Inner Little Girl's Journey," which was included in a healing art exhibit at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula’s cancer survivor event last summer.  Although my inner little girl has been absent from my artwork lately, her story continues behind the scenes, and I am feeling compelled to resume illustrating her story through new collaged pieces soon.  She’s been one of my most helpful outlets for expression, bringing thoughts and feelings to the surface where I can view them with more clarity, gain a higher level of understanding and move forward with my healing process. 
Only recently have I begun to realize that my inner little girl could continue to be very helpful as I journey beyond my current stretch of maintenance treatment later this year.  On the one hand, I'm definitely looking forward to being liberated from the chemo, but on the other hand, it's been my "ally," a vigilant sentry guarding me from any errant cells.  I've been able to await test results with confidence that there won't be anything amiss.  Once my ally and I part ways, I'll face the post-treatment stretch of a cancer survivor's journey when you realize that as much as you'd like to travel ahead without looking back, you must proceed with an ongoing awareness and diligence about your health while learning how to temper any lurking fears about revisiting rough terrain.  Continuing to utilize healing art and my inner little girl as introspective and therapeutic tools will be beneficial in managing stress, fear or unwieldy emotional baggage.   
I created "She Journeys With An Unlikely Ally" during one of CHOMP's healing art retreats last summer.  The directive was to select from an assortment of magazine images spread out on a table and blend our image with art mediums of our choosing.  My initial considerations were bird or sea life images.  My final choice, however, was the image of this mouse which may seem odd, but its symbolism holds much significance for me.  A small, but crucial component of the chemotherapy that's been successful in my treatment originates from a mammalian source and provides the intelligence to target the cancerous cells.  (No, not actually a mouse, but it was the closest symbolic image.)  This fact is probably strange for was to me in the beginning, but I am now very grateful for my ally!
Although I'll be leaving one ally behind later this year, I can find comfort and confidence in the many allies that will remain by my side as I forge ahead - love, family, friends and kindred spirits, physicians, nature, creativity, healing inner little girl.
We can all benefit from identifying "healing allies" who help us through challenge, change and growth regardless of our situation, whether it be illness, grief, stress, anxiety, depression, perhaps a dysfunctional relationship or career disappointment.  Who or what are your allies when the going gets tough?  Remember they are there for you when you need them.
(Type "inner little girl" in "Search This Blog" to view her journey.)