Friday, October 13, 2006

Lots of writers have used the medium to explore their pasts and come to terms with them. Although I am not sure that I would want the whole world to know about my past (shame issues?!), I think that the act of setting it down on paper can be extremely cathartic. My counsellor has suggested to me that I could use my art to somehow explore my issues with my family and sense of identity. I think that this is probably a good idea, although it is hard to know where and how to start.

Some of my recent collages have been about these issues and I would like to explore them further. My personna and view of myself is very much bound up with other peoples perceptions of me - both my family and society. Whether these labels are real ones that people have used, imagined ones that I feel are applied to me or ones that I give myself, they often feel limiting : single mother, bright, fat, lazy, daughter, sister, carer, ex partner, difficult, student, mother, reflexologist, pre school teacher. All these labels are so limited when taken on their own they don't say anything about the real person. Sometimes I think I should make myself a series of hats that I can wear when I am playing a specific role - the trouble is I would often have to be wearing several at once! Maybe I should have one hat with fuzzy felt labels to stick on...

Sometimes I find myself struggling when a particular label is used, somedays I don't feel like being a carer, a daughter or a mother even. How do we reconcile our own inner life, our ego, to the way we are related to by other people? Sometimes being labelled can cause resentment, people don't look behind the label to see the real person. Or occasionally someone will give you an inaccurate label soon after meeting you and will never review that label even if it turns out to be far from accurate. I am not innocent myself here I am sure, although years of working with pre-schoolers has taught me that sometimes it can be well worthwhile to persevere with someone that you find difficult to begin with.

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