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|Self-portrait in ink done about age 17|
Express your anger, two people I love and respect have told me … more than once. I seem to chip away at it a little at a time, but there was still a locked trunk, wrapped in chains, sunken in the root of my existence. It held every incident of pain and injustice I have experienced. Locked away.
And something would seep out and I would lash out. Sometimes just by myself, sometimes, inappropriately, at others. I am not certain I understand this anger. I’ve made lists and it always goes back to not getting what I want: understanding, acknowledgment and pain preventing me from my real work.
I sat in my studio today to write in my mad journal, marked with a big green M, making that list and looking at the ink self-portrait I did of myself in high school staring at me from the ledge above my work table. I never added a face, so I was contemplating this lack of identity and equating it with all of the things that anger me. Then I began a conversation with God in my journal:
How deep does it go, God?
To your root, where it’s stuck.
How do I get it unstuck?
Give it attention, love and surrender it to me.
Pretend it’s not you. Let it gently dislodge and come up through you. Do this now.
And so I did, letting screams and sobs emerge, begging, pleading with God/Jesus to take this away … without violence to my body. I’ve had enough of that. I found myself in child’s position, bowing, on my dirty studio floor and asking that this anger, this locked box, be taken from me. Then I surrendered it because something told me I must.
I wiped the tears away, snarfed my stuffy nose into a tissue and returned to the table, staring once again at the self portrait. This time, however, the empty face revealed something else:
‘Now as I look in the mirror of my faceless self portrait, I see a blank canvas: possibilities, not anonymity or lost identity. Rather a cleaned surface, purity.”
I was able to ask God for one more thing: “I don’t want to be that same angry person. teach me the way, please.”
“I will,” was the response.
• What role, if any, does anger play in my life?
• How does it control me [if it does]?
• How can I surrender that to God?
• What is my experience of surrendering anything to God?
• What is my current prayer?