I started working at a university art department before I had cancer. I took a drawing class that semester. I was given special permission to miss more than 3 days of class. Thankfully a fellow student was willing to come to my house and tell me what was happening in class. However, I didn’t take into account the fact that my arm was too week to hold my drawing pad. I drew all my perspective drawing small size then after healing I drew them all again at the required size. I discovered several important things in the process. I could draw. Drawing was so difficult for me that it took all my brain power to execute a drawing at the same time dulling the pain from after the surgery. Therefor, when I was drawing I required fewer pain killers. I didn’t draw anything that had anything tied to trauma. I didn’t connect my art to trauma. A little over a year after cancer, I started marriage counseling. I again used drawing and coloring to lessen the pain. I found that each session tore open forgotten pains that never healed properly. I was in counseling several years before I did a photography show on my emotional reaction to cancer. I discovered the powerful connection of creating art inspired by trauma. I finally figured out that art could express the feelings that I had no words for. Photography, clay, painting, drawing, collage, wood carving all became possible outlets of expressing my inner pain and my battle to over come. I could not change my past but I could change my future. Art gave me a way to express what I was feeling. It is a powerful coping tool.
Others express their reaction to trauma through art.