Saturday, June 17, 2017

Finding My Inner Warrior

Inner Warrior Priestess
The last two weeks have been awful. No one died. I am healthy. And I have many blessings. I spent a lot of time counting those blessings while my heart broke and my eyes overflowed with tears, while I tossed and turned and my mind re-lived the trauma of the corporate axe. In the big scheme of things I was fortunate. Very fortunate and blessed. I used my art to work through my many emotions, my angry times, my sleepless nights.

The backstory is that the company I worked for terminated nearly 400 executives two weeks ago. Maybe I saw it coming...but I didn't want to see the handwriting on the wall. I felt like a woman whose boyfriend was cheating on her with a brainless floozie. My boss could barely make eye contact with me. Our meetings were rushed. He acted weird. I thought, naively, "Oh, it's the stress of the coming layoffs, it's not personal, it's what he has to do on Friday." But then the phone rang about noon. I nearly collapsed on the walk from my office to the other side of the hospital to the firing room. I did my breathing exercises, blowing out for more counts than I was breathing in so I didn't hyperventilate or have a panic attack. He talked, I breathed out like a woman in labor as the rhetoric swirled around. "It has nothing to do with your job performance...we are eliminating executive staff with no direct patient contact...yadda, yadda, yadda."

I went back to my office and packed up. My work friends gathered around for support. Gave me hugs. Helped me pack. I didn't cry. They did. I finally cried two days later. I got angry. I painted. I cried. I painted. I cried some more. I updated and honed my resume. I bumped up my LinkedIn profile. I applied for jobs. I went to post-employment seminars and a jobs fair. Thankfully I was offered a new position at another location, this time with direct patient contact. I took a big, big hit on the salary. I am reinventing myself in the business world, tightening up the family budget, and hanging on to my pension fund and healthcare. So I am blessed. I am looking ahead, not behind. I am trying to let go of anger and hurt and resentment. I am channeling my anger into emotional and spiritual power. And I am painting.

The Inner Warrior Priestess journal page started with a Jane Davenport face stencil. I outlined it lightly in pencil, then added my own lines for the body, hair and background. I used Portfolio water soluble oil pastels for the face and background colors, blended them with a wet paintbrush, then added watercolor pencils, TomBow brush tipped markers and other accents. When it was dry, I placed Artistcellar mini chakra pocket stencils on the appropriate place for the third eye, throat and heart chakras and used black Archival ink with a mini dabber to create the stenciled shape.

I revisited my Jane Davenport beautiful faces CD to get the eyes and cheek color the way I envisioned it in my mind. The words came to me at the very end, and I added them with a black sharpie marker.

Prior to creating the Warrior Priestess page, I worked through my various emotions with an assortment of techniques.

Page from my mini journal. Words were added while in the waiting area of Post Employment.
This is a mini journal page. The words and shapes were doodled while in the waiting room of the Post Employment office.
The words on this mini-journal page were added during a long, long wait in the Post Employment office.
The words "I am resilient, I am the phoenix" kept playing in my head to the tune of the Beatle's "I am The Walrus" so I painted it. The marker was not water-resistant so it ran, but the runny words echoed my teary eyes.
My friend (who was terminated in the first round of layoffs) was amazed at how resilient I was, so I painted the words "I am resilient" as a mantra. I didn't like the sloppy look when the markers ran and the words blurred, but it did echo my emotional state.
This scribbly floral journal page has many layers of paint, markers and gesso and was a way to channel my anger and emotions.
After I was offered a new job, I was so relieved and thankful, and I came home and painted the "Joy" journal page.
The day after I accepted my new job offer, I created a romantic, sepia-toned journal collage expressing my gratefulness for all that I DO have. The little angel photo was a gift from an artist friend, and seemed especially appropriate. I stamped the word "trust" with sepia ink and added "the universe" with a sepia pen.

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