Sunday, February 2, 2014

Did I Just Have a Therapy Session with a Scrapbook Kit?

I was flipping through my scrapbook layouts this week and noticed 99% are happy. The 1% touch on serious events but they have a livable outcome. It seems I, and possibly quite a few others, only create pages of the pleasant moments in life. In all honestly, it makes sense. It is only the joyful moments most want to remember, and perhaps having enough layouts of those times help us forget the more challenging ones.

Why do we avoid the honest moments? The ones that hurt, leave scars and ultimately change us. Why are we afraid to commit bad days to a page? The days when we feel the world is against us and there is absolutely no end in sight? What is it we are afraid of?

For me, I want to forget those dark times. Maybe if I don't scrap them, they will go away. I tend to hold things in, internalize and let the sorrow grip me for days, even weeks. It is easy to go back to that harrowing place if I am reminded of it.

I did not realize how therapeutic the process of creating a layout of those times can be until I was faced with a kit all about those moments and it happened to come on a day when I felt like the weight of the world was just too heavy for my shoulders.

The creative team for Created by Jill Scraps was given "This Can't Be Happening" -- a collection Jill created when she was facing her own challenges. She put all she was feeling into her designs...just as an artist would paint his emotions onto a canvas. It is the exact same process. And it seems to have been a cathartic exercise for her. After all, she did tell us it was cheaper than therapy.

I remember opening the files and going through every single image. I avoided the words, I had no doubt I would melt from the emotional heat. I just absorbed all the visual pieces which seemed to hold a piece of every emotion Jill must have been feeling. The torn doily, the scribbled flower and smashed bottle cap brought tears to my eyes. It felt as if Jill's emotions shattered into hundreds of pieces, latched onto the elements and screamed at me. I recognized what I was seeing because I was feeling all these emotions in my own life.

The question then hit me: Could I actually use this kit and make an honest layout with it? Was I ready to put my feelings onto a layout? I didn't think I could do it. Then I got to the papers in the kit. And a whole new wave of emotions swept over me.

The tears came more freely. I saw...I felt more deeply looking at these images. I saw broken clouds, cracked asphalt and a hurricane of emotions. And I was okay with the tears. For the first time in my life, I was ready to scrap what I was experiencing.

The remaining kits only solidified what I was prepared to do. They provided the words when I could not figure out what to say. They provided the pieces I needed to express the secrets you could see in my eyes. I had just opened the door to the most effective therapy session I have experienced. And I needed it.

I created most of my layout before I went to bed that night. I was not ready to share it with anyone. Morning came and I opened the file. I felt different, perhaps my shoulders felt a bit lighter? I gave the page some touch ups and then I was ready to share it with the creative team. I was ready to share it with the artist who gave me the medium I needed to open up, let go and find some inner peace.

This is nowhere near a Picasso or Van Gough.. You will not see this in the Louvre or the Guggenheim. I don't care. It is my personal masterpiece. I was able to take all that was building up in me and put it on a layout. It may never be important to anyone but me. Perhaps it will stand as a reminder for me so when I ever feel low again, I might remember there is hope. It may be for my daughter and teach her she is not alone when she hits her breaking point. If it helps those I love (and those who might happen upon this post) then that is enough.

To answer the question I posed in the title: Yes, I did just have a therapy session with "This Can't Be Happening." I now understand why people are drawn to the art journal style of scrapbooking. I truly believe it is important to put your emotions and feelings onto a page. It truly is an experience of healing and moving on.

PS: This Can't Be Happening is also available in a bundle at both GingerScraps and GoDigitalScrapbooking. The bundle is $6.99.

PSS: It seems other members of the creative team had a similar journey. See what they created.

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