In the past several months, many young people have come across my path who have suffered major trauma. Abuse, abandonment, unspeakable hurts from other humans. These kids aren’t just from one area or another, one socio-economic background. I have met people on 3 continents, in several states, in every life situation, that pretty much have the same need. Oh, and I’m healing from a major trauma as well. Let’s throw that in there. What I have found is that there is a common need in all of them/us: a need to process, to be loved, and to feel safe.
I found myself telling someone recently that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is simply walk away. To say “Enough is enough”, and not let things continue.
This week and next week, I am teaching my first art workshop, in Denver with the Street School kids I have come to love dearly. My heart to share with them, through the creative process, is that you have a CHOICE. We come from hurt, from darkness, from brokenness. Other people have done evil things to us, awful, awful things. I include myself in this. But they, me, you, us… we all have a choice. We can choose to let it define us. To let our experiences make us bitter and angry, at God, at the world, at life itself. Or, we can choose to stand up and walk away. We can choose what our future will look like. Will we hide our hurt, shamefully and wrongly? Will we keep it in the dark, and let Satan continue to lie to us, calling us unworthy, perpetuating the cycle? Or will we stand up and say, “This is wrong”, and make a change?
The students will work on self-portraits, in any medium they choose, representing how they see their futures. Do they wish for change, for hope, for light? For college, or a job, or a healthy family? Or do they choose to remain in the life they come from?
After the immediate trauma of being abused passed, I made a hard decision. One man does NOT get to define me, or ruin my life. One selfish, sinful man does NOT get to take away the hopes and dreams for my life, and he CANNOT take away the calling of God on this girl. I choose to stand up and walk away. Trauma will not define me, but I surely hope it will teach me, and help me to lift up others.
Photos of the projects will be posted here, I am incredibly excited to see what comes of this idea. I will be participating in my experiment, as well as teaching it, and so will Kacy Lou, the kids’ teacher. Check back in next week!