Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm no scrap booking super woman

I don't know how many times I have been asked how I find the time to produce so many layouts. I have blamed it on frequent bouts of insomnia, (true enough), and laughed it off with humor, but the truth is much more complicated and goes to the heart of who I am and what my life has been.

Many of us joke about being obsessed with scrap booking, calling it our addiction. For me, it is not a joke, though it is easiest to try and make it one. The truth is that I scrap book to the exclusion of almost everything else.There are days when it is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.

I have battled depression all of my life, sometimes debilitating depression. I received a double whammy with a history of clinical depression on both sides of my family as well as a family history of sexual abuse on my paternal side. I am myself an incest survivor. That is not something easily worked into a casual online conversation, but is also something that I no longer keep secret. It is just a fact, and one that informs who I am, which includes an obsessive quality to my personality. While I understand intellectually that moderation in all things is the healthy approach, it is not something that comes naturally to me. Moderation requires a tremendous effort of will on my part, something I'm a little short on right now with the additional weight of menopause enhancing and complicating my depression.

My obsessions have varied through the years, but pictures have always been extremely important to me, and I have always maintained albums that serve, in an even more significant way than to the average person, as my memory. As is so commonly the case with childhood abuse, I suppressed and erased the trauma as a means of coping with it, and most of my childhood, except that which I can view through pictures, is a complete blank. The habit of disassociation that served me so well as a child, helping me survive the horror of what was being done to me when I had no means of physical escape, has not served me so well as an adult since whenever I am in a stressful situation my natural instinct is to just go away somewhere inside my head. Staying present in the moment is a constant challenge, one that I am not always up to. Because I have such a rich inner life, my memory continues to suffer, and photographs continue to fill that void.

Scrap booking not only involves the photographs that are important to me, but gives me the opportunity to bring order and beauty to my life in a very therapeutic, hands on way. In a world where there is so much ugliness, and so much that is beyond our control, art allows us to focus on that which is beautiful, not only in the world, but inside of us. It provides an outlet to express both, something that I am very much in need of currently.

I cannot begin to express how important the validation I receive from this online community is to me, or how very grateful I am for the comments. My sincere thanks.


Becky Andersen said...

Jackie...I know that this must be hard for you to share so openly, but you will probably never know how many peoples lives you will touch by doing so, or possibly help! Your honesty really touches my heart. I have always so much enjoyed viewing your work and you are such an inspiration to me as an artist. Big Hugs to you! Becky.

Anna C said...

Hi Jackie! I just read your posting about not being the super woman of scrapbooking. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure it was not easy for you to post this and share it on the world wide web. I so admire your work, your style, your technique, and your sincere willingness to share your ideas. Everything you create is such a work of art. And just as your art inspires many of us so will your story. You do make a difference and your story touches a lot of us. Thank you, Jackie. And may God continue to richly bless you! Many hugs to you my dear friend! Anna C

Kim said...

Jackie, Thank you for sharing a more personal side of yourself. I am inspired by your strength and courage. I too think we would make great friends and I also feel as if scrapbooking is theraputic, even though I am in a creative slump. Big Hugs to you Jackie...

Peggy said...

Jackie, I too have often wondered how you manage to produce this many LO's, but I never would have imagined depression and the rest of your background to be the cause of this. In my mind, Jackie and depression don't go together. I often read your comments, and they're always so sweet and happy. I'm glad to hear you found comfort in the scrapping community. We all need to hide from life every now and then (though of course I won't even pretend to know what you've gone through and are going through still...) ... scrapping isn't a bad way to go about it I'd say!

Thank you for sharing your story with us Jackie, I'm sure your helping others with your honest words.
Love xxx Peggy