Sarah Britten Art

Paintings in lipstick

Presenting an Electric Storm

Sometimes, I see images that connect directly with my gut and make me want to paint, and this was one of them.

Today after work,  I felt compelled to paint. It was a typical Monday: lots of stress and angst, compounded by an unexpected visit to a therapist (recommended by a friend) who had a cancellation. He told me that I put up too defenses to ever connect with myself, that everything I do is a form of presenting and shielding my inner three year old from danger.

Blogging like this, and painting, and sharing with others: all of this is a form of presenting, shielding, blocking people off from getting to me. Don’t write about things, he said. Stop presenting everything. He suggested I come back in a few months’ time when I have learned to trust someone.

What do you do when someone tells you that, that you are beyond help?

In my case, I paint. I’ve painted my way through a panic attack before. So, this time, I painted through the revelation that I am hopelessly fucked up and always will be.

Here is the first sketch:


Then the second iteration:


And finally, this.


I filled it with statements like “I am in the stars”, “I am life” and “I am the electricity that traces the outline of your cells”. Who the “I” is I don’t know, but it’s interesting that this is what I felt compelled to write without thinking too much about it. I don’t particularly like it. Not this version anyway; it doesn’t connect with me in the solar plexus as I was hoping it would. I think I need a different shade of red, and the black needs to be deeper.

Maybe tomorrow I will try again.

4 thoughts on “Presenting an Electric Storm

  1. Oh, it’s actually kind of nice. Sort of reminds me of the French flag…
    All in all, a nice indicator of turmoil, which is perhaps appropriate.

    FWIW, I find it hard to believe that you really are hopelessly fucked up. Not that i have any particular insight, but I do have perspective–I am not in the middle of the turmoil, as you are. And turmoil is pretty common in most people’s lives.

    Trusting someone else enough to let them into your life, so that they can offer you insights and perspective, is probably a good thing to do. And, as i am sure you know, it is not the same thing as talking about all of this on Twitter….

    Good Luck!

  2. Wow, learning to trust someone, without some form of guidance, seems like very risky advice to me.

    Believe that we first need to develope our awareness on multiple fronts in safety and there are various techniques which can be utilised for this eg Tai Chi. I struggled to internalise what psychologists were trying to communicate to me, but have found through physically engaging with concepts such as release and sink that my awareness is slowly developing and along with that the ability to trust others.

    Good luck.

  3. You have to TRUST someone? Holy cow, dare one risk that?? Where to start? Let me know if you succeed. I am 20 years older than you are, and haven’t yet…

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