The Cage Door (was never locked)

So if you had read my last post I ended the article with some song lyrics  – “Happy Song” Delaney Jane – Dirty Pretty Things 2019

“If I could get out of my head

I would never feel this way

But for some reason I can’t

And it’s never gonna change”

This is the inspiration for my next drawing. Titled – The Cage Door – Felt Pen and Acrylic water colour on paper. 

The Cage Door – Felt Pen and Acrylic water colour on paper. 

I heard this song for the first time late last year and I instantly connected with it. The notion of being trapped in your own head is just so true for me. Sometimes thoughts of events past and ones yet to come, swirl around my head 24 hours a day. When this happens I can get stuck in an invisible vortex of loneliness, fear and sadness. Most of the time I don’t even know how I get there, all these thoughts start out neat and practical, such as, “Oh I need to do supermarket shopping tomorrow. ” With this thought I can wind up moving into imagined scenarios, of my dog dyeing, my child running away and my husband divorcing me, all in the space of an afternoon, simply because I forgot to buy All-bran. OMG !!! I can sit staring into this void of misery and not even realise how much time has flown by. Sometimes it even stops me from doing the chore itself, as my stream of thoughts scares me so much I put it off for another day.

Now I can hear you say, “Wow Allison this is crazy” and yes I agree, I can wind up in tears and devastation only because my mind has put me there. Add in an argument with someone/ anyone – even a random person in the supermarket car park – or a conflict at work, this type of energy can sit in my brain for weeks, even months, interrupting and clouding my thoughts, I cant escape. It is so frustratingly awful that I wind up self-soothing with food or wine, resulting in me getting angry at myself and then the cycle begins again.

This is not a new phenomena for me, I have been doing this my whole life, sometimes it feels like I have been over thinking ever since I entered the world. I also feel this has been a major source and reason for some temper tantrums and anger I have imparted on to others over the years. So the question I have been thinking recently is, how can I get out of my own head? Will this rollercoaster ride ever end? And yes I think there might be a solution.

Lately one thing I have found when when I get into these states of mind, is I draw. When the thoughts begin to swirl, I have found that I have been able to latch onto an image that can help me focus and pull me out of this whirlpool of panic and confusion. If I don’t do this or an image does not come, I can be awake for many hours stuck in this increasing momentum of irrational thought. I have been known to get up at 2am and quickly sketch or write out the drawing that has flashed in my head making the thoughts stop and I can fall back to sleep.

With this I have been thinking about the power of thought and asking the question how much do we need to hold on to? If any thought at all? Maybe its simple, maybe I am not trapped in my own head and never have been, I have just been giving too much power to these thoughts.

“There is tremendous freedom in not believing every thought we have and understand that we are the thinker of our thoughts, not the thoughts themselves. Our minds are powerful tools, and if we do not become consciously aware of the disconnection between our authentic Selves and our thoughts, we give our thoughts too much control in our daily lives.” page 35 “How to Do the Work” by Dr Nicole LePera, Published Harper Wave 2021

LePera speaks about individual choice and giving your thoughts and other people boundaries. Among many other things she also gives you fantastic tools to use to help you out of the “vortex”. Making me realise I was never really trapped in the first place. I have just let my past history, pressures of society and my perceived notion of the “Other” imprisoned me. So in reality I have always been able to leave my head, we all can, just some of us remain sitting on the cage floor while the door is wide open. Perhaps it is time to stand up.

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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