Expressive Arts Carnival No. 10 – Safety

This month’s Expressive Arts Carnival Activity is to:

Through drawing, painting, photography or any other visual means, create an image representing your relationship with “safety.” Some ideas you may want to explore are what safety means to you, how you struggle with safety, what are your internal or external safe places, and more. With your entry, please also include a couple of sentences saying what the process was like for you which will accompany your art.

I started out this activity doing a collage that reflected how I feel when I am safe. It was warm and fluffy. It represented an internal safe place, but said little about my relationship with safety, or anything other than being warm and fluffy, so I abandoned that activity in favour of this:

It’s a shot I took a year or so ago. It might seem like an unusual image to represent safety, but it does to me. More precisely, it represents my relationship with safety (good and bad) and my healing around safety.

When I took this photo I was deeply afraid of the dark and particularly the city at night. The dark, the people, the crowds, the noises, the lights… it all triggered me. And yet I was drawn to it as well, longing to walk the streets taking photos rather than taking them from the safety of a hotel room high in the sky.

A few months after this photo was taken I was walking in town one night when I realised I wasn’t afraid any more. Sure, the people were still there, the crowds, the noises… it was all the same, but I felt safe. Safer than I had ever felt before. I remember telling Back Up Therapist about this – and she practically did cartwheels around the room. It wasn’t until that moment that I realied what an important step forward this was. I’ve represented this healing aspect with the splash of colour.

I still get freaked by the dark sometimes. City crowds and noises are still an easy trigger, but I’m hoping my splash of colour will spread. The splash – and the contrast with the black and white – also represents the tenuous grip that I and many survivors have with safety. Sometimes it feels fleeting. Sometimes we feel safe, and others we don’t – even in the same situations. Sometimes we turn to the darkness to create safety in ways that aren’t safe at all, but that we can at least control.

A little note on the creative element of this activity: when I flicked through my photos, I felt that warm inner glow I get from creative activity – a good reminder that I don’t do creative stuff often enough. I was suddenly filled with ideas of projects to do for this month’s Carnival. I wanted to create a stop motion clip with a range of city shots, but realised I didn’t have enough photos, or enough time. Another project to add to my creative list 😉


3 thoughts on “Expressive Arts Carnival No. 10 – Safety

  1. This is a tangible way to measure your healing progress. I love the splash of colour in the image, and that you can now go out and not feel that same level of fear all the time. That’s awesome 🙂

    Take care,

  2. Absolutely beautiful photo. I love to do editing to make special shots, so the b&w and color totally captivated me. I love the flow of everything in the picture – like water.

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