Group Therapy

"Group Therapy." 12/8/12. Colored pencil. Ink outline.  5½x4¼”.
“Group Therapy.” 12/8/12. Colored pencil. Ink outline. 5½x4¼”.

While in rehab last year, I drew a cartoon for a Christmas card to send my friends. It’s me and Santa hanging out with The Devil, Borderline Personality Disorder, an undefined higher power, a Disney-fied syringe full of heroin, myself at age four, an identity issue monster, and two girls that I’m either in love with, trying to fuck, or just looking to get some kind of self-esteem bump out of.


We didn’t have a community event that week so I had Saturday almost entirely to myself. After trying and failing to create something a little more self-serving, I decided to do something nice. I drew this – my most detailed piece up to that point – for a card I could send to all the people I care about. My list had 110 names on it. That wouldn’t have been all that difficult had I not made it into the most emotionally intensive project ever. If these were people I cared about, I decided, then I should write each of them a letter letting them know why I cared about them, just how much I appreciated them, or [you get the idea]. It was more than I could handle. In the end, I got around 60 cards written (and about 55 actually mailed out). The people that have meant the most to me over the years: their cards were the hardest to write. I forced myself to scratch a few of those out early in, but others I kept putting off ’til I could find what I needed to give it the focus and honesty it deserved. Since I had about 50 names left to cross out when I threw in the towel though, some of those people never got any card at all.

As a whole, this was one of the toughest things I ever tried my hand at. Though I ultimately fell short, I’m still really glad that I did it. The 50 or so people that did receive cards – well, that’s still something.

For the backs of the cards, I traced the Traffic Street logo (with one modification) and the barcode from a box of Cap'n Crunch.
For the backs of the cards, I traced the Traffic Street logo (with one modification) and the barcode from a box of Cap’n Crunch.

As for the content of the image, sitting around me are physical manifestations of all of my “issues.” From the bottom-right, we’ve got Satan as my dark, sarcastic, attention-seeking behavior;  the mask I made in our expressive art group on identity [it’s not up on the site yet and won’t be ’til I can summon some bravery]; a syringe filled with heroin; the ghost that I used in this period as a symbol for borderline personality disorder; Santa’s just hangin’ out ’cause it’s like, Christmas, yo;  the girl represents different issues with sex, love, and codependency; the empty chair is for my [then] undefined higher power; the little kid is me at four years old, an age that came up a lot in the course of my treatment and that a lot of my core beliefs can be traced back to; and the second girl is for sex, love, and codependency. Yeah – two chairs for that set of issues. They come up a lot.


Status update (10/30/13): This isn’t exactly my strongest entry but I don’t have much in me tonight. I feel pretty hollow right now. [More on that later, I suppose]. Earlier today I was extremely productive though and got a lot of writing and editing done. I’m really happy about that. While most of that work isn’t anything I want to share here yet,  I did completely overhaul the statement for one piece, edit the fuck out of another, and add a good amount to a third.

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