That was until I started volunteering at a hospice, and my supervisor told me she wanted me to participate in a bereavement support group. This was ostensibly so that I could at some point lead such a group, but for now I was just to be a participant. I agreed to join the group although I hadn’t lost anybody recently other than my cat who had died two years earlier. I had loved my cat dearly, but I was no longer mourning over her. Still I naively thought I could participate in such a group and talk about my cat while the other members discussed their more recent human losses.
It turned out this group was called Healing through the Arts, and we were instructed to draw whoever it was we were grieving for. My cat had been named Rainbow, and when she was alive, I had trained her to come when I sang the song, “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” She would come running and jump into my arms. “Oh, I love you, Rainbow!” I would tell her. So, now, I painted a rainbow in bright colors and drew Rainbow over the rainbow! I was so amazed at the beauty, the creativity, and the meaning of my drawing when I didn’t even think I could draw! With great excitement, I shared with the group. Not only did I show my picture, but I also explained how I used to belong to a cat collector group. I don’t mean we collected cats, but we collected artifacts representing cats such as figurines, jewelry, or books etc. It just so happened I was wearing cat socks, and I held my leg up in the air showing off my socks which represented Rainbow. I realized my energy level was much higher than the others in the group who were grieving more recent losses- I was having more fun than I was suppose to be having ,but I thought perhaps, I could bring them up instead of them bringing me down which was what ended up happening.
The next day, I received a call from my supervisor saying others in the group were very uncomfortable with me. Intellectually, I could understand it, but it was so disappointing and puzzling to ponder how something that brought me so much joy was deemed inappropriate by others. Not only was I kicked out of the art group, but my supervisor told me to I could no longer volunteer for the hospice .
I was devastated but soon found another art group. This group was called “Drawing to Express Your Feelings,” and I thought, “Great. I could express any kind of feelings, and it would be ok.” So, I began drawing and again was amazed by the beauty of my drawings. The only problem with this group was that I drew my pictures in about ten minutes, and everybody else took two or three hours. So, I had to wait until the end of the group before I could share my drawing. To pass the time I began looking at the other drawings of the group members until one of them informed me she wasn’t comfortable with me looking at her work. I apologized and only looked at my own drawing till the end of class. The next day I received a call from my teacher who said, “Harmony, everybody in the group was very uncomfortable with you STARING AT THEIR DRAWINGS. They don’t believe they can trust you, and they don’t think you are safe to be around. I can no longer allow you to continue with this class.” If I had been devastated before, there is no describing how I felt now to have been kicked out of two art groups! I knew something was horribly wrong with me. I just couldn’t figure out what it was. The other group was understandable from a counseling perspective of being in a different space than the others, but this made no sense at all since I had apologized and stopped looking at the other paintings.
I began drawing at home. I decided I didn’t need a group after all, and again I was amazed by the beauty of what I drew. I didn’t miss drawing with a group of people. I’d had it with other people. However, I do miss having someone to whom I could show my artwork. Therefore, I have just decided to include one of my computer generated drawings with this blog. If you don’t delete it, then I will feel healed from the rejections of the two previous art groups!
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