Finding My Voice Through The Arts

Our client, Vanessa, shares her beautiful journey of discovering her voice through creativity and the arts…

Putting pen to paper never seemed so easy,

Exploding emotions and thoughts on a black space,

Filling it with distress but also celebration,

Talent shine through like the light from the above constellation.


Expressing through infant abc’s,

Warmth in my soul from something lost from birth,

Self-belief being found in script and verse,

Broke what was taught by the outside, the curse,


Fluid movements as ink forms a sentence,

Writing compassion, replacing decades of self-loathing,

Being pushed against barbed wire,

However reborn such as a phoenix from fire.


For many people, journaling is a big part of recovery. When I was asked whether I journaled when I came to Recover 7 months ago, my heart sunk. My critical voice was so loud, I couldn’t get myself to put pen to paper. Every word would be scrutinised in my mind. For instance, the content or my handwriting – which I perceived to be childish and messy.

I stopped doing the things I loved, and with that…lost my voice. I have always been a creative person, it just runs through my veins, I love it! But the more ill I became, the more I was losing my artistic personality. I went to art college after finishing school and soon left. I then thought I had to follow societies pressures and go to a ‘prestigious’ university to get a ‘valuable’ degree and be well accomplished – by other people’s standards and what I believed would make me successful. I didn’t care about happiness or my core self at this stage. My backbone was weak and I was so into my eating disorder that I felt I had to ‘achieve’.

I spent two years at university where I didn’t fit in and didn’t enjoy it. Coming to Recover has changed the focus of my life: I have left university unfinished – which I never thought I would do to focus on creativity – and with plans to study Fine Arts. As my backbone becomes stronger, imagining each vertebra solidifying one by one, I am finding myself and having the courage to follow what I love, and be who I was put on this earth to be.

Looking at my artwork now, I see a massive transition from my work years ago. There is so much more substance as a result of my growth, and it is much more empowered. I have taken a lot of inspiration from empowering women’s poetry and art. My art at the moment reflects the process of recovery, self-discovery, the ability to feel emotions and cope with them, and also acceptance of having a woman’s body.

I have seen that you can be the centre of your art, which creates a truly raw and authentic subject, and is not egocentric but rather self-compassionate and self-caring.


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