THE HOUSE OF SELF
My own story of anxiety started at around 10 or 11 years old. My episodes of paralyzing fear invaded at moments of uncertainty but also elation (which is super confusing). Now I know that while my brain is hard wired to fritz out, that I have tools to work through it. The startling thing about my journey to recovery however was realizing how selfish AND self-destructive I could be. All of this was on my mind when I created the House of Self.
This isn’t a demonization of mental illness. In fact it’s the exact opposite. My brain chemistry doesn’t define me but it has shaped me and had an impact on the people I’m closest to—in my past and present. The anxiety itself was so isolating however I didn’t realize this for a long time. This house concerns itself with the ego and our potential. In the tarot, The Fool card is associated with the blank slate or the creative intuition before the spark of creation—the same themes run through this house as well. What if we had more than one beginning? What if every spat of fear or internal turmoil gave us another opportunity to get stronger?
When I look at my drawing I think about the tactics I would use to ground myself in reality when I was feeling insane on the inside. I would stomp my feet on the ground clench, unclench my fists to feel my body.
Also known as wind flower, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs associates this flower with health, protection, and healing. It suggests: “Gather the blossoms when first seen in the spring, wrap them up in a red cloth and wear or carry to prevent disease. Grow red anemones in the garden to protect both it and the home. Use the blossoms in all healing rituals.”†