Living Out Loud Through Family Art

Balancing the tension between the desire to be seen and the pain of hiding away.

The song Iris by Goo Goo Dolls has always been a favourite of mine because of the refrain:

I don’t want the world to see me,
‘Cause I don’t think they’d understand.
When everything’s made to be broken,
I just want you to know who I am.

The idea that you can live in the tension of longing to be known—to be seen—and recoiling from attention for fear of judgement or being misunderstood has been a thread in my life since my teenage years.

The tension between the desire to be seen and the pain of hiding away.

A recent experience has reminded me how this painful tension impacts a person’s feelings and choices about displaying family art and photography in their homes. And about the courage required to express love and pride for your family through displayed art.

Through tears, a mom told me that she feared visitors to her home would be critical or judgemental of her family pictures on display in her home. For her own reasons, the thought was unbearable for her.  

Based on her family of origin story and past experiences, seeing her family art brought both joy and pain.

At first, she was ecstatic.

She marveled at the cuteness of her babies, and the unique expressions of them. But, as we considered her display options, her desire to be invisible—even in her own family life—came pouring out.

I won’t tell you that I didn’t get my back up for a hot minute.

But as we talked through the source of her discomfort, I felt my heart soften. I wanted to cup her face in my hands, beaming into her eyes all the preciousness I saw in her.

I’d love to tie this story up in a tidy bow for you all, but that’s not how life works.

Sorry. My family art will not soothe your anxiety or wipe away decades of inherited pain.  

All I can do is commend the precious souls that show up in spite of the near paralyzing fear of existing in family art. 

I see you bravely making a better world for your children by saying that your family is worth a place on the wall.

In the end, that’s what this mom did for her family. One beautiful piece of family art will grace their dining room wall.

Walk bravely with me.

There’s plenty of reasons preventing moms from making family art with me. Some of them are more practical, and some of them are very, very emotional.

Let me be your guide through your wilderness of thoughts, feelings and ideals. This is the landscape that I’ve traversed daily for nearly twenty years, and I know it intimately. Let your heart be your compass, and my personalized Family Art Plan your map towards a more meaningful home and wholehearted existence.

Request your free, no obligation Family Art Plan here, and let’s begin the journey with a conversation.