A few years ago, as I battled majorly with restricting food, I came to the realization that I did not know myself.
Sure, words came to my head when someone asked about me. I was a girl, homeschooled until college, going to school to be a teacher, Catholic, etc. The facts of one’s life are simple to recite. However, they do not fully explain who you are. These are just a starting place that give a foundation for yourself.
When someone wanted to know more about who I truly was, I turned to the opinions of others. Anna Rose is awkward, sweet, naive, childish, quiet, obnoxious, and so on. I would never watch that movie or say that word. My willingness to work with children meant that I should be a teacher because that is what I wanted. Since I laughed at taunts, teasing did not hurt my feelings.
Listening to people who know you well can help you to understand yourself. However, the person who knows you best is still you. No one else can enter into your head or experience your emotions. That privilege is yours alone.
But what happens when you lose sight of your identity? Many teenagers struggle to find this. Honestly, most adults seem to still search for it as well. We seem to be uneasy with ourselves and eager to understand more. Unfortunately, people rarely take the time to discovery who they are.
That is why I find this coping skill of making a collage of yourself so helpful. There are many ways to tap into who you are and evaluate your values, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and points of view on different issues. This is just one that I especially enjoy.
Making a collage is a simple but fun process. For years, this was the only type of art that I was brave enough to do. Even if your collage turns out messy, it looks fine. That is the beauty of putting together a collage. There is no need to great artistic talent or training. You simply need to pick out things that speak to you and put them together.
There are multiple ways to make a collage. They might sound funny (partly because I gave them obvious names), but I hope that you can find one that you like. Here are a few that you can try with any modifications or combinations:
- Glued-On Collage – Cut out items from magazines, print pictures off of the computer, or find random small objects. Then arrange and glue these things onto a piece of paper. This is probably the most popular collage method.
- Tear Collage – Rip up colored pieces of paper or pictures. Then make them into a picture and glue them onto a sheet. Tearing the paper can help fight against perfectionism and get out emotions.
- Person Collage – Draw a body. Then put into pictures into different areas that help represent who you are. For example, put a bird near your mouth if you like to sing.
- Multi-Medium Collage – Use as many mediums and items as you want to create a collage of yourself. Photographs, stickers, flower petals, crayons – go all out with this.
- Photograph Collage – Arrange photos together that are significant to you. This can be done in a scrapbook to preserve the memories.
- 3D Collage – Find objects around your home that represent you. Then group them together and take a picture.
The most important element of these collages is that you need to find things that speak to you. Sometimes you will pick obvious items that you know you love. Other times, a random object might stand out to you. Try to go with how you feel and not analyze it until the end.
After you are done, look at your collage and think about each element of it. What surprises you? Is there anything that is amusing, frightening, confusing, or calming? How do the things that you chose affect your daily life?
Over the years, I have made many collages for myself and others. Each time, new parts of my personality are uncovered. I encourage you to try making one for yourself. If you would like, share the results and what you learned.