Business Card Of Grief: a creative prompt

FOREWORD: For clarity sake, I stress here -- because apparently offense has been taken when I have previously shared this prompt in other formats -- this is NOT actually my business card!! I do not hand these out to anyone. This is a creative prompt, an expression of grief where I was exploring -- and encouraging anyone else who wanted to explore -- what it would mean if we actually were REAL with the world at large about about death and grief experiences. As always, my work is not for everyone, so please, if my prompt and expression upset you, feel free to unfriend, unfollow, don't read here, or whatever you need to do.

PROMPT: Many years ago, teaching at a grief retreat, a newly bereaved mom told me that she was sick of being silent about her grief in order to be polite and keep the social awkwardness at a minimum. She was considering having a t-shirt made up that said, "Dead Baby Mom," with the black and white image of her dead baby's footprints under it. I LOOOOVED that idea and made note of it in my notebook. She is the inspiration for this creative prompt.

There is so much speculation and judgment about grief, how we express grief, what is healthy, and what is socially acceptable. Sometimes the truly unhealthy stuff is actually coming from trying to conform your grief to some set of rules or another. The therapists consult their diagnosis books and say, "You have 2 weeks." The social workers consult their resources and tell us, "Grief has 5 stages." Our friends and family tell us how hard the first year will be, but often never realize how hard it is to face the second year. It is often socially unacceptable to talk about how the second year is a killer because this is when you realized that EVERY year for the rest of your life will be like this. The dead person will not come back in any of the following years.

Of course our perspectives shift and change as we learn and grow ourselves. We become our own best advocates and start to find our way. BUT the initial hindrances of grief etiquette can feel extremely constricting. Like wearing a whale bone corset 24/7.

So this creative prompt is asking you to be honest about wherever you are in your grief experience. If you shed the polite stuff, what would your business card really say? What t-shirt would you really wear? When you attend events and have to fill in those "My Name Is..." stickers, what would you really like to write?

Try actually making up a mock up of one of these like I've done with the business card image in this post. You can do it up digitally on your computer OR get out the paper, scissors, glue, and markers and begin playing. Use up old business cards by using the blank backs to make your business card of grief. Have a few of those random name stickers in a drawer? Take one out and write what you really want to write. Cut out paper in the shape of a t-shirt and write what you want across it. OR take an old t-shirt, turn it inside out or backwards. Write on it with a sharpie marker!

You get the idea. Give yourself permission to express what you actually want to express about your grief and life experiences. Even if it is only art that you make in private for you and yours to see. Even that is a first step away from the constrictions!

If you are looking for other creative prompts to explore your grief experiences, take a look at the eBooks we have available in our Shop.

[originally published at Radical Creativity - July 27, 2010]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak it!