My older sister barged into my room wanting to be "buddies" with me. She saw that I had a sketchbook in my hand and demanded that I show her what I had drawn. I told her I didn't want to. She blew up and forced me to show her the sketchbook. When she saw the drawing she looked disgusted and said, "You're sick". She threw down the sketchbook like it was a piece of trash and stormed out of my bedroom without any other words. I was a freshman in high school at the time of this incident. The drawing depicted an ugly man in dark sunglasses wielding a knife. In front of him was a gagged and bound woman. Next to her was a card that read, "Merry Christmas!". The man was about to kill her.

Rage welled up inside of me. My sister thought I was a sick, deranged individual to take pleasure in making a drawing like this. She didn't understand me. She didn't understand that I had no pleasure in creating such a drawing. She didn't understand the enormous pain I carried inside of me that tortured me every minute of every day. She didn't understand that I wanted to get the poison of my pain outside of me and that I was trying to do that through images.

I hated my sister. I hated her arrogance. I hated her disrespect. I hated her barging into the privacy of my bedroom. I hated her demands for me to obey and comply. I hated her condemnations, judgments, criticisms, and put downs. I hated my own weakness to stand up against her. I hated my inability to fight back in word or deed. I hated my pain, lonliness and sadness. I hated the source from which that drawing emerged. I hated being in a family that did not provide the trust, safety, support and love to help me deal with my overwhelming thoughts and feelings.

What was the drawing trying to express?
1. The ugly man: he is the evil I face within and without me. He is the moral, mental and emotional turmoil in my life. He is my sadness, lonliness and pain. He is an invader and destroyer of my life. He is a thief who steals my joy, peace, stability and sanity of my life. He is my desire for death.

2. The bound and gagged woman: she is my helplessness, powerlessness and vulnerability to be controlled, used and abused. She is trapped in a place that should be safe, secure and comfortable but is, in fact, a place of danger, threat and anxiety.
She is my inability to understand and cope with my sufferings and passions.

3. The Merry Christmas card: it is the joy, love, help, support, understanding, forgiveness, acceptance and value I should have as a God created human being but is not present in my family.