I went to a pottery class last week by @centerpottery , aptly named Find Your Center. It was a suggestion my therapist & I explored in our last session to diversify and enhance my healing process, but I was terrified because I'm generally not good with hands-based arts. I came in prepared to start from the bottom but it wasn't my kinaesthetic abilities that would be put to the test, but my need for a sense of control.
Now pottery is hard, especially for beginners, but I still came in with expectations and a vision of what I wanted to achieve. The very first time I got on the wheel and started handling my clay, just as it got to a point where I thought I was doing alright, the whole structure collapsed. As in, pancake flat miserably collapsed. I remember not being able to take my feet off the pedal that controls the wheel and just watched my failed attempt spin round and round and round and trying to clamp down a panic attack.
The trainer then came up to me and gently told me, "It's okay. You did good. You can try again. Go and wash up and take a new piece of clay." _
I washed up, hid in the toilet to calm down for a bit, drank some water, and tried again. I looked around and saw that dammit, everyone's trying their best too and we're learning.
My second attempt kinda collapsed again, but I managed to salvage a part of it and make it into a bowl. The third one was bigger than the second one but it collapsed inwards and I couldn't fix it. And then the final attempt, of which by then I'd managed to learn to switch my mind off of what I needed it to be and just allowed my fingers to feel through the process, came out pretty damn good. It was a slow process to get to the point when it was therapeutic but I guess that's the whole point - to overcome that mountain.
I've been struggling more lately, with the ptsd coming back crashing in waves and not being able to sleep well with nightmares and waking up to panic attacks, but I'm taking the chance to be kind to myself and to let go of the need to control because it just adds on to the difficulty and also to celebrate the fact that I'm more aware and clear now of my triggers. [ctd below]