The Unspoken Story

There are stories we hold near and dear to our hearts but are too personal to tell to the general public. What if there was a language where you could tell your story but didn’t have to feel raw, naked, or revealed? You do have that language; that language is art.

Obviously there have been public displays of art that are quite revealing. I started my textile art life as a traditional quilter. Serving as the manager of an HIV/AIDS program I was very aware of the AIDS Quilt. This was a place where families could create a 3’x6’ panel commemorating the life of someone who died of AIDS. The individual panels would be connected to create larger panels and they would be ceremoniously unfolded and displayed to the public.

I volunteered as an emotional support person at a few showings of the AIDS Quilt. It was an amazing experience because the panels were so representative of the lives led by those who died. The panels were timelines about the person who died. It’s amazing what you can learn about someone from a piece of art.

On the other hand, when things in life have been too painful to share; sharing it through art can be a way to purge the experience from the body and lighten the soul. It also allows us to tell secrets about our lives that are encrypted. That’s the beauty of art; we can create it and others can interpret it any way they desire. We, the artist, don’t have to acknowledge or deny the interpretation.

When I was doing my dissertation I was in contact with Lilly pharmaceuticals. They do an art exhibit, Oncology on Canvas, by those diagnosed with cancer. I reached out to them to see about interviewing the artists, but they declined because the pieces in the exhibit were anonymous. Anonymity is another way to tell your unspoken story, but create a work of art that reveals your deepest experiences.

Our stories need to be told, but they don’t have to be told verbally. There are plenty of unspoken ways to tell the story of your life on your path to personal health and healing. It also can be a part of releasing what you feel is holding you back in moving your life forward to personal, emotional, and spiritual freedom!

How have you told your story through art? As a community we need to support each other in the unfolding process. Feel free to email me at


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