Throughout May we held our first Journal and Art club!
Each week a group of MRKHers got together (virtually) for an hour to sit and journal, create, reflect or make art using (if they wanted to!) some of the prompts we provided.
It can often feel hard to sit and do something for an hour without distraction or overthinking and thoughts getting in the way of the mindful task at hand. We found that sitting together was such a wonderful way of not feeling alone, and created a safe space for people to untap their thoughts using whichever medium they chose.
Below is a summary of the 5 weeks, and we hope to continue the club in the future!
Lockdown and Mental health, ideas and prompts:
- A poem. journal entry or piece of art (collage, painting, drawing, doodle, blog- anything you choose) dedicated to mental health, lockdown and MRKH
- Your "brain storm" - our metaphor prompt for art/writing is imagining your mind going through the "Lockdown weather" (sunny moments/cold moments/storms/rainbows- you get the jist!)
Food for thought for your project:
- How has your feelings about MRKH changed during Lockdown? Do you feel you've had more time to process and connect with others?
- What impact has the pandemic had on your mental health?
- How has the pandemic made you feel?
- What are the positives of having time alone with your thoughts (and what are the negatives)
- How have you coped with your mental health?
-What have you learned about yourself this past year?
At this club Ellamae did a painting, and others did journaling and poetry writing! It was really lovely to sit and reflect how we'd been feeling (especially about MRKH) during lockdown.
"Fertility and your womb space". Here's some food for thought:
Fertility and your womb space
As we are born without the majority of our uterus, how does that make you feel?
What is that space filled with (maybe it's love, emptiness, compassion, anything else?)
What does "fertility" mean for you and how has it impacted your life (negatively or positively or both)
How did you feel on diagnosis day VS how you feel now?
If you're not journaling/writing here's some art ideas tog get your creative juices flowing:
Think of the uterus shape- maybe you could create a painting or collage or draw the shape of the uterus and stick/paint/draw or doodle everything that represents your feelings inside it?
How about art or a doodle of your own body?
A poem about what has filled your "womb space" since being diagnosed with MRKH- maybe it was emptiness at the start but slowly there's been things that you've learned and grown with?
How about using this weeks "connect with nature" mental health theme as a vision for your womb space?
Here's the art Aysha made:
Sex and Pleasure!
On week 3 we watched two (non MRKH) Ted X talks whilst journaling or creating art. Ellamae spoke to us first about the misconception that the word "sex" is penetration, but sex is so much more. Dilating and treatment does not "enable" sex, but rather penetrative sex. MRKHers are born with all the pleasure organs we need, with or without a vagina we are never without pleasure as we have a vulva and a clitoris.
At the event, Charlie Bishop wrote a poem which she later finished and shared with us - check it out here. We absolutely love this poem and it sums up MRKH and sex perfectly- thank you Charlie! https://www.instagram.com/p/CP3xV7_B0Qb/
A few of us also made vulva art (pictured above!). Making vulva art is such a fun way to connect with the power our vulvas have, they're the most amazing part of our bodies and they don't get enough credit! Our vulvas include out labia, clitoral hood and glans, urethra and vaginal opening. You can create vulva art in so many amazing ways from collage to painting.
If you wanted to connect with your vulva even further, we suggest using a hand drawn mirror and drawing your vulva! Vulvas and their labia come in so many different shapes and sizes, all vulvas are normal and beautiful. Check out the Vulva Gallery for inspo https://www.thevulvagallery.com/ and why not book onto a Vulva Origami workshop with our friend Emily? https://www.femigami.com/. Or you could even get a vulva cast! https://www.instagram.com/vivalavulvacasting/?hl=en
Let's Talk About Sex: The Reality of the Sexual Pleasure Disparity | Grace Wetzel | TEDxStLawrenceU
The unknown greatness of the clitoris:
Here's some more that we didn't watch:
LOVING YOUR BODY!
On week 4 we watched different naked women figures, and we were drawing, journaling or thinking about our own bodies as we watched: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6cLTWnbeOc&t=1382s
Here's some prompts:
A letter to your body (or different body parts):
Dear (body), FROM your mind,
I am sorry for...
I am angry at you for...
I wish you would...
I hope you understand that...
I promise to....
I love that you...
I will try to....
A letter FROM your body to your self,
Follow a similar format, but from your body
This is YOUR BODY,
Please know that....
I hope you can...
I need you to....
You get the jist ;)
Here's some more creative ideas or journal prompts to think about if you missed the club!
Doodling different body parts and writing next to them how you feel!
Think of being naked in different scenarios, write down how you'd feel
How has MRKH affected the relationship you have with your body?
What things have you done recently to show your body you love it?
Remember a time you have not loved your body, what were you thinking?
Looking in the mirror (privately!) and drawing your own body
Painting a woman's body (does not have to be your own!)
A collage of a body including words that represent the relationship with your body
Think of the body parts you do not like about yourself, and draw lots of different variations of them!
A body poem!
Disclosure in the MRKH world means telling someone else about your MRKH diagnosis and there are many different scenarios in which we might do (or not do) that, for many different reasons, and in many different ways!
Here's some prompts:
Think of someone who you have told- what were your initial fears? How did you tell them? Would you change anything about how you told them? How did you feel afterwards?
Compare your disclosure stories as a 16 year old till now, how did you feel? How do you feel differently now?
Think of a future scenario, or someone you have not told yet or might need to tell in the future- what are your fears? What do yo hope the reaction will be?
Plan your disclosure script- what will you say? what will you not say? How would you feel if they googled "MRKH"? What questions might they ask?
BOUNDARIES- What do you not want to talk about? How can you make sure they know you're not ready to talk about part of your MRKH?
You can use this sheet to look at different scenario examples if you want! https://e9a80ac0-f696-4afb-8c3b-55b6f39dae2a.filesusr.com/ugd/4f9607_7f260d2c917b4ea98849bc149ffddfc1.pdf
If you ever have had, or ever have a negative reaction to disclosing MRKH, how will you cope? Write your PLAN OF ACTION (Things to remember, affirmations to remind yourself of, who you would go to)
Imagine if you didn't have MRKH, and someone wrote you a letter telling you they had MRKH- write a letter in response to them.
Think of all the positive things about sharing your experiences, what could come out of it? Maybe the person feels more open with you about their own lives? What other benefits could you get in life from telling others about your MRKH?
What is your biggest fear and how are you going to tackle that - write down some steps you might take to get past that fear!
Disclosure is a tricky one for art but you may want to create your very own disclosure card (for different scenarios)! It could include a diagram of your body, a short description of MRKH, things you're not ready to talk about, and maybe even reasons you're scared to tell them!
Here's an example https://www.mindovermrkh.org/disclosurecard of one we made for Mind Over MRKH that lots of girls have used to share with medical professionals when they find it hard to talk about :) (edit due as we missed out Kidneys for type 2!)
Our lovely friend and co-creator of Mind Over MRKH made this disclosure card!