Tamera Anderson-Hanna is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addiction Professional, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and became a Registered Yoga Teacher while coping with breast cancer in 2015. She owns Wellness, Therapy, & Yoga in Florida where she provides personal wellness services and coaching and she is a public speaker on wellness-related topics. You can connect with her at www.wellnesstherapyyoga.com.
COVID-19 has upended how cancer survivors can interact with each other, but through a virtual party and some art therapy, one survivor details the new ways of finding community.
2020 has been a challenge for many of us.
To help pass time this summer, and build supportive connections with fellow survivors, I arranged an online paint party. I love art and find painting and making stained glass and other such projects therapeutic. I was craving socialization, so I had the idea to combine art therapy with socializing and sought out a private group to help arrange a professional paint party.
It was just my luck that a local nipple tattoo artist known in my town shares a business with her partner, in which they were offering live wine and paint parties before COVID-19 entered into our lives. Being unable to tattoo during the lockdown, the ladies moved their business idea online and began hosting paint parties along with shipping out paint packages for children, adults and their families. Needless to say, they were open to my idea of hosting a private paint party for myself and a group of fellow cancer survivors.
The event was fun and therapeutic. The theme for the painting was a butterfly, due to the idea of transformation as those of us who participated were breast cancer survivors. They provided all of the supplies to anyone in need, and the template to get us started with our creation based on a common theme. The project was personalized with our adding any ribbons correspondent to the colors of cancer we were diagnosed with, and maybe wanted to add.
My painting followed a suggestion for colors we were given in our paint kit and it was outlined in a blue. The blue represented to me support and light blue is the color for prostate cancer, which my husband was diagnosed with last year. While I would have never asked for a cancer diagnosis, I have not regretted what I gained from the experience—the friendship and camaraderie of several fellow cancer survivors.
Together, we learn to laugh, cry if needed and help one another when experiencing all the steps to our cancer journey. The group I painted with was started by a lovely fellow survivor, Patricia, who began Link of Hope Sista’s after her own breast cancer journey. As for the two lovely artists who ran our event, Art for Good Paint Parties continues to offer online painting and Suzanne is gratefully back to the incredible work she provides as a Professional Nipple Tattoo artist in Miami.
Together, we found a way to support one another during yet another journey which was COVID-19. My finished art piece, which I have submitted for consideration for the 2021 Cure Hues of Color Contest, is entitled Journey Transformed. Maybe the lesson in life is we get the opportunity to grow from our experiences and some of the most difficult can lead to beautiful new beginnings and experiences.