16.7.17

what the health

A few weeks ago, I was given the news that I'm lugging around a cyst larger than my own fist. Despite the cuteness in rhyming, this was a bit of a surprise, even if I have to admit that I knew something was very wrong with my body for a long time. Since sharing this news openly on social media, I thought I'd take some time to write more about it; as I've been asked a lot of questions in regards to the signs, the process, and what happens next. In short, it's a long road ahead... as it also took a long one to get here. All I have to say, to shorten the detailed story ahead, is to get a second opinion if and when you ever think your body is trying to tell you something. Tests are scary, but the answers could save you a lot of trouble in the future. Don't hesitate.



I've always been very body aware, and I like to keep in check by going for annual physicals, monthly therapy, checkups, check ins, to ensure that everything is functioning properly and in good condition. I mean really, if we provide maintenance to our cars when the parts are in need of care; we should also do the same for our bodies. It's that simple, in my mind. From physical health, to mental health, it's all the same to me. I keep up with all that I can, to make sure I'm healthy and on top of my game. The more you learn about your body and how it functions, the sooner you'll know when something is in need of attention.


The struggle for answers started last summer, as I was getting sick every few weeks (possibly to do with my monthly cycle) where I experienced massive headaches, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and body fluids that were not of my usual norm. I was incredibly frustrated by it, and also tried to solve the issue on my own, because my doctor wasn't helping. Fortunately, the vomiting stopped when I switched to purified water (scary, living in a building with old plumbing), but I really do wonder if my fluctuating illness had more to do with my body adjusting to this foreign beast in my reproductive organs. Hormones work in incredible ways. Anything that goes out of whack, you don't have to wait long for your body to show you the signs.


To be honest, the struggle really took a toll on my self esteem, because I was dealing with stuff I didn't understand. It got so bad that it eventually stood in the way of anything intimately related; because of the discomfort and even the embarrassment of unexpected reactions. I knew that something was wrong, but because my doctor insisted (without running physical tests) that it was "just an infection" or that there was "nothing to worry about" I'd carry on and hope for the best. This sort of disappointment really adds up over time. I felt like I was out-of-order, and started to drift from even knowing myself anymore. Talking about symptoms without tests to confirm is about as handy as finding your own diagnosis, online. (Believe me, I went there, and it didn't help at all.) After months of running in circles with the same doctor, I decided it was time for a second opinion. I wanted real answers, and most of all, I wanted my body/life/health back.


This time around, I specifically chose a female doctor. I figured if my issues were hormonally related, or an actual infection (like the last guy kept saying, and prescribing) someone with the same parts as me would probably know better. I mean really, ladies, we know when sh*t ain't right downstairs! Once I got in for my meet-and-greet with my new doctor, discussed family history, and my issue of concern, she set up an appointment for a physical to get things rolling. Poke, poke, pee in a cup, it's that simple. And just like that, within the week, I was called back for discussion. Nerve wracking to get that callback, but I figured at this point in time, I'd rather be told there is something wrong than another round of no answers and a slap of an unnecessary drug to make me feel like something is being resolved.


The first sign of concern was my urine test. It came back with signs of red blood cells. This can be an indicator to things like kidney stones, tumours, infection, blood in the urine. Red flag. So, the next step was to explore those areas for more answers. Guys, this is what doctors do! Fast forward through 3 hours of ultrasounds and scans, and mammograms (apparently this cyst has affected a lot of my body) we found a variety of small cysts in my breasts, and one 4 inch culprit clinging to my left ovary. The ones in my breasts aren't of major concern (benign) and will be monitored in months to come. They could even go away once the big one is removed from my ovary, because of the hormones involved. Amazing how bodies work, hey?


So, what now? Well, more tests, to determine if there are any major concerns; like my kidneys being at risk of interference or infection. Incredibly, my CT scan for those answers has to wait until the end of September, and the remaining tests will run again in 6 months (following surgery) to make sure that the other cysts don't increase in size. I think the bigger concern has to do with my kidneys. Either there's a blockage (like a stone or another cyst) in the way, or the 4 inch bastard is just taking up space and interfering with proper function. Of course, the best situation would be the latter. That way, surgery can be kept simple by evicting the unwanted tenant, and I can just let my body return back to itself. Ugh. What a mess!

In the meantime, I have friends on call in case of any emergencies. I am at risk of my cyst getting tangled up, or even bursting, so if I experience any pain... it's time to go to the hospital. That part is a bit scary, but it's out of my control. I'm just happy to know there is help if and when I need it. The universe presents these sorts of gifts as a reminder, it's all going to be just fine. I am loved.


And so, that's what's up. The waiting game kind of stinks, but I will say that I'm grateful for my friends and family, and this beautiful summer we are having. I see summer as a time of personal growth and expansion, so I'm taking it all in while I can. Really, if I'm going to heal from surgery, I'd rather it be at a time where I can comfortably curl up with blankets... instead of during a time when I'd rather be outside, or sprawled in front of an oscillating fan. With my new surroundings, in my new home, with my loved ones within reach; it has brought me an incredible amount of inner peace and balance that couldn't have come at a better time. In comparison to the mess of 2016, I feel so grounded and optimistic. Despite what is to come, the occasional worry, exhaustion, frustration, sadness, and fear (yes, it is scary) I feel lucky to have been provided with answers that lead me forward and to a better place. One day at a time, we'll get there!


As a side note, I decided to set up a GoFundMe so that I can clear out some of the external clutter around me (prints!) so that I can give back to those who have so willingly offered to help in any way possible. Nothing heals me more than sharing the love. Already, prints are clearing out, for as little as $10, which is going into savings for the approaching downtime I'll need to recover. You can read all about it, by following the link.

Thank you all for being there for me. It means more than you know.

26.6.17

true colours


A couple of years ago, I decided to start an art project that changed my life entirely. I feel that all struggles can be conquered if we put them out in front of us. For me, I use art. It's how I've come to heal and understand myself. This project is incredibly special to me, and it makes me feel beyond vulnerable to share it, because I chose to use my body as a medium. The great thing about vulnerability is that when you face it, it transforms into strength. I would like to think this could somehow help others understand their personal struggles with their bodies, like I learned about my own. Regardless of the outcome, I really want to share this experience. So here I am, coming out from hiding.


For years, I'd struggled with confidence and body image. From how I valued my body, to how I reacted to the world around me. I could tell that I was hiding from something. It was difficult to face at first, but that's the reason why I set up personal challenges to begin with. To change. I wanted to see my body as something more than I allowed myself to see. A piece of art, maybe even something engaging, something beautiful. It's amazing, that due to our experiences, we can really struggle to see our beauty at all.


I feel so many women could take something from this project, because we rarely see ourselves as anything remotely positive. We can point out our flaws and imperfections, and yet, so many of us have so much to be proud of. I find this lacking gratitude toward ourselves to be sad and unnecessary, and yet I did the same. I still struggle. To get to the bottom of it, I decided to take my feelings and flip them on me, by showing myself what was hiding on the inside. Going back to the very beginning, I see how far I've come since then.
(Deep breaths.) Here we go.


I threw on a layer of paint as a sort of barrier of protection. I find it funny that I actually felt terribly uncomfortable to be completely naked, even in the privacy of my own home. As my first photo illustrates (above), I was super nervous... maybe even a bit terrified. Still, I knew what my intentions were, and chose to continue to explore the light, and what angles I needed, in order to create the image I was looking for. I didn't go in with a specific plan, but I was hoping to make something visually inspiring that could alter my view of myself. Finding that took some time. 

I enjoy that the first colour I started with, was white. White is a colour of innocence, purity, new beginnings. As I look back at the first image, it really does touch a soft spot in my heart. This was a time when I had no idea how to view myself as anything more than what I was allowing myself to see. The more I ventured into the light (literally), the more I started to see how easy it was to alter my perspective. No one was telling me I wasn't enough, no one had said I was unworthy, ugly, or whatever I was trying to carry on my shoulders for no reason. It's when I realized that my own negative views were my own choice. The only one standing in my way,
was myself. 


And then, I finally stepped into the light. Eventually, I found an image where I caught myself by surprise, thinking, "oh wow, that's me?!" It felt a little wrong to feel so positively at first, but yet, being proud of ourselves is something we all need to practice. Think of how lucky we are to be alive, never mind what we have in front of us at this very moment. I started to think of the fact that my body isn't going to look the way it does forever. I suddenly imagined my older self, looking back at this image and thinking, "yeah, girl!" Meanwhile, we so often have the tendency to avoid the moment, dodge the compliments, and compare what don't have, over what we do. It's amazing how many women I've met, who have looked at old photos of themselves and said things like, "if only I looked like that again," or "I used to be so thin." Think they felt that way about themselves when they were in the moment? Highly unlikely. Let your older self look in on you, and suddenly, you become much more than you allow your current self to see and believe in.


There seems to be a really big issue with confidence, and how it is so often mislabelled as selfishness or arrogance. Discovering my own confidence, during the process of this project, was both surprising and yet so necessary for me to see for myself. It made me realize that for a very long time, I was doing what I thought others expected of me. Like I kept myself at a certain level, so that no one would feel at all threatened by my actual capabilities. It starts on the playground, when kids are cruel. We call people names, we pick them apart; all due to our own insecurities. As adults, I still see this happening. We need to grow up! Rather than lash out at the world around you, ask what you need from yourself. When I realized my confidence, I was a little less guarded. I was free from my own negative perceptions of who I am, and what makes me a valuable person. It was a nice lesson, to be reminded that no one is out to get you. If they are, you can stand tall and be set to defend yourself. Just know, that when those defences aren't needed, we can almost aggressively keep people at bay, when we really want to let them in and share our best selves, together. 


But the truth is, I've been so prone to hiding. For over half of my lifetime I've struggled with a protective shell that comes from unfortunate experiences like abuse, abandonment, harassment, neglect, and ridicule. Those aren't easy layers to ignore, especially when our minds will work against us, to protect what has been hurt before. When people scoff and say things like, "let it go" I ask them to consider a little something called human psychology and conditioning. We don't just let go of what we know of the world when we experience certain things. It's when I get to explaining it a little differently for others to understand.


Ever meet someone who owns a rescue dog? There's something about them that is so incredibly nurturing, understanding, and patient; to see that they're urging an innocent creature out from hiding. When rescue dogs explore the new world, they do so with caution; as they've been hurt in such a way that can sometimes be paralyzing to their experiences. I say the same thing goes for people, and we need to offer that very same love and encouragement. We respond through what we know, and if you have been hurt in a way that has caused any form of trauma ... It's going to take a long time to shed that protective layer entirely and trust the world around you.


Sometimes, it never really goes away entirely, because our bodies react to the protective responses our minds create for us. Some people pack on weight, others -like I did- hide behind bulky clothing as a sort of protective shell. I realize that this is a continuing struggle for me, as I sometimes catch myself tucking away, especially from men, even when I trust them or begin to love them in my relationships. While my body might say I'm okay, my mind might not; or vice versa. With assurance, communication, respect, and patience, you can come out from hiding. Don't use your pain and experience as a shield of protection, wear it as your armour.


I'm going to say that being a woman is not an easy job. In society, there's a really funny pressure that comes with our appearances, and how being beautiful is more important than being seen as professional, or anything remotely serious. I used to devalue being a woman because I thought there was nothing good about us, except our bodies. I grew up with some pretty terrible examples to support that, so much that I had absolutely no respect for my own gender. I was just a walking body, and a man was there to do something with it. Sounds pretty harsh, but that's what I believed for a very long time. Fortunately, I've been lucky to have been proven wrong in my relationships, and the people who currently surround me and see my value. The downfall is that not all of the world agrees just yet. That's a really disappointing fact. Our world needs to grow up. It's why we need women to raise their voices about this stuff, and empower others to follow. It's why I'm here with this message.


(More deep breaths) And so, here is the image that changed my life (above.) The one I'm actually most proud of, and yet, the one I'm the most nervous to share. It's a bit... racy? Or is it? This image gave me some new words, that I didn't even consider to use when describing myself. I see it as something beautiful, strong, feminine, powerful, dare I say ... sexy(?) Me!? This image makes me see myself as so much more than I ever allowed myself to acknowledge. I look good. I felt good! I didn't know I was capable of such a feminine image.. because I'd been hiding from my own body for so long. The creeps, the pervs, the ones who make us -as women- never want to show our skin to the world, out of the fears of being put in a really terrible position of vulnerability. This image makes me feel kind of sad about how often I've hidden from expressing myself with this sort of confidence. I am blushing so hard and almost hiding my face about sharing this with the world so openly. There's nothing to be ashamed of, and yet my hands shake as I type this out. This is me, a woman, a walking, talking, Venus. I think all women need to discover their inner goddess and see it for themselves. We are far from weak. When I want to think of my brightest moment, my greatest achievement in self understanding and power, it's this image. It's my armour. 


I decided that this project will continue for a really long time, as I feel confidence takes practice in order to fully understand and embrace it. It's cool to go back to this series, which I started back in 2015, and to see that I've maintained some of the important lessons that I took from it. Like anything in this life of ours, in this complicated world, filled with experiences that shape us for the rest of our living years; we're going to have to practice how to stay on top of our game. It's why I believe that any form of weakness or personal struggle can be challenged to become something far more than a discovered strength. These are the healing powers that come with art and creation.
It's what I'm here for.


I realize that this is just the tip of the ice berg, and yet, so much more than I ever imagined to share with the world. I still have hundreds of photos of this project tucked away for myself to review, and continue to add to as I get to know myself. My message(s) may be a little lengthy and complex, but in simplest terms, I believe you have more to offer this world than you likely allow yourself to see. I've sat with this project for 2 long years, pacing, questioning, wondering if it was even worth it to share so openly. Maybe it's totally inappropriate, or too revealing, or absolutely absurd. Those opinions are yours, and we are entitled to believe all that we want; without having to fight for what is right. I'm just here to offer a voice, to share where I've learned something valuable about my strength and purpose. I hope I can touch even just one person, to take maybe a little piece of motivation from this, to understand that you got this. You are a beautiful, brave, incredible, a work of art. Show your true colours, and let them shine. You don't have to hide. The world needs you, right now.

10.5.17

the end of 36

I only have a couple of days left in 36, and I have to say that I've reflected on all that made it my best year. At least, the best that I could make of it. It most certainly wasn't my best year... 



It was a tough year, and yet there was so much good about it. I got to love and be loved, I got to grow and expand. Yet, there were a number of heavy restraints. They pushed me really hard. In many ways, they (literally) broke me. From replacing my stolen things, to being sick every other month, hurting from my living space, to running a business, keeping up with the demands, the questions, the balance, the juggling act; the not knowing where I was in my surroundings, trying to accept the changes, trying to appreciate the moment, trying to love every little piece of what kept me going, to accepting that I'd have to pack up and move again, to falling flat on my ass (broken rib). The universe told me, straight out, to just stop running. 



It was where I had to learn how to ask for help. It was so difficult for me accept it, and yet, it was fine time I got some practice. I've spent years trying to do it all on my own, in my own way, as if asking was too much for anyone to keep up with. I thought I had to give so much back in return, when the truth is that people just want to love you. Closeness was so difficult to accept, when I felt I couldn't give back my best. Those who love you don't ask for payback. Care is honest. Love is truth. I had absolutely no idea how to accept it, when I felt embarrassed for being less of myself. I had to accept that when things break down, it's okay to go with it. Let it happen. Let it be. It's part a part of life. Love is there to heal.


It was a year that I learned my personal strengths, hidden within my weaknesses. No matter the struggle, I pushed my focus to the better side of things. There's damage in optimism when you choose not to see the truth behind what's hurting you. I was pushed around on unsteady ground, surrounded by noise, chaos, and tension. I didn't know that my living space hurt me that badly, until I left it. I was scrambling for a place to land, while clinging to something so unsteady. Let the falls be part of the process. It has increased my optimism to believe that these moments are meant to teach valuable lessons. I learned a big lesson about the importance of home. It needs to be safe, supportive, secure, and steady. If it's not... the disconnect is very tough to live with. No amount of optimism will save you. Damn, I tried so hard.


I was given the gift of a loving heart. It held me tight. It told me everything would be fine. It took me in when I needed shelter. It gave me wings to fly. It always encouraged me upward. It showed me the truth of simple, lasting, love. It gave me more than I could ever put into words. Companionship, strength, understanding, truth, structure, trust, honesty, beauty, simplicity, connection, family, play, exploration, creativity, expansion, growth, care, balance, openness, vulnerability, hope, acceptance.... A never ending list of discoveries. This is the part of my 36 that I choose to take with me. It's what kept me smiling through all of the incredible challenges. I learned that it's okay to just let love in. Even if it's a scary thing to accept. 


Photo by Scott Townend

I learned to accept this love from all directions. I visited my roots. I surrounded myself with family, to bring myself back to where it all started. I'd spent a long time running from it without reason. There were things I didn't want to revisit, and yet those things had been put to rest. Nothing can hurt me anymore. I took a deep breath, and I chose to go forth. I chose to accept the changes that have delivered an incredible list of experience. I am loved, and there's beauty in knowing that no matter where I am, and no matter the shape I take, I have a loving place to rest. I am so grateful for knowing where I come from. It's where I acknowledge my core, and view my truth. I come from a good place, with a little bit of grit around the edges. It's the imperfections that bring about a beautiful surface. I learned to accept that even from myself.


I got to experience the absolute importance of what I do. To see how my art, which is my heart and soul, can affect the hearts of others... No words can describe it for what it is. I honestly can't express the gratitude I have toward these experiences, because they run deep. They're things that only I can know for myself and why they touch me the way that they do. They are the memories that I'll carry with me forever, without any doubt. I'm still learning to let go of how absolutely overwhelming it is to know that what I do has so much meaning. I can't.. I really can't express it. I just know I have a whole lot to be proud of, and that's going to take some time for me to process. The value in what I do has absolutely nothing to do with dollar amounts. Memories like this ... yes, they're priceless. I got a whole lot of gifts of gratitude in 36. It goes both ways.


I learned that I have a very emotional job. For an emotional person, this can be a really tricky balance. My heart is expansive, and yet it has its limits. With what I do, I have to balance out all that I give, and practice giving it back to myself in return when it is needed. My job deals with a lot of loss and heartache, and so life and death are a constant reminder that this is what we're here to do. I've drawn probably hundreds of pets and loved ones who are no longer with us. This can actually cause me to stop, breakdown, and cry directly into the faces of those who are in front of me. I don't like to be reminded that all is temporary.. and yet, it's where I learn to appreciate every waking moment that I am given. There is a lesson behind all hurt, and I'm grateful to be able to relieve others of their own personal heartache through the joy of making art. I wish to continue to do this through my living days, but a break is necessary for some breathing room. I'm just glad to realize that there is so much love in this world. Far more than I ever anticipated to discover. 


In the mix of it all, I was still scrambling. I was hanging on tight to where I wanted to land, and yet that landing space was pushing me out. My home was telling me to leave, as I was trying to stay. I'd come home from a place that also pushed me out (the island). One, I left without hesitation, to come back to where I couldn't let go. The difficult lesson in it all was that I was returning as a different person, and all that was familiar, was no longer. The disconnect made me really confused, and I even clung to the thought that maybe I needed to be back on that island again.. even if the push was toward all that I wanted. I didn't know what that was. I really didn't even know how to look for it.. until I had to. I was pushed out again, and I grew even more resentful of the instability. Like floating and falling into distress, with absolutely no place to land.  It's tough when you don't know where you belong, or even who you are anymore. I felt so lost and, at times, completely alone. It was an entirely new shell of isolation that I didn't want any part of. Like floating away from earth itself.


Of course, I eventually landed. Sometimes, it happens when you least expect it, and sometimes things have to reach a certain level of uncontrollable chaos before it finally comes to a halt. It's like stepping, blinded, into the colourful world of Oz, after a black and white cyclone has taken you for a spin. I finally landed. My mind is at a resting place, my legs no longer wobble beneath me, my fingers no longer scramble to cling to a surface that is pushing me away. It's calling me in. It's like I arrived, at last, to place where I am not only home; but where I am whole. I see so much of what was calling for me, right here, waiting. I now have room to grow, a place to breathe, space to expand and reach further into the wild unknown with a firmer grip on where I belong. It's like the best of both of my worlds just presented themselves in front of me. The welcoming expanse of nature (like the island), and a place I know to call home. It's different than what it was before, but it's more of who I am today. It's the end of a blurry 36, and the beginning of a clearer, welcoming, 37. It's like the universe spoke up again and said what it told me from the start, just stop running. It's time to relax. Be free. 


Go be 37.

23.4.17

art work


A couple of weeks ago, I got myself a pack of 10 canvases. Considering I haven't had much of a relationship with painting -lately- it was a bit of a weird choice to go so overboard with my purchase. They were cheap, and a series was calling me. When I finally spread out my materials, shut off my distractions, put on my paint clothes, and decided to let my paintbrush do the talking, I saw something that surprised me.  I was coming from a place of distress. 


It has been a struggle to openly admit that I'm tired of the world. The anger, the immaturity, the pussy hats, the fighting, the pointing fingers, the war, the competition for who is hurting the most. It's so tiresome, and I don't feel I have to be part of it on a daily basis to classify as caring. Happiness is a recipe we all want to get our hands on, yet it is bashed and trashed for being too much. It's not a competition. I've decided that if I can't control the sanity of the world, I can at least control my own. 


Since becoming a paid artist, the disconnect from work and art have come to blur my vision. For years now, I've been doing it in an entirely different way from what is natural to me. My skills haven't improved, my drive no longer exists, I'm following lists of instructions from someone else's vision, in some ways I'm even dumbing it down so far below my capabilities just to play it safe for what is acceptable. Art isn't about reading minds, or doing what you're told. At least not for me. Ask any artist about custom orders and they'll likely tell you the same story. So soon as we're asked for reason, we shut down. It's what I believe kills creativity to begin with.


I've struggled with seeing the value of my position, even though there are a number of incredible artists who I look up to.  I don't know how to put myself in a higher position, or even see myself as intelligent, or brave enough to firmly believe that what I have to offer has far more value than a marketed price tag. It's where my confidence falls short, where I don't trust even my own voice, and why I'm pushing harder to understand what it is that keeps us standing in our own way.  All at once, I'm discovering my true value. This is a push to move forward. 


This is still a growing practice, putting myself out there. I don't even know where I'm going with it. All I know is that a lot of struggles are going on under the surface, along with what is going on outside. It's not easy to keep up with, and I feel that now is the time to really find the strength to get through this. You are in more control than you are led to believe. 


I'm here to help you.

13.4.17

the art of healing

I feel we could all use some time to acknowledge our strengths. In this busy world, it often takes an actual effort to make time for ourselves; where it becomes too simple to look past all of those things that really matter. The world has been in a flip floppy place. Emotions are high, feelings are vulnerable, and the tension is thick. I'd say it's almost toxic to get too close to it right now, and so, I'm pulling at my own heart to hear it out, and heal. It's time.


If there's one thing I'm good at, it's healing. The downside is that I had to learn through some really unfortunate experiences. I've been told that I'm more optimistic than I allow myself to believe, because when things become a natural habit, we often forget that not everyone feels or believes or behaves the same. Optimism isn't an easy thing to hang onto, when life gets real, and throws a punch or two in your direction. We can get totally knocked off of our feet, and have no idea when we'll land. It's when I call upon my creativity, to map out the journey to get there. I suppose that's a gift I should be more grateful for. I don't know what I'd do without it.


It's why I want to share more. It's something I feel people can get some real closure from, to express in their own way; once we get rid of rationalizing and trying to understand everything. I'm a great over thinker, but I never block myself from feeling it out.  If I did, I likely wouldn't be drawing anymore. It's why I feel sort of sad when I hear people say that they "can't" draw, when it's really a matter of trying. I feel creativity is what keeps our hearts alive and happy. Look at how kids play with their imaginations. I'm pretty sure most of us were like that at some point. I don't believe in ever letting that go.


When my grandma died, it was probably the biggest life altering experience ever. I had no idea how I was going to go on without her, and sometimes, even after 20 years, I think of her and wish I could sit at her kitchen table and just chat for hours. It's what we did best. When that was gone, it was absolutely like I'd lost such a part of myself that would never return. Loss has an incredible impact on so much around us, never realizing how much it takes from us, as we move forward as different people. This is life, and it's not easy to accept at all times. I just like to remember that I've gotten through it, and to a better place since then. I didn't think it was possible. I have my art to thank for that. It literally painted a picture of everything I was feeling underneath the surface. That's the beauty.. You get to see it all in front of you as you let it all out into the open. What's more special is that it's all yours to know, see, feel, and understand. It sort of builds a special relationship all over again, that no one but you will ever know.


I painted pictures of trees. It's something my grandma once said she'd like to come back as, if given the chance; so she could continue to provide for her family. We never planted a tree, but I chose to look at my surroundings as a comforting presence to bring her closer to me, for my own healing. The more I painted trees, the more I accepted that this was the shape she would forever remain. It's of course not the same as who I remember, but something I can go to if I ever need to get through those lumps of coping with life and death. It closes those gaps of distance that we have no control over. I am so appreciative for all of my tree paintings. I think it might be time to make another one, just to see how much has changed. I'm sure my grandma would be proud of who I am today.


I use my creativity to get through personal challenges. When I was heading to the island, in 2015, I drifted into isolation, and yet my art went into outer space. I realized my fears and curiosities of the unknown, and let it be a part of me. I was moved by Bowie's Space Oddity because the words inspired me to take the leap into an unfamiliar place, just to see what I could discover for myself. I will never forget the drive, and hearing that first strum of the guitar to start me on my journey. An image came to mind, my thoughts exploded, and before I could rest on the first night I arrived, I was in my sketchbook, recording these thoughts. This will always be a moment in life that I'll value forever. It's when I changed entirely, and found who I am. I sometimes still don't know who that is, but I know if I need guidance, I can pick up a pen and see for myself. 


Art is an act of expression, and it speaks in many volumes. It can come in the form of a painting, drawing, a song, a sculpture, a poem.. endless mediums that bring an incredible amount of healing and emotional discovery. I hate to admit that when shit gets bad, I look at it as an opportunity to make great things. It's like the Trump stuff. We're all sick of it, we're all fearful; but we can laugh for a moment at someone's comical depiction of him; because we need that relief from our feelings. It doesn't mean we don't care, it's just a reminder that we can find laughter in the face of so much negativity and in some ways terror. I just don't believe we have to be in that thick of emotion, in order to be a part of society. It's why I said that when Trump was elected, the world is going to have some amazing art to share. 


I'm looking to express, and practice more of my strengths; because the point of this post was for my own personal reminder. Healing takes time, and I believe we all go through moments of absolute despair and frustration. If you are in need of some relief from the real world, pick up a pen, sit down at your piano, dig out those scrap pieces of fabric, scissors, ink, a new journal for your thoughts. Don't deny your creativity the time to speak. If you're hurt, alone, sad, broken, beat; now is the time to pull out your finest.You know you have it in you, and so do I. There is so much to share with the world around you. It needs more love. 

I'm here for you.