As I sit with my iPad jotting thoughts into a pages document, it is rather hard to believe I am writing my second ‘Looking Back Blog’. I am of course as you are reading the words and that is a good thing. In other ways it isn’t surprising to me at all, as time is something that moves forward in the background of my lifestyle like static on a 1970’s t.v set past midnight.
Last year in 2020, I learned first hand the intricacies of acceptance and housebound living, very monumental tasks for those of us that live with chronic illness and disability. Oh not to forget, I also had mostly black and brown hairs on my head as I wrote the words into the blog. It was the beginning of my authentic self, au natural hair colour. Although I don’t follow time traditionally I am always moving forward, living in the present and accepting moments my body gives me with ability. This year I moved along and forward with the ever growing longer strands of silver and grey hair. Such fun!
The days of the year revealed an ongoing interlacing theme like fine Victorian lace. The year became the first time since the onset of my illness four years ago which seems such a long long time ago, that I was able to focus on achievements and successes other than my health. You see my health achievements and successes are very minuscule & invisible like my chronic illness and disability.
Health has become more about stabilization, not regressing backwards into flares or a miraculous big visible recovery which isn’t going to ever happen. As long as I am not regressing into a flare then I don’t need to spend my energy thinking about health. I know how to live my day with pacing and rest and that is what I do, always. Finally, I was able to get off the spinning hamster wheel of setbacks in health and stabilize. What this allowed for was pure passion, happiness and creative flow. My hair remained the most visual representation of my achievements in the beginning of the year, salt and pepper would describe it best.
The whole year of 2021 was filled with the joy of creative flow as well as shiny silver grey flowing hair. I was able through pace, stop, rest routines begin my hand literally at painting small panels sized 4 in x 6 in using mixed media. To my complete surprise people were interested in buying some of these lovely small panels. As the year progressed, my small panels turned into mini panels, a wonderful achievement living with disability.
I decidedly attempted to paint on a 12 in x 12 in wood panel which allowed for me to open my tubes of Golden and Holbein acrylic paints, to greater strengthen of my fine and gross motor abilities. More importantly to dive back into colour mixing, one of the greatest joys in my life. I did it! The joy I felt with this achievement was monumental. It was a huge game changer for the year as I began mixing colours once again, one of my simple pleasures.
By painting on this wooden gallery depth panel, it allowed me begin submitting online my paintings into local small juried group shows and that is exactly what I did. Now, I am unable to deliver my work or attend functions as I live a housebound. I am lucky to have the support of my artist husband who preps panels, mounts, delivers, ships and sometimes attends functions on my behalf. My paintings being accepted into local group shows allowed for me to begin the journey of exposure which was my intention. My art is about purpose in life, not money. It is a means of creative expression, my paintings being seen by others and experienced by others.
It is not lost on me that I ended last years Looking Back Blog with a quote in my words. ‘May you find purpose and joy in your days’, painting gives purpose in my daily life. If I can find ability within my body to paint for a few minutes I have achievement, success, purpose and joy. If I have a good day in my studio it can satisfy my needs for several days of which I may be on rest.
Every human needs purpose in life, mine is painting. In return painting is therapeutic, mindful, and emotive being fullfilled with happiness and peace. The subject of my paintings is colour which has huge emotive properties. By working with colour I am taken to a happy and peaceful place through the panel, brush and paint. A moment free from thoughts or feelings of pain.
With visible achievements and success through painting there has been a satisfying sense of validation. One of the first realizations made at the onset of living with chronic illness and disability was a constant and consistent de validation and lack of support of any kind whatsoever. After such an overwhelming few years of de validation it is beyond rewarding, satisfying and full filling to be validated once again for my paintings. The arts community is an extremely validating, encouraging and supportive community. A community where you can have any rainbow colour of hair you wish, an exciting thought now that the pigment of my hair is light. A perfect canvas of hair to colour with fun tints.
In 2021, I found purpose, validation and joy. What more could I ask after 48 months of life living with chronic illness and disability. Oh and I mostly have silver grey hairs on my head, just a few old brown strands left now. I am nearly a completely new person, with a new body that happens to be chronically ill and disabled. This has given me a totally transformed identity, not one I asked for but one I am learning to live a new life with. Now, let me think on what I will put into the universe at the end of this blog. It is rather obvious to me …
peace and love.
‘May you feel peace and love with all that you do’