I began drawing at very young age. I was born with detected and undetected birth defects in the 60's. Back then, there were no specialized testing like there is today for prenatal care. I was born in 1969 with mouth and speech abnormalities, but was also born with an undetected form of spina bifida. It was not until the age of 30, when my back collapsed on itself, that I realized I had this special condition. When it happened, I had no clue what had happened, I just knew I was in terrible pain and could not feel my right hip and whole leg and foot. After seeing a few doctors and 2 specialists later, I found a special neurologist that found my cure - spinal fusion surgery at S-1, L-4, and L-5 and taking bone from my hip to help form bones that were never there in my spine. I was scared - for I never had undergone any type of surgery before in my life and had a fear of never being able to walk again. At this time in my life, too, my chips were down; not only was I out of work because of my condition, my employer had laid me off, too and the man that I thought was my best friend lived at a distance and did not believe me that I was so ill and down and out. When you are alone and scared, God and your family always come through. This is when I turned myself back over to God and found Joyce Meyers Ministries on t.v. I realized I had nothing left but God, my family and my art. The gift that God gave me always brought me joy - I can draw and paint anywhere, even from bed. I remember I was too down to paint, but a friend brought me my canvases and paint to my bedside. She encouraged me to paint anyways. (Candie, if you are reading this, I remember you doing this for me. Thank you.)
During this hardest point in my life, I cried and prayed to Jesus. I asked for forgiveness in everything in my life. Through the tears I talked with Jesus about every single little thing. It was just Jesus and I. After confessing my life faults, a beautiful rainbow appeared. I, then, remember feelings all kinds of emotions all at once; I knew in my soul and spirit everything was going to be ok.
Throughout my life, especially during grade school, I allowed different kids to pick on me. I got beat up in the school yard. I never stood up for myself. I do remember, during the summer, attending art programs at the Currier Art Museum school, where I felt normal - where no one picked on me and I could focus on learning how to draw and paint. I remember the day I learned to paint and a whole new world opened up to me. I felt joy and peace, automatically. There was something about mixing paint and studying color that opened a new and wonderful feeling for me. It was from this point that I began to see life differently - I saw things with beauty and found a wonderful way of expression.
When I graduated my primary grades and moved on to high school, I felt free! I felt like a crossed a freedom barrier. At my high school there was an excellent art department and all the teachers were amazing. There was also an art group. It was during my high school years, I was no longer afraid, because those bullies were now gone and I had my art classes to look forward to going to. There was no question in my mind that my life had to be in the creative field and that I would always paint. I am very fortunate that my parents saw this, too. They kept me enrolled in private art classes and dance classes so I could keep expressing myself in a healthy way. Through art, dance and theater I became alive. (I only tried theater once - I had a hard time remembering lines. Today, I enjoy going to shows.)
Throughout my life when someone picked on me, I would always eventually turn to my art and prayer to Jesus. Art and Jesus never leaves me alone. Whenever tough times come, I focus first to Jesus and then to my art. When you let go and let Jesus in, life will become amazing! Many of you will think, yes, that sounds good for you, but I have so much to do in my daily life, you just do not understand. But wait, God already knows you, He created you - it is ok to go to Him on your own time. He will bring peace to you, that is just for you. Begin to believe to really trust in Him.
Create a private space that is just for you; where you can go and just breathe. If you do not have one and if you do not have time, do it in the middle of the night when you cannot go to sleep. You do not have to speak what you want to say to God, just say it silently in your mind to Him - he will hear you.
I would love to hear from you. Anyone who has struggles and has a love for art in any way, share with me your journey. I know I am not alone. If you struggle with a disability, or struggle with getting picked on, or just need an outlet to learn more about expressing your emotions through art - respond to this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Attach a pic of what you are working of what make you special. I would love to see what you do. You are not alone and it is ok to let your feelings be heard. God bless you and Jesus loves you.
Your friend in Jesus and in art,
I would love to hear from you.