I will hold on hope.

I realize something that maybe I’ve been avoiding for a while – my positive outlook on life has changed dramatically in the past few months, it’s been swallowed up by depression and hopelessness. I’ve ceased to participate in my life. When did that happen? I think it’s been a slow progression. I don’t have good days and bad days really, there are the highs and lows but mostly it’s just emptiness, eternal boredom, nothingness, accompanied by never ending physical pain.

What a waste of a life. That’s not what I want my existence to amount to – having my spirit broken by my worst enemy; pain. How did I let myself become this shell of a person? I’ve stopped being excited about things, stopped setting goals and having hopes. When I get an email from someone in pain or with an illness, asking me how I stay positive, I feel like a fraud – how can I give advice to other people that I can’t seem to follow on my own? I think I’ve started using my illness as an excuse, and it is, for a lot of things, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t try, and it doesn’t mean that there’s no room for anything else, anything good, in my life too.

I’m afraid to fail, and, I’m afraid of discovering just what kinds of things my body prevents me from doing. But that’s what I’ve realized – my fears keep me from doing much more than my body or pain ever would. That’s not okay. So, I’m going to start correcting that little voice in my head that tells me that I can’t do things and that I shouldn’t even bother trying as soon as I hear it and replace it with one that tells me it’ll be worth it to try, no matter the outcome. My own form of cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s been so long since I’ve truly worked hard at something and felt the pride of achieving it. I need to remind myself what that feels like. 

I wanted this blog to be as honest as possible, but I also wanted it to be somewhat positive, maybe even inspiring. So, time to get at it!

Hope By Jan Tik

I will hold on hope, and I won’t let you choke,
On the noose around your neck.
I’ll find strength in pain,
And I will change my ways.
I’ll know my name as it’s called again.

Mumford and Sons – The Cave

A job in illustration.

I have a confession, even if it’s a fairly obvious one: the world scares me, so generally I try to avoid it, which in the end only makes me miss out on the good things that go along with the scary ones. I’ve been trying to only let myself say yes to opportunities when they arise, so that my fears don’t keep me from accomplishing things. Like speaking at the pain summit for instance – the thought of doing a speech for an important cause in front of that many people, across the country, absolutely terrified me and I really didn’t want to. But, I knew that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and that if I said no it would be a mistake and that I would probably really regret it one day, not to mention it was important to me to contribute to that cause if I could.

My point being, I was asked to illustrate a children’s book. A big job, and I’ve never done anything with color before. But, I said yes because I knew that if I took the easy way out and said no that I’d only end up regretting it later on. Besides, I want to do something with my art, to make some sort of living off of it, even if it’s only a meager one, because it allows me to stick to my own schedule while doing something that I truly love – perfect for someone in my pain situation.

I haven’t started yet, I’m still waiting for my color materials to come in and finishing up a tattoo for someone else. I’m a bit afraid that I’m in over my head with this one but it’s probably the anxiety talking. Cartoon style drawings aren’t really my thing, but I’m a fast learner and I think that I have a good understand of art and drawing so I think it’ll be fairly easy once I get the hang of it. 

Apart from the anxiety I’m actually really excited. This is the first real drawing job that I’ve ever had. I mean, I’ve sold a couple of them here and there before but I’ve never had someone seek me out and ask me to do a big job for them. It makes me happy to think that some of my work will be in an actual book that people can go out and buy.

All in all, this is a good thing, an early Christmas present of sort and I’m really grateful for the opportunity! I’ve been talking about wanting to buy a large pack of prismacolor markers so that I can get into doing colored drawings but I couldn’t afford them. But now that I need them in order to do the illustrations they pay for themselves and it works out.

Prismacolor Markers By J. Gimme™

Off on an Adventure

Not that I’ve been posting much lately (sorry, nothing remotely interesting has been going on in my realm of the world), but just wanted to say that we’re (me & mom) off to Ottawa. Well, technically we’re off to PG for the night before catching our insanely early flight to the big O. It’s supposed to be rainy, miserable picture taking weather but I’m seriously hoping I can get a decent shot of something. I’m really excited for the pain summit and to come back here and let you know some of the things that I’ve seen and learnt there.

I’m also super nervous about my speech. But these things are never as scary as you think they’re going to be…right? I’ll post it on here when we get back. So far everyone’s been really supportive. And, I’m speaking as a youth living in pain, so it’s not like they’re expecting an Obama-worthy speech. But it’s not the words I’m worried about, I feel really confident about what I’ve written. It’s the delivery that really freaks me out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to picture the audience naked in the past few days. A terrible suggestion, I might add. Instead I’m going to do one better and not wear my glasses. Then I won’t be able to see the audience, perfect.  

In typical me fashion, I haven’t slept yet today. But oh well, I suppose there will be time for that when we get to the hotel this afternoon, maybe even during the car ride, if I’m lucky. Our schedule is super packed during the short three day trip. I’m worried about how my body’s going to take it; sitting in the car, sitting on the plane, layovers, presentations. Yikes. I hope the pain doesn’t dampen the experience. 

I get so easily overwhelmed now, half of me wants it to be over already. But I know this is a once in a lifetime, amazing trip/opportunity and that it’ll be worth every minute of it. Plus, I get to speak out about something that’s had a huge impact on my life, and hopefully be a part of making the lives of other people in pain a little better.

So, deep breaths and wish me luck!