I wanted to write something this last week, but I found myself drawing for the first time in over two years, and it felt so good that I just couldn’t take a break to post a new blog. My hands were moving freely, unlike the stiffness I had become so used too. And for four days, I did hardly anything, but play around with my pencils, getting my hands dirty, pushing graphite over stark white paper and spilling my imagination across the torn out page of my sketchbook.
If you draw, paint, or create anything with your hands really, you know what I mean when I say, I had gotten used to stiffness. Where movements that once felt natural, have now become tense and strained. The fingers and wrist are rigid, pushing back against you and leaving little room to create the thing you have swirling around in your mind. It’s frustrating as hell. But, this time, it wasn’t like that, and it felt amazing. It felt amazing because, in all honesty, my body, mind and heart haven’t allowed for that kind of thing lately. Life’s been harsh and sharp, and some of the most authentic parts of myself had fallen asleep. Laying dormant beneath the ash and rubble of a life once lived, and now only endured.
So when the pencil hit the paper, and things were happening the way I wanted them too, I couldn’t put it down. For the first time, in over two years, I felt a part of myself alive and breathing again. Rubbing my fingers into the grey powder, the metallic smell lingering. Pencil shavings filling my ashtray, smudging line after line, until the shapes began to come to life, impelling the weight to lift from my shoulders, and wander away to the place it belongs. In God’s hands.
It gave me hope. And it validated, that I was still here. That I was alive, and somewhere in this weary tattooed body, I was in there.
So, day after day, in my joggers and baggy t-shirts, one cup of coffee after another, cigarette after cigarette, I created a piece of art that I am proud of. Too some, it may not seem like that big a deal, but to me, it’s everything right now. It’s a piece of tangible evidence that I am not dead. That I’m still rooted in my body and that I can still create something beautiful. That I can DO SOMETHING. That, I still have a loud and passionate soul, willing to expose itself, vulnerable or not, to my fellow-man. To my creator and Father, who shaped these gifts within me.
At the end of the day, it had made it known, that it wasn’t too late for me. As depressing at that sounds, I was tip toeing on that ledge of deep despair, and now I had some hope back in my life. And I think that’s the beauty of creating something, it confirms our authenticity, mirroring our own mystery and showing us a piece of ourselves we may have lost or simply forgotten was there. It is a form of expression that can untangle our own inner web of chaos, simply because of the release that can happen there. Taking down the guard, to liberating something beautiful and unique from within, in turn, maybe even smoothing over those jagged parts that have become so raw. It gives the creator a chance to look at oneself, and perhaps decide, that they still have something to offer, even under the suffocating soot and residue of things past by. Things past by, but at times, and often for myself, relived everyday.
At the end of this post, are a few shots of the piece I was working on all week, if you wanna check it out.
As I said earlier, I needed a break from telling my story. The beginning of the week was rough, and after a few sleepless nights, waking up in tears, I decided I needed help. So, on Tuesday, I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office, mid panic attack, covered in tears, emotional and weak as hell. It took a lot of courage on my part, to expose and vulnerabilize myself to a man I had never met. I’ve never been one to trust doctors, and asking him for anxiety medication was hard. I was embarrassed it had gotten this bad, and I was really nervous about the whole thing. Talking about cancer screening was even worse, and it left a kind of pit in the bottom of my stomach. I’m not looking forward to those appointments, at all. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my Moms death, that she was a young 48 years old, and I’ve unknowingly taken on a deep fear, that the same thing will happen will to me. I’ve even caught myself counting how many years I’d have left with my son, if I died at the same age. Just like my Mother, and her sister, who also died of cancer before the age of 50. I have to stop myself when my mind goes there, sometimes violently, because in all honesty, I’m terrified. And so, these are the thoughts that wake me in the night, my pillow case drenched in tears. Amongst other terrors from within. The old fears, and the new, swirling around my subconscious, creating a circus act of horror I’d do anything to escape. And so, the doctor’s office and the newness that came with it.
I promised I was going to walk you through each and every detail, the details of a fight to save my own life.
To rise to the place I belong.
The fight to tell the truth about what happened to me.
The reality, that on all scientific counts, I should die of cancer within 20 years, and the way that I have chosen to deal with that.
To not only heal, but to overcome in a way, that the story of my life represents a truth I would die for. The truth that, not only can each of us survive absolutely anything, but that God can take the cruelty and suffering each of us has endured, conquer it in all His strength, and wrap them up into stepping stones towards a life that would baffle the enemy. Stealing away his efforts to destroy us, and instead, building a house of truth over his lies. A house, a life, that represents what trust in God looks like. Free, and beautiful, and overflowing with gardens of abundance. Loved.
I believe God can do that in my life and I believe He already has. Even in the tears, through the panic attacks and the sleepless nights. Through the death, and in the worry. The dark, and back to the light, through prayer, where I always reunite with my authentic self. Because that’s where Jesus is.
And so, tomorrow, I’ll go back to the place I was before, and continue telling my story. Until then, I thank you for being my friend and for reading.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller