Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fighting to Find the Art in My Invisible Pain.


Disappointing Artist

When people find out I have a BFA, the first thing they ask is, "do you still paint?" In my heart I believe yes but I have no canvas to show them. So, I usually say no. They seem so disappointed, like I have given up or in. I would love time to paint again but painting time is a luxury I don't have right now. Maybe later. But that doesn't mean the artist in me is not active. Once you label yourself an artist you see art in everything. It's a continuum. Well, at least I'm trying to see art in everything. But finding art in my pain is difficult. I am not a masochist so this is going to be difficult.

Pain Horizon

Stephen Groeneveld
It just happened and hasn't stopped happening. One day everything was different; no accident to blame, no satisfactory diagnosis to help understand, no doctor with insight or intrigue. It's rare, I've never met anyone with my condition, let alone a doctor who has met someone. This invisible pain is lonely and impossible to explain.

Invisible Pain

Invisible, because it can't be seen. Invisible, because after 6 years I have learned how to fake it. I smile and present an engaged demeanor. Invisible, because I don't wear a sign that says, "I'm currently experiencing a 6 on my pain scale." A sign might help my closest of allies, my wife, but it will only isolate me further as they will treat me as fragile. As I write, this I'm a 7. Could you write with a pain level of 7? My tolerance has gone way up. The pain is here and I need to live on so the level matters not. It just is.

Distraction via Pain

I'm not fragile, I'm just occupied. I'm constantly struggling for continuity of thought. The pain is like a child that just keeps asking why when all you want to do is get dinner cooked. It takes energy to fake it, push through it, and ignore it. So I often arrive home crushed. Safety! But those who live with me have to carry some of my load. So they have an invisible suffering too.

Art in My Pain

Lee Morley
So now, as of today, I am committed to finding the art in the pain. I live in an altered state therefore I can see some things more clearly and others I struggle with. What is important in life is easy for me to articulate as the pain informs me. Will I remember this current decision in 40 years? Does it matter on that time scale? The little things need to fall away and I am working on that. So the art lies with in each interaction and decision I create. Beauty comes with a life well lived. Art is a luxury I can afford but it may not be art for others. This is art for myself and their it remains.