Sunday, May 16, 2010


Lately I've been feeling like a complete slacker. Mostly because I have painted in a while, and have nothing concrete planned. It's important to me to feel like I'm contributing to society, especially now, since I'm no longer teaching. I want to be working. I miss my job terribly. Sometimes I think teaching full time, on an elementary school schedule would be near impossible for me, in my condition. On the other hand, I'm confident that I could still do my job, if I had the assistance I needed. Realistically, I'm just not sure that I'd have the health or stamina to handle a forty (more like sixty) hour work week. So I've tried my best to compromise and still feel like I'm giving something. I never want to feel like I'm just leeching off the system. There are already too many people out there that choose to be selfish and lazy and abuse the system. That's not me. 

The past two years I've had something to prepare for, every couple of months. Starting with the fundraiser, I sat for several newspaper interviews, did several online interviews, prepared for the three exhibits, painted for MFPA, went to an artist forum & did the two television shows. Now that it's all finished, I feel like I'm just sitting around. Part of the problem is the fact that I just don't feel well a lot of the time. My tolerance for the chair has been weakened, ever since I had that really bad bedsore on my upper thigh. After three or four hours I often feel feverish, have the chills or this weird tingly sensation I attribute to my catheter being pinched, or going to the bathroom. Either way, they are uncomfortable symptoms that often have no visible cause. I think it's just my body's way of letting me know I need to lay down. During the past six months or so, I've also been dealing with mysterious chest pains. It's not so much pain, as it is discomfort, but it is very annoying and makes it hard to relax. It started out as a tightness in between my ribcage and has since migrated to my left breast. At times, it feels like I have a huge boulder on top of the area. Other days, it feels like a giant is squeezing me with all its might. The worst is when it combines with my neck/shoulder pain. Most recently, I've been getting a throbbing pain all through my back, especially in my lower back. It's all very odd and frustrating, because I can't feel the exterior; I only feel the interior. Could I really be feeling my bones and muscles? I doubt it. Regardless, I've had all kinds of tests done in hopes of finding a cause and haven't had any luck. All my major organs are fine. My breathing is good and my blood work is fine. That leaves me with, "it could be stress or neurological pain." Great.

Long story short, is that I've been staying in bed quite a bit, these past six months or so. Mostly because I don't feel it's worth getting up, if I'm only going to feel crappy and crave being in bed the whole time. My painting has taken a back seat, as it is the one thing I can't do in bed. Even when I do get up, it's so few and far between that I usually don't feel like using the time to paint. However, then I feel guilty, like I'm being lazy. I have ideas ready; I just need to get started. It's especially hard to force myself when I know I don't have a set deadline or schedule. The shows kept me motivated. On the other hand, I start to think, if I got my butt in gear and painted more, I'd have more work to potentially exhibit. Instead, I've been trying to work on my website and I got some really nice color business cards printed up. I thought it would be more professional and an easy way to share my information. They're a custom design with one on my paintings on the front, along with my website address and a statistic about spinal cord injuries on the reverse side. Luckily, there are a million ways to promote yourself and/or a cause using the internet. I plan to continue working on computer stuff, but I really do need a push to paint!

In efforts of motivating myself, signed up to participate in something.called "the sketchbook project." It's run by a group called the "arthouse co-op, out of The Brooklyn Art Library. I just happened to click on a Facebook ad for it the other night, because it looked interesting. Basically, you sign up, they send you a sketchbook, you fill it & send it back. All of the sketchbooks then go on to exhibitions as part of a cross country tour. Each sketchbook gets abarcode, which can be used to track the book & see if people looked at it. The tour includes exhibits in a bunch of major cities: Brooklyn, NY Austin, TX San Francisco, CA Portland, MEAtlanta, GA &Chicago, IL. Once it's over, people will be able to look at them in the Brooklyn Art Library. I also paid a small extra fee, for the book to be digitized and added to an online library. It sounds like a really cool idea and I'm excited about participating. All I have to do is choose a theme, use the book & not change it's dimensions. I chose the theme "Help!" I thought it was perfect for the purpose of advocacy. I plan on making my sketchbook about paralysis and my hope for a cure. The cool thing is, I can sketch everything on my iPad and then print and transfer them to the book. So staying in bed is no excuse! It'll be interesting to document my progress and follow the book, on its travels. I'll definitely blog about it once I get started.

Speaking of blogs, I had read this article about a paralyzed pro gamer (Randy) & thought it would make for an interesting blog, if I could interview him. I took a chance & contacted him through his youtube site. He agreed & most likely I'll be talking to him soon, through Skype.It'll be cool to compare notes with Randy & hopefully make an interesting blog. I'm sure there are people out there that think they can't play video games, because of physical disabilities. I'm hoping by sharing mine and Randy's techniques and stories we can inspire some new gamers. I've always been into gaming, but it's been especially helpful in coping with my situation. Gaming provides a much needed escape and source of enjoyment. 

1 comment:

  1. That sketchbook project sounds so cool! I love that you can track your book all over. Imagine how many people will see it and how many people you will affect. This is great!

    I was going to message you today and ask if you ever got in touch withthe gamer guy. I can't wait to read the interview and learn about how he does it