What started as a self-care exploration back in the Summer of 2015 has turned into a joyful surprise of calling myself an artist, having it displayed in public and selling it. Being in the health and wellness industry, it is extremely important for personal self-care so I can assist my clients. I started painting to process a bunch of old feelings, dust out the shadows of things I could not put into words. I created a personal practice of getting up between 4 and 5am to paint. It was a meditative and quiet practice. I would paint one to three paintings in a morning. I did this every day for several months. As I started to paint and process, family and friends were encouraging. They were moved by my art.
At first, I was processing. Letting go of old feelings of abuse, abandonment and anger. My first paintings had an edge to them, because I had an edge. I am an adult child of Alcoholics. My family tree is full of substance abusers, some of whom are in recovery and some never owning it. It took me a very long time to realize that this deep seeded anger was rooted in my family tree. Originally, I became a healer to help others. That’s what we do as codependent family members of substance abusers. For the child’s mind…if I could just make my mom, dad, brother, uncle, aunt feel better everything would be ok…as a teen…if I could just make my friends feel better, everything would be ok…as an adult…if I could just make my boy friend, husband feel better, everything would be ok. Looking back, if I would have made myself better, everything would have been perfect! I have spent this lifetime thinking of other people first. Wanting them to like me, see me, know me. I didn’t like, see or know myself…so why should others? I became a healer to heal myself.
Sounds pretty grim! Well I am a highly skilled healer. I healed myself through my art, through movement and other self-care practices. My art became a safe haven of expression and soon turned into a mirror for the beauty and energy and healing that is inside me. I now use my art to process thoughts, instill messages into the world, and offer comfort and healing to others by simply looking at it. My art is my legacy of the power of healing. I no longer get up
at 4am to paint. I paint when I am inspired to paint.
Putting my art out in public was a very big deal. I was challenged by a friend to do it. I didn’t want to at first. Luckily, I have some pretty cool friends. My friends Shana and Bill own the first place I hung my art, Muddy Creek Cafe in Bethania, NC. They gave me prime real estate in the cafe for my art. It was the backdrop for the music stage. I was blown away. Another friend, Chief Matthews, was inspired by my art and wrote a song. People at the cafe would tell me how my art “made the place feel.” I sold two painting at the cafe.
Moving forward, I responded to a post of a coffeehouse looking for art for its walls. I contacted the manager and said, “checkout my website and if you like my art, I will bring some over.” My art is now in Spring Garden Bakery and Coffeehouse in High Point. When I brought it there and met Luke the manager, it was like connecting with an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years. Again, the feedback was about how my art made people feel. The next place I put my art was at The Wellness Collective on 5th, where my massage practice is. I put it in the hallway and in my treatment room. Finally, I reached out to Nicole of Wrightsville Beach Rocks in Wilmington, NC. I had gone into her shop for a trunk show and the place felt amazing. A week or so passed and I contacted her to teach a Reiki class in Wilmington and said, oh by the way…would you be interested in selling my art? She agreed. Well, the beauty of the connection with Nicole also brought Natalie, of Spring Pilates Studio in Wilmington, into my life. The connection with these two amazing women still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up (in a good way)!! The feeling was like that expression, “The vibe of your tribe.” It had a buzz to it. When we were deciding what art they would hang in the studio, we shared some of our stories. It was so personal and intimate; comfortable and trusting…and healing. I feel so supported with my art.
I had a few piece of art still in the car that day in Wilmington. My brother, Frank, suggested we take it to Morning Glory Coffeehouse in Wilmington and share it with his buddy, Tim and it is now on the walls there too. On a recent visit with Frank, we went to Morning Glory and added a few paintings. The barista said, “this is your art? I love how it makes me feel!”
Feeling is something that I crammed down inside for a long time as a child. On the outside, everything looked ok. I was that stoic kid, that seemed to have it all together. Feeling and expressing through art has taught me the treasure of sharing on a deeply personal level. While you may not know what I was thinking or feeling on the day I painted a painting…the energy stirs something in you…it may awaken something..it may inspire…it may heal something…for this I am grateful.
I don’t blame my family members for their substance abuse…that is their journey. I feel blessed that I had the courage to explore my inner world in a way that was healing for me and can be a legacy that will remain in my art.