These past two years or so I've been amazed at the inspiration I've been blessed with from my new world of discovering other artists and bloggers who have published books or websites. It constantly blows my mind the amount of beauty and positivity I have been lucky enough to have found at a low time in my life. Let me give a little bit of background.
About two and a half years ago, I was out of work on disability trying to heal and get better so I could start chemotherapy for my kidneys (had lupus nephritis). I couldn't start the chemo because I had consistent bronchitis and working in a middle school with germs wasn't helping, so my doctor thought it would be best to take some time off. Well, at first I bawled. Oh my God--this was serious. If this chemo didn't work, I'd need dialysis. If that didn't work, I'd need a kidney transplant. Not to mention, I might lose my hair and who knows what else (I know in the grand scheme of things the hair loss is nothing). I also was freaked out that people at work, my husband and my in-laws wouldn't understand why I couldn't work during this time. I only was having chemo once a month. Daily I had to tell myself I was doing what was best and was needed for me.
After I got over the initial freak-out, I actually felt so free. So happy. Which was so weird, because I was so sick. That started to tell me something. Maybe teaching wasn't where I was meant to be. Maybe teaching added to my illness. Well during that time, I found the book Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts. You could say this is what started it all. Yes, I've always wanted to paint, but this gave me the push I needed to jump in. I read about her whispers and listening to them. I knew I had whispers too. Long silenced whispers. But having all this time off gave me lots of time to start really hearing these whispers. I found myself painting at 3 in the morning because my medicine gave me a hard time sleeping, but I was so excited, even though I would normally be so mad that I wasn't sleeping when I should have been. It didn't matter because I knew I could take a nap later and I was also full of joy and hope. As I spent months away from teaching I read more from other inspirational souls like Christine Mason Miller and Patti Digh to name a few. Knowing my health was serious, I also started realizing that I needed to take my happiness into my own hands as well. I started taking little steps by opening an etsy shop after e-mailing Kelly Rae Roberts and her suggesting as much. I started applying to art shows. I got accepted to some. People told me that my work was joyful and happy. I told them it made me feel joyful and happy creating it. That was just the start. Brave Girls came into my life as well. In addition to creating, I started realizing that I was important and that my dreams mattered, no matter what.
I could probably write much more about my journey to where I am now, but I just wanted to share a few bits and pieces. I want to just say thank you to those amazing women who gave me the courage to jump into a new chapter of my life. Though I still have lupus, my kidneys are in remission. Though my salary is much less as a library aide than a teacher, I'm so damn happy. Thank you to all of you. All of you who are inspiring and encouraging me everyday. Not just the well-known artists and authors, but all of the women I've met on-line who are helping me fly as well as my friends Carrie and Jenny. I'm so blessed. Thank you thank you thank you.