I applied for income for artists. After making it through the first round of candidates, I had two minutes to talk about my commitment to being an artist.
Creating this video took about 20 takes – I did not write a script. And it got me thinking about my life – and for how long I’ve been at this thing called being an artist.
I started drawing probably when I was two or three years old. I remember feeling like it was very important that I draw – and draw well. My two older sisters were talented with drawing and coloring, my biological father was a painter, and I later learned that had my mother not had children, she would have gone to art school, too. Mainly, I looked up to my sisters and I wanted to be like them.
My first paid job was painting an iron bulldog yard ornament for my Uncle Johnny. I got $20! That was a lot of money in the 70s.
Musically, I followed in my eldest sister’s footsteps, and started playing flute when I was seven. I never practiced that much, but I was very good. I wanted to play saxophone, but sax was not permitted in the house. My mother hates the sax.
I was in school band and choir probably starting in the first or second grade – up until I dropped out of high school at 16. By then, I was fronting my goth cow punk band – The Liquid Faction. Music stopped for a time when I was a squatter, but as soon as my life stabilized, I was fronting bands again.
I always wrote. I love writing – it can be done anywhere. When I was living on the streets, I worked at The Antique Boutique. All day I wrote poetry that fit on the back of their business cards. I wish I had some of those cards now – I remember my writing was dark and dystopian – my experience of reality then.
After I graduated college in 2004, I immediately got married. I became a wife, and my career as an artist was shut down. My ex-husband was mentally abusive, planted seeds of self-doubt, and convinced me that everything I did was pointless. People watching me perform made him jealous and uncomfortable. He reasoned that for me to continue having fun and doing what I love was selfish and cruel.
I tried to be a good wife. I married what I knew. I gave myself away, just like my mom did. I knew it was wrong, and I felt so trapped.
As a child, I could not wait to grow up and be on my own. I figured I would be free. I knew when I was a kid I was being mistreated and didn’t belong in my family. I was the “weird” one – and was abused daily by two of my sisters, my mom was checked out, and the father figures were absent and/or sexually inappropriate.
When I met my ex-husband, he knew exactly how to manipulate me.
We were married for less than three years. I got a job at an investment bank and was so unhappy both at work and home that my health began to fail. I developed diverticulitis. I was in constant debilitating pain. My doctors told me in my case the illness was from stress. One day I realized if I stayed in the marriage I was going to die of cancer – so I left. And I left the job, too.
When I stopped making music, my other creative endeavors dried up as well. I became depressed and had no desire to paint or write. I forced myself to write for a while – and for a long time I tried to replace music with teaching yoga and mountain biking. Mountain biking was fun – and I did start writing and painting again. But when I began making music again in 2018 – everything opened up for me in a new way.
I didn’t realize how traumatized I was by my childhood until about 2018. (Astrologically that would be around the time of my chiron return – which lasted for a few years due to retrogrades. In my chart, Chiron is all about the wounding in the area of home and of my foundation).
Very recently, I released a lot of that trauma – not just intellectually, but emotionally and physically. It’s part of my history, but it’s not who I am.
I took a long detour. I am so freakin’ grateful to be back.
Maybe I am a late bloomer, but blooming I am. I’m making music, making art, writing, teaching, practicing yoga, meditating . . . I am healthier than I have ever been in my adult life.
I am so grateful to be alive, so grateful to be curious about life, and so grateful to dedicate my life to joy, creativity, love, Beauty with a capital B, and fun.
I want to inspire others to do whatever it is that brings them joy and life – and if the people in your life don’t support that, please get new people! If you can’t be yourself, what is the point in being?
Peace and love! Do your thang! You are worth it! And – the world needs your gifts right now – more than you could possibly know.
May 10, 2022