bipolar and also bulimic, which means my life is in a constant battle for
balance. I have no consistent thought pattern; it’s like a word salad all the
time inside my head. Thoughts are lost in translation because I am always 20
steps away from whatever it is that I am doing. I’m a mind wanderer. The idea
of “constant” or “center” is lost on me. The only balance that I feel is when
I’m creating art and when I’m teaching art. Anything that has to do with art.
When I’m creating – or even thinking of ideas before I create them – I feel at
peace with my mind and heart.
mind and heart that struggle to work together. Mind demands heart to be a
certain body size; mind convinces heart that if I’m not this size – than I am
unlovable. Heart only hears “unlovable.” Heart only feels unloved. And when
mind becomes manic or depressed – this teetering gets worse. Mind says
directly, “You are not normal. You are not loveable.” Mind tells heart to hate,
to love, to race, to deviate – but never to believe. Heart gets left behind by
my dominant mind.
raised to be secretive about this struggle. I was raised to think that if I
told people about it, that those admittances would become so twisted and
distorted that I would not recognize them as my own thoughts. Or that people
would not like me as well. But in the process of emulating this, I chained a
lock around my neck; a lock that had lost its key for 19 years.
that art making brings to me has forged a new key to my heart. Therefore,
communicating to people that I am bipolar, and even more so that I am bulimic,
has unlocked that great weight from around my neck. My artwork informs me, like
a spy, of how my mental state is working with my heart. The work offers me
clues when I am unbalanced in my thoughts or feelings. Sketching in journals
reveals a lot of turmoil and offers a product to look at, to remember, to see
firsthand, and to begin to understand the values I hold in my heart; it lets me
see patterns. These patterns transform into finished works of fiber art. Fiber
offers warmth and comfort. I usually work in a sketched, journal form first and
let the picture reveal itself - over time - what it is I am trying to
communicate (because the fact is that I am not focused or centered). I work in
spiral-like fashion…. Sketching/journaling, resting, thinking, understanding,
creating. Repeat. To struggle through this process is beautiful to me – a rite
of passage. My art making today gives me confidence that my heart and my mind
can, in fact, coexist (and maybe even work together). I struggle. I overcome. I
manage. I create.