Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Remembering the Truly Hungry Days

I've finally finished the paining of Rascal today.  People say they like it and that it's really good.  I think I like it too, but it's one of those painings where I keep thinking, It could be better!  I'm sure a lot of artists go through the same kind of mental torture. As an artist in this situation, you have two options: toss it into the garbage, or, after hours and hours of trying to "make it right", step back, take a deep breath, and tell yourself, It's good enough. Walk away before you destroy the parts of the painting that you do like.

 I've written in several of my previous posts about my chronic pain. It's troublesome and annoying ... and sometimes scary.

Yesterday and today my right arm (the one I use to do practically everything) has been unusually painful, especially when I'm painting or driving my wheelchair.  If I move my arm a certain way, I get this terriblely sharp pain that is accompanied by a cracking noise.

I've had this same pain in my right arm for approximately fifteen years.  It varies in intensity, but, like a pest you just can't get rid of, it mostly hangs around 24/7!

I know when/how the pain first came upon me. Rob and I had just moved downtown and were finding it impossible to make ends meet on what little ODSP gave us every month to live on.  At first, in desperation, Rob sold most of record albums, and I sold my books; jewelry; and (my most precious possessions because Rob had given them to me on our first Christmas together), two Royal Doulton figurines.  Unfortunately, after awhile, there was nothing left for us to sell.

So, I simply decided to make note cards from my artwork and start selling them instead.  I sold my cards to the stores in Eaton Centre, College Park,  and all throughout the underground mall.  A lot of people were kind and generous (some to the point of pity!), but others were cruel and judgemental, finding joy in humiliating me.  I sold my cards to people on the street, those who stood, sat, walked their dogs, read books  -  it didn't matter to me, I just needed their money in order to survive!

In extreme cold or heat, close to home or far away - I did it all on my own!  (Well, Rob did cut; fold; and, packaged up the cards for me.)  I didn't even book Wheel Trans to take me anywhere because I never knew where I'd end up on my daily journey.

Driving my wheelchair long distances in extreme weather conditions and having long conversations with customers who had little or no experience interacting with a person who has a communication disability - this, I believe, is how I damaged my arm!  Repetitive Strain Injury; that's what it's called.

I hope I never have to do that in order to survive, but if I ever have to face hard times again it's good to know that I'm gutsy enough to go through it and come out the other side.

1 comment:

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