It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What Does Bowling Have in Common with Art?

I have CP. In addition to the fact that I can't walk fast and that people can hear me coming from a mile away because I'm so heavy on my feet, or the fact that I seem to be incapable of eating like a grown up person being that I'm usually walking around with some leftovers on my clothes (right now more than some because I stupidly decided to eat macaroni on the couch and I know better) I also can't see so well. It's somewhat of a curious problem in that I do not need glasses. My eyes are perfect. It's my brain that's caused me not to have any depth perception. I do not have any concept of how long 2in is or what 3c of water looks like in a pot. My brain won't let me. I also cannot tell time and I am 22 years old. If a clock has all 12 numbers and all of the ticks in between I'm pretty good, but take away the ticks and I'm sunk. Where is the hand pointing? I LOVE digital clocks. So there are things I just cannot do, like catch or throw a ball (mostly) or bowling. I suck at bowling. I think my highest score is a 54. But somehow I really enjoy bowling. Why? When I go bowling I step up to the lane with every intention of getting a gutter ball. I never ever expect to knock down even 1 pin. So when every couple of frames my ball does manage to make contact I'm ecstatic. It's a great endorphin rush.

So what does any of this have to do with art? Well... I suck at art too. I hate art because I can't do art. I can't do art because people expect me to be able to have skills like perspective and the ability to look at something and copy it exactly or to glue things onto a poster straight. I have compensated for my lack of ability in that area by taking theatre classes to fulfill art credits and microsoft office classes to fulfill tech credits (me+power tools=BAD idea) so that I can steal other people's clipart and make kick ass powerpoints for presentations instead of posters and awesome flyers and brochures for projects that I am involved in.

Then this past summer I called my mom and begged her to pay for me to take Intro to Art Therapy in summer school for fun. It was the first time the class was being offered and there was no guarantee that it was ever going to be offered again. This might be my only shot. I knew who was teaching it and I'm very interested in alternative methods for pain management. 3 weeks before the first class I received the following email "If time permits, we will create art during our first class period. Please bring the following items: crayons, markers or colored pencils, glue or tape, scissors and a photo of you that you don't mind cutting and/or pasting." One single word stuck out at me and I went into a panic. OMG I did not think this through before I signed up for this class. What did I think I was doing taking it? She wants me to WHAT??? SCISSORS? I don't do scissors. I suck at scissors. Then I calmed down. This was art therapy for family studies majors. Not art for fine art majors. No need to panic... I had every reason to be confidant that she would be reasonable, unlike a past traumatic art teacher I'd had for 2 years.

This class was the single most amazing class I've taken in college. Tied for second are parenting class and small group dynamics. What I've realized I've done was to take my outlook on bowling and transfer it to art. So what if I will never bowl a 200? It can still be fun. So, my art will never hang in a professional gallery. So what? Does that mean that I cannot enjoy the process of making it, or that looking at the outcome cannot still make me happy. This makes me gag, because I have heard it so much, but art is not about the outcome, it is about the process.

The last 2 months for me have been HARD. I planned the most amazing disability awareness workshop as an independent study, and then I lost it. Completely crashed. Stopped going to class b/c I couldn't get out of bed. Then I've been sleeping ok, but at the wrong time. It's 1:30 AM and I'm completely wired right now. But I'll sleep til 3pm whenever it is that I do sleep. So I still couldn't get out of bed to go to class. I had to withdraw from classes. Ws are better than Fs. I was diagnosed with type II bipolar. Finally after 7 years someone agrees that there is something not so right going on in my head. But it is absolutely incredible what you can do if you just open up your mind, let your guard down and just are. I've created some of my most favorite pieces of art during the time that I have not been sleeping.

butterflies, half in night and half in day

This 1st piece is entitled The Two Extremes of Me. It was not supposed to look like this. The entire circle was supposed to be filled with butterflies. But after I drew the 1st 5 I realized that I had drawn them too small and that I would have to draw more butterflies then I wanted; it would look too cluttered. So then what color blue do I use for the sky? What if I use both blues? Oh, that would look cool... Not only is the night side depressed me and the day side manic me, but I realized the butterflies kinda represent a 5 point likert scale. Rate my mood on a 1-5. Goal: maintain a 3, or a pink butterfly. And slightly off topic, what is the white blob on the day side? No one has gotten it yet. No it is not a snowman, casper, or a lamb. Can anyone get it?

circle with yellow circle in the middle with multicolored squiggly lines coming off of it

This next piece is called bloodshot eyeball. I started it with the specific intention that I was going to draw something that didn't look like anything and see what came out. Interesting that this is what came out on my 2nd week of not sleeping.

sunrise, grass and a path to nowhere

The last piece, done around 4:30 in the morning the following week was also supposed to not look like anything at all. I thought, wouldn't it be interesting since I am obviously going to be up for sunrise to do something kind of abstract that looks like sunrise. But well, my visual perception is off and I drew my stripes too small and I had no more sunrisey colors and I didn't want to repeat. So I thought, ok, I'll make the rest grass. But then the grass looked so empty like it was missing something. So I drew a path--a path to nowhere. A path to nowhere at a time when I thought my life was going nowhere. When I thought I had no purpose and I was just kind of taking up space.

I never make new years resolutions. I think they're stupid. But I am going to make one right now. I am going to make it a goal to work on applying my bowling outlook to the rest of my life. I need to open my mind. I need to let go. I need to go with the flow. Because that's when I do my best work. So what if it is going to take me 6 years to graduate? I'll still graduate. So what if I have to take less classes in the spring? It's what's best for me right now. So my gpa is a little low. It will go back up. I will get into grad school. I will be ok. So I can't hit as many pins as my friends. I can still hit pins. I can do this. I can...


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