• It's been a while now since I've come out of denial about my illness. I've had some time to at least begin to grieve the losses that have come with it. Friends, family, future plans, hobbies... my loss list is long and detailed. I have also been able to receive some gifts from my illness - it's not all loss. But the gifts don't make the loss any less real, any less difficult.

    One of the bigger things I've lost is my ability to be gainfully employed. I haven't been able to work even part time in over two years. All the shame, judgment, and social implications aside, there is something that feels degrading about having my daily purpose and to an extent, my financial independence stripped away. These have probably been the hardest for me to adapt to. And yet, adapt I must and I will!

    IMG_3494
    Me, at peace, making art in my home studio, 2013
    I want to maintain this elusive calm in my work life

  • Update March 2015: Strange twist... I finally saw my (old) immunologist who I trust very much, and without getting into all the details, it turns out that the "allergist" who did the test that led to my supposedly being glycerin sensitive wasn't actually a certified allergist at all. The test that was done was not standard and the reaction was simple skin irritation (not an allergic response). After about 10 months of avoidance, I've started using glycerin-containing products again with no problems.

    ---

    Delving into the waaaaaay obscure health topics here folks, this probably won't interest most of you. But some of my most obscure and specific health posts are the most viewed ones on here by a long shot, so I know that people are looking for this info. I wished so much that I had access to a post like this, so I spent some time writing it up for whoever is next to be in this sticky situation.

    A while back, I attempted to get some allergy testing done, and came out of it not even having had the tests done, and instead labeled with a glycerin sensitivity. I'm going to save all the sordid details of this, maybe for some other time (I still have to go through some further investigations to figure out what's going on), but the long and short of it is that since then I've had to remove glycerin containing products from my life as much as possible. (The only things I haven't found replacements for and am still using are quite ironically my antihistamine pills, Reactine, and cortisone cream. There is a "Cortate ointment" petroleum based alternative, but I don't find it works as well.)

    You would not believe how many personal care products, soaps, and medications have glycerin in them, it's RIDICULOUS. Not exagerating, probably 99% or more. It's safe to say I have been slathering myself in copious amounts of glycerin for most of my life - which is hopefully a good sign that my sensitivity isn't terribly severe, but it may have been impacting the overall burden on my body. It's extremely hard to find products that don't have it, and it's not only inconvenient but incredibly expensive, suddenly having to replace everything you own with more obscure and pricier products.

  • Limits. We don't like them. We don't want to be told by anyone - not even ourselves - what we can or can't do. That each of us will eventually hit a wall at some point.

    While working on my previous post on illness and beauty/body image, I had several conversations with different friends, and one of the topics that people kept really honing in on was denial. An email exchange with a friend turned into a long rant on my part, and I thought it was worth sharing, so I've fleshed it out into this post - I feel like it's a very important awareness to develop.

    loss-final
    ~ Let your loss set you free Heartgirl by Ariane K ~

  • Health is not binary. People who are chronically and/or mentally ill may indeed be "sick" (a term with a huge amount of complexity in its own right), but we are not on any given day A) sick or B) not sick. These conditions can be lifelong or last many years, going through flares and remissions. But we are not just "sick", we are people with hobbies, partners, friends, and if possible, jobs. Our illness(es) may feel all encompassing at times, but they are not us. They are only a part of us - people who are just as complex and nuanced as any. And yet, it seems at times that there are absurd standards, perceptions, and expectations about what someone who is "sick" looks like. This only exacerbates our already complicated relationships with our bodies.

    BB Day 18 + 19IMG_8603IMG_7997IMG_7513

  • Most of you regular readers can skip this post unless you're just curious - it's time for another update on my throat issues. I know there are tons of people out there struggling with LPR (hello!) and they seem to find their way to my blog in numbers that are pretty astonishing, so I wanted to share what's been going on lately. If you want to read further into my experiences with this, the next most recent post was at the end of 2013 and is here, and my first post from the start of 2013 is here.

  • I did it! It's real! The first six Heartgirl prints are up in my Etsy shop!!!

    Heartgirl prints on Etsy

    You guys, I don't even know where to begin. This is SUCH a big accomplishment for me. I've dreamt of "being a real artist" for such a long time... As much as I've done art since I was old enough to hold a paintbrush, and even sold the odd painting or sewn item back in university, I was convinced it was just something I did as a hobby to pass the time.

    But it isn't just a hobby - it's MY THING. It's always been my thing. And as incredibly challenging as it's been, I've finally squashed my serious case of impostor syndrome... I AM AN ARTIST!

  • There are at least a couple people in my life who've recently brought up the topic of nostalgia. It's not just thinking about or idealizing the past though, it's this recognition that there is something they're longing for that isn't present in their lives anymore. 

    I feel it too. Sometimes I don't realize it until something twigs this burried memory of a feeling I can rarely tap into anymore.

    Pride Parade

    Sometimes you feel it in crowds, at a festival or a concert. Sometimes you feel it out in nature with people who are special to you. Or on a road trip driving late into the evening with the music blasting. Or your first time in a new city at sunset... 

  • As some of you might know, I've been working on an art project for a while now, based on a character I created almost a couple years ago. I've dubbed her Heartgirl.

    IMG_8136

    Heartgirl first showed up completely out of the blue when I took Flora Bowley's Bloom True online intuitive painting course. You can see Heartgirl in the red painting below. Though I was never particularly satisfied with my paintings at the end of the course (I don't think I even shared them online because they're nothing near "finished" in my mind, and the red one doesn't even look the same anymore aside from Heartgirl who I couldn't bear to paint over), I instantly loved her! I knew that there was something meaningful in her appearance on my canvas.

  • I think I first discovered zines in my later years of high school. My crash course was through two books: Pagan Kennedy's book "Zine", and then this compilation called "A Girl's Guide to Taking over the World". It would be years before I'd get my hands on an actual zine...

  • Julia NelsonThe post below was originally written on November 5th, 2013.

    This morning, I searched my site for any unpublished posts, wondering if I had anything half-written lying around on here waiting to be completed. I didn't even remember writing this (admittedly my memory hasn't been amazing lately thanks to the brainfog), and only now vaguely recall deciding to sleep on this one before posting it, feeling a bit nervous, or like it wasn't my place to write it.

    Julia was born the same year as me, 1980, and her husband James recently reminded us on Facebook that it would have been her 34th birthday last week. I guess it's fitting for me to find this now...

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed