So by chance, I spotted this opportunity (still open for a week!) for artists affected by disability and mental illness:

https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/52149804e4b0ca9a4cf92c90?INTCMP=mic_2902

and as I had had the most beautiful wrongness happen with my camera yesterday, I got to turn around a week of feeling unproductive/ uncreative/ unrecognized in one fell swoop 😉

Due to “hurty hands” as I would have phrased it with my ‘make small of things we can’t change’ husband, I haven’t made much while sorting out listing items to sell on Amazon/eBay/Gumtree…the inertia was really hard to fight back against and when I did, I felt mentally and physically clumsy, including not just dropping the camera, but changing the settings as I grabbed it. Small change, you say, reset it! Yessss, hmm, I got it free, with no manual and a bit broken, and so far haven’t found the manual online… so I turned it on again and off again a few times, with increasing camera wobble…oh my! 😉 and theeeese effects!

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Now the opportunity is for artists with experience of disabling conditions to make a postcard sized piece that expresses what is important to them…it seems pretty open what you can choose that to mean, so I started with this last image, as the tiny compass/ helm (a charm) stood out. I inverted the colours in Picasa and cropped and came up with ‘Death of My Safe Person’. It is very hard to explain to anyone what losing the only person who wanted to be my safe person has been like…I have met others, to me it’s kind of a magnetic effect, once a total stranger on a train helped me cross the seventh pit of hell, sorry, Birmingham Railway Station – without him knowing!  As an erratic eccentric artist with bi-polar, considered loveable but deeply unreliable by his nearest and dearest, I think Andy was fascinated that I could ‘lean’ on him, and we stretched my world way open again…it was hard, and I had a lot of anxiety and upset, but I got to have an allotment and go to see Benjamin Zephaniah live and the Chalice Well Gardens and see the sun set into the sea…happy memories that have changed who I am 😉 Anyway, as well as losing my lovely partner, I also lost the person who took me places and made me safer in the world…I am still held by his effect on me and my life, and nowhere near as housebound as I was in my late 20s (classic agoraphobia onset is 27, I learned in a biography of Charles Schultz of the Peanuts cartoon strip fame, he was probably the highest earning agoraphobic of the last century). But I shocked a lot of people by going out every other day for a month after he died, I was so frightened of losing my mobility…and lately, as the fibromyalgia gets worse, I feel it creeping up on me more. It was very hard (British understatement!) to go out to the chiropractor on Thursday – luckily as soon as he crunched my neck, my mood swung right up 🙂 so I think there must be a link to feeling efficacious in the world, effective, respected, seen, empowered, supported…some blend that is crushed when you can’t hold your head up… I often feel like things are slipping through my fingers and some of that is in the image too…

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and although there is a slight atmosphere of ‘gone beyond recall’, as usual, I have balanced it with other images expressing my firmly held life mantra that there is always good stuff to find in the world:

smallest joykeep growing

and my other mantra: pay attention! This is a sunbleached fence paling, but it takes me straight to my favourite beaches of the North-East coast (please don’t let know-nothing Tories frack there!!! Osborne’s father-in-law’s Howell-er is deeply worrying if you love watching the exquisite cyclamen pink autumn moon rise out of lilac, lavender and dove grey seas…)

somewhere else

So I feel happy that those 4 images give quite a balanced view of how I live with agoraphobia, extreme PTSD and fibromyalgia – yes, things get hard, but there is so much beauty to be found, and sometimes it is the happy accidents that turn out best 😉

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