Its currently 5 am and I am a artist so i’m awake and blogging. Tradition. I have recently thought alot lately about my future and the direction of it. Sometimes I think I am in control of my destiny, other times I think its planned. WE have our idealism of our future from a early age. To be a mother, to be a wife, a professional at something and a idea of when this will all take place. I am now at 28 have decided my idealism has changed and probably will continue to change. And thats ok. When I was a naevie 17 year old I thought by 30 i would be married ( almost happened) I would move out of Wales (where I live – And i did for a while) That I would be in my chosen career and have a child. My plan quickly changed when i fell pregnant at 17 I had to cancel my plans to be a nurse as I couldn’t complete the course as i had a bad pregnancy. I cancelled the visa to Australia where I would be studying and my relationship with my mother was not stable. I ended up in a hostel and my priorities changed. The relationship with my daughters father got futile. And after 5 years we parted ways. Although i had passed my driving test moved into a house then another one out of the area i grew up in and left everyone behind including family. This was a massive step for me. I decided to go back and study and achieved three diplomas. This wasn’t easy being a single parent. Her father and I decided he was not a good role model and that it would be in the best interest of my daughter if contact ceased. This was hard for me. As all my idealism’s were now not relevant. The nuclear family was unattainable, but this is only relevant to narrow minded people with no children i have learnt. My youth was spent raising a child and my spare time studying. However finding out a year or so ago that i would not be able to have anymore children. I decided fate played a huge part in my having my daughter so young. A blessing in disguise. And i can honestly say i regret nothing now. Not that stigma that comes with being a single parent or a teenage mum. Because i got something some people cannot have, a beautiful healthy intelligent little girl. And i count my blessings every day and i count her twice as a blessing. She is my biggest motivation and best friend. Children don’t come with a manual, and who says how i am raising her is right or wrong. All i know is for as long as she is happy and healthy i want no more for myself or life than that. However starting a degree to become a teacher/professor has being challenging. I have juggled my degree my daughter a relationship, bipolar and my photography work. When i look at my achievements i can honestly say i am proud. I have had poems turned into lyrics for songs. I have had images on a number of books. And worked on inspiring projects with some of the greatest artists/photographers of the 21st century. I have had poems published in anthologies of books and a book deal offered to me for a manuscript i submitted. However i am holding off on that. I have been published and interviewed for my photography. I have had features in good hard copy magazines and have a nice clientele of Wedding photography over the years. Which continues to grow. I am also a writer for a fairly popular magazine. I always write under a pseudo name. Until i publish my book then it will be under my name. Ambitions and throwing myself into and forcing my photography work has never been something i have done. As to me its always been a hobby a passion. So all the opportunities i have had, have knocked on my door. Which i feel so humble about. I believe fate has a plan and destiny is mildly controlled by the person. Hence me not forcing or pursuing my work or exhausting myself to turn something i love into my whole world and life. As in my life i want variety and opportunities of many forms. So aspirations change as often as a asp sheds it skin. And that is ok, what is not ok is thinking someone has not got or is not working towards their goal. That is the fruit of the ignorant and egotistical. And thankfully, I am also proud to say I am not that.
So I haven’t blogged for a while. This is due to the uni work I am doing (BAHons degree) and giving my full attention too. Not to mention being mum, and a girlfriend, a designer for all my props writer for a magazine and squeezing in my own writing for my novel. All this and trying to keep the tug of war in my favour with my sanity. I recently was asked to do a interview with a magazine, I am always skeptical about pushing or walking willingly into the lime light and exposing my soul. That is essentially what my photography work is, exposing a haunted side of me. I have always been open about my struggle with bipolar. Not for the sympathetic factor or the admiration factor. Just simply because there is a stigma i want to make less taboo and give it more of a human factor than a medical condition. So this magazine asked me to do a interview based on my work. So i asked them to send the questions over before i agreed. Just because I want to see the tone and corner of interest they take. I was disappointed, as out of the first six questions only one was in reference to my work, The first one was
“On your facebook page it says you are bi-polar. Can you explain? Does this stem from abuse or purely chemical (born with it kind of thing)”
This is a direct quote and a insulting and ignorant question. The fact that they would be so poorly educated regarding the development of bipolar or a mental health disorder angered me and shocked me. We are in the twenty first century and this is the questions that are asked? In a comparison to cancer such technological advances, research and break through have been made in the study and cure for this disease in the last 50 years. However the mental health illness/disorders are still being treated with the basic chemical lithium which was first considered a break through over fifty years ago. Not much more progress has been made, we have pills to help use deal with the broken mind, which we fight every day. Exhausted from distinguishing emotions, rationalizing thoughts, questions our actions and others. The constant need for peace and tranquility as that is the only means for some salvation. The tornado of emotions, not hitting one at a time but 33 at a time in one minute and not tiring until it breaks us/me. Didnt know there was 33 different emotions ask a bipolar person they will list them and more. The highs that are so euphoric you become something bigger better than just a human. Then the lows that have you not even a shell of a human, more like a shadow of a shell. Where you would trade anything and everything just to not be suffocated by the weight of worthlessness.
How could I some up in one question what it is like to have bipolar, when i do not know what it is like not to have it. Some days i wish i didn’t, others i enjoy the edge the thoughts the inspiration i gain from such a vile illness. But abuse does not factor in the cause of bipolar. Bipolar is a chemical imbalance in the brain serotonin either too much or two little. Thats as far as the medical profession has gained as a insight. Medication? pills? cure? no………. a mere crutch….. taking the edge off …..
I decided to not do the interview because i refuse to use my illness to promote my work. I do not want fame or fortune from my images. I kind of want someone to understand them. Which alot of people do. I want people to attach a emotion to them, or to develop a emotion or recognize something in the images that brings them some comfort and some uncomfortable realizations. Art is what i do, I write i write with words, as you will see on my Instagram account, and i write words with my images, i give them and my illness a voice. I release my emotions that i can not control or that i do not want into a image and set it free. I have had some great responses to my images, from those who have that empathetic quality some humans have. I have had some comments that i know come from people who do not like to face truth. But when i have someone thank me or tell me i inspire them, that is when i am glad i have a mental health disorder. Because to inspire the amount of people i have with my words or my images means i have reached out a hand and said, ‘its ok’ and sometimes that is all some people need, is to know they are not alone in how they feel, that they are worth something more than how they are feeling. To inspire someone is to change something for the better in them. So I will not use my illness to promote my work. I will use my work to promote a human connection and strip away the stigma of mental health disorders. As if my having bipolar means i can help or inspire others then its the best thing about me. And thanks to those i inspire, I am thankful i have this disorder.
Any questions please feel free to ask….
So my favourite month has pasted, October. While the leaves lay wet on the ground, my mood lays curled in them. I do not know what it is, but the thought of winter really really depresses me. I love October as the colours the beauty, it seems as if that particular season is celebrating a summer past, paying homage, in some way. Its the last season of beauty and warmth, before the Ice, bitter evil cold, and darkness descends. I have decided that i need to keep myself enthused in these months and inspired, and the only way to do so, is with my photography. I have been lucky enough to be invited to Rosie Hardy’s work shop in November. I look at Rosie’s work and I look at my own, and they couldnt be more different. Mine is dark art, Gothic, thought provoking, a truth in the fabricated ‘perfect’ world. Ans Rosie’s has colours and light, inspiration and fantasy, uplifting and positive. Not that mine is negative or depressing, just more of my dark thoughts, and feelings. I suppose the difference with mine and Rosie’s is mine is inspired by my mind, my mental health disorder and my view and thoughts because of this. I have however decided I am going to try, i use the word ‘try’ to conjure more ‘light’ and ‘fantasy’ images. More………. easy to look at for a lot of people. Not because I want more people to look or follow my work, but for me to explore the other side of my mental health disorder as fully as i explore and create from the dark side of it. This will be my biggest challenge, ever. I do not look at images from most photographer like Rosie/Brooke shaden and be inspired to create something similar, I look and see what i would of done different in that image, and it turns into a completely different theme and genre to the original. I look at myself in the mirror, and I am a pretty girl, but I never enhance that, I always demean it. I look and see how can i make myself look ugly, and reflect how i feel right now. I function on emotions, my mental health disorder is now just a part of me as is the medication. Instead of running from my thoughts and thinking ‘there’s something wrong with me’ I actually embrace the thoughts and acknowledge, ‘this is me’. And After a seven year battle with myself/disorder i have finally come to accept its staying, so i just have to get use to it.
This mental health disorder may not be a blessing, but neither is it a curse. My medication does not make someone like/love me, who i am, my personality does. The good of me eclipses the bad and everyone you meet who knows me will tell you this. A friend of mine, whose brother i dated a few years back, has recently got in a relationship with someone with bipolar. She asked me for advice, i told her to ask her brother as he has the experience of being in a relationship with someone who did. After she had spoken to her brother, she dropped me a message and said that every good, thoughtful, unique, and adorable thing she thinks of this ‘bipolar guy’ Her brother thought of me. He still has the most respect love and care for me as one of the best people hes ever had the privilege of being able to say he loved. This was a beautiful, thing to hear, and funnily enough its the most common thing my exes and friends say about me. My latest partner always said he would never change me, or take the bipolar away, as he has never met anyone as amazing as me. He loves me and everything the bipolar brings to me. And to be quite honest, after seven years, i have to admit so do I. Learning to love yourself, feel comfy in your own skin, and wear it with pride and confidence is something that turns your life around and your mental state more than surgery, wishing different, or attention and compliments from other. Realizing WHY you are beautiful is more valuable than any handbag, car, house or designer clothes.
So here is my pledge to try to explore the ‘other’ side of my bipolar. The more …uuummm uplifting and fun, the more empathetic, and tender pieces of me.