I saw this meme on FB today and wanted to share it with a quick note about art and disability. When I became ill with ME/CFS, the cognitive dysfunction literally robbed me of my ability to write, my primary mode of artistic expression. It’s a loss that I still work to overcome daily and is something every totally disabled person struggles with: Who am I now that I can longer ____________?
I can’t answer that question, still, but I can tell you that putting down my pen and picking up a paintbrush actually helped me to understand that it’s a question I don’t really need to answer and that can be liberating and beautiful.No, I’m not a trained painter and given that my painting look like they belong in a 3rd grade art class rather than a gallery, I’m sure they’ll never hang in one. No, I may never achieve anything close to excellence in painting because my hands shake and that will likely only get worse no matter how much I work on my technique.
But when I paint, I am not thinking about the dozens of manuscripts I will never finish, or my last failed experimental therapy, or the thousands in medical bills piling up on the desk. I’m just a girl, painting a beach where she once spent the perfect day with someone she loves.
If we let it, art heals.