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Kelsey, creator of Caffeinated Frenzy, inspires me to action. She makes me want to create and inspire others every single day. From the moment she walked into the Thursday Sweet Treat, I was enthralled with her. Kelsey has a quiet determination, a solid confidence, a brave heart and an infectious style. Her work, much like the words she uses, emanates a unique warmth and charm. And her ideas, like to creation of Ed , make you want to start a revolution that would brighten the entire world.
What I love most about Kelsey is her down-to-Earth, no holds barred approach to life. Kelsey is not moved by what other think about her work, nor is she inspired to create only "what will sell." Instead, she creates because she is moved by life, the world, the beating of her own heart. Her creations are born from deep within and in them, we find tremendous beauty. Kelsey has an ability to connect with people through her work and words because of one very simply principle. She "tells it like it is."
Recently, I had a chance to talk with her about life, depression, and how we can best use the power we all possess as artists, the power of creation. Please join me in reading a beautifully written piece that's full of bravery, heart and inspiration.
Artists tend to be stereotyped as having more mental health issues than most people. Maybe we're just more expressive; then again, maybe we're all just crazy. But art is therapeutic. Diving deep down and releasing one's innermost thoughts is the most self-actualizing thing that can be done.
Four years ago, I woke up on the floor of my bedroom, alone. My head was throbbing and I had no idea what had made me collapse, fatigue, malnourishment, pills, or blood loss. I realized how much I had ended up abusing my body and mind, pushing away anything that could physically or mentally help me. I don't think I was ever suicidal, but self destructive enough that my body couldn't handle it anymore. I created a barrier to completely isolate myself from the world.
There was a time when I hated myself, and would do anything to punish my body. I was severely depressed and felt I wasn't worth taking care of. Standing at ninety pounds, I kept myself busy working every minute of the day so that I wouldn't have to stop and face myself. I never wanted to die, but I had no respect for life.
I've always created. My work has been anger, hate, nothing, everything, chaos, happiness, uncertainty. For me, creating has been a huge part of recovery. I had an interest in art my entire life, both as it spiraled downhill and started climbing back up again. I started dancing, which I had previously quit, and the movement brought me back to life. It didn't just make negative feelings go away. It created energy, created a will to live. Despite all the stereotypes dancers face, I think dance teaches you to respect your body. When treated with care, it is capable of amazing things.
The healing process doesn't always look like a healing process. It's full of rebounding and medicating and even worse, self medicating. But as we emerge from darkness we can shed light on others. We all need something to get us through difficult times. It's the something that defines whether it will help or hurt us. We can take it out on ourselves, on others, or find another way to vent.
Most of us have had a few twists in our path. I think it's because we're building it ourselves. At some point, we make a choice. With all the strength I felt dance had given me, I knew it couldn't be my profession. Some torn up cartilage and messed up knees decided that for me. So, we can plow ahead, or we sit down and accept this place as the best we can do. I had to discover another art form to keep my spirit alive. That's when I got interested in the fiber arts.
Most people I meet are never fully happy with themselves. There's always a criticism, always a negative word that stands in their way. For me, I've struggled to find the balance between moving forward and being happy with what I have. I don't think I've entirely found that balance yet, maybe I never will. But as long as people know to aim for it, they'll be okay. Striving for more doesn't make what you've accomplished less significant. It forms a step that can be climbed to get to the next one.
As artists we hold a considerable amount of power. Creating makes me feel more powerful than anything. We can inspire, express, ignite emotion. Life is pretty dreary unless you add your own meaning to it. We all have the same goal, to be happy, and so we constantly yearn for color and zest in life. Our goal shouldn't be just to make people smile, or to show the horrors of life. We should tell it like it is, what we feel at that exact moment. Somewhere, someone else can relate.
Creating is even more rewarding than seeing and being affected by art. I try to make things that can be worn, so someone can put it on and feel a little more daring, a little more alive. Next time you find yourself in a rut, I dare you to create something that inspires someone to live life to the fullest. You'd be surprised how rewarding it is to yourself.