I was browsing my Facebook feed this Sunday afternoon when I stumbled across a post by someone whose spouse suffered from chronic illness. "My partner has CFS/ME, but I don't. How can I feel less lonely when my partner doesn't want to do anything?"
I wanted to share my experience today when I attended an NHS wheelchair assessment. This becomes particularly relevant in light of the upcoming CFS/ME parliamentary debate. CFS/ME is an invisible, variable condition that many medical professionals still deny, minimise and misunderstand, and today was just another difficult reminder of that fact.
Another October, another Inktober, and the Internet is flooded with great pieces of art. Only this year I actually participated - not just in one month-long challenge, but two. In July I also challenged myself to do a month of cat-related drawings as a parallel to Camp NaNoWriMo, then picked up my pens again for Inktober. There have been several aborted attempts at trying to do month-long drawing challenges in the past, but I've always given up after the first week or so. I'm incredibly proud of myself for doing two this year, and wanted to write about the experience I had and the lessons I learnt.
Artists are a fragile lot, generally. We begin from scratch and build our talents up, quite commonly starting at a young age when the most important thing is our parents' approval and our identities are still forming. I don't know about you, but I was really sensitive about my art at a younger age. I was particularly sensitive to criticism. Every good artist knows that (constructive) criticism is key to improving your own artwork, and that listening to what other people have to say about your stuff is essential to getting better. It's not easy to have the flaws pointed out in something you poured your heart into, that you spent hours on, but without criticism you're making the process of removing those flaws much slower. Sometimes you just need another pair of eyes.
Sometimes it feels like the only emotion that really encapsulates the disabled experience is frustration. I think able bodied people expect things to be a lot less centred around anger; they expect us to be either sad and self-pitying or blithely ignoring our disability in order to forge our way forward and "not let it hold us back". Yes, those are themes too, but if it's anything I've found to be the crux of my disabled experience it's flat-out frustration.
Becoming chronically ill at the age of 18 wasn’t a shock. That would imply a startling, one-off incident that sparked everything to go after it. No - becoming chronically ill, or more accurately realising I was ill, was a slow, unpleasant dawn. And the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) wasn’t a lightbulb going off,… Continue reading Where is Disability in Art?
I first learnt to draw - really draw, not just a kindergartener's squiggles - from Neopets. I'm sure there are those of you around my age who are reading this now and remembering with fond nostalgia the virtual pets website where you could 'adopt' cartoons that resembled dogs, cats, gryphons, and other weirder things. At… Continue reading “They’re just silly little cartoons”: Realism as Apex of Artistic Talent
This week I have been continuously thinking about laptops and tablets. Even when I lie down to sleep, all I can see are laptops flying through my vision. I've visited Curry's twice, and the Apple Store once.The reason for this is that I want to upgrade my computer setup. At present, I do most of… Continue reading Looking for Laptops as an Artist and Gamer (Part 1)
Having another creative for a partner is invaluable. (For those who don't know, my partner is a published writer who is currently studying a creative writing master's degree.) Being able to discuss my insecurities with someone who gets it, who knows how difficult it is to make it in the creative field and who knows… Continue reading Why I’m Thinking of Going to Art School