I guess you could call this The Balance of Creativity + Health part 2. This year is off to a sprint already. It is hard to believe that it is nearly March already. And I’ll be honest, I haven’t come close to some of my quarter 1 goals. And I am learning (re-learning) to be okay with that.
One theme that is common amongst creatives who manage serious + longterm health conditions is the constant reminder that our trajectory is not “the norm”. Even after 15 years of being an MG patient, I still catch myself wondering if I will ever catch up to where my colleagues + peers are at in life and business. This is not a means of twisted self-deprecation masking a desire for someone to tell me I’m doing great – I promise it is not! It is just part of the hand I’ve been dealt.
The reality is that being a person with an incurable disability means that I will always be practicing managing the expectations of others + of myself. My husband and nearing our 4 year wedding anniversary; we are inching closer to 30. We don’t have kids – we don’t know when or if that will be a possibility for us with my health. One thing you will learn very quickly if a loved one is diagnosed with an incurable + serious disease; every single part of your life is affected + influenced by this diagnosis. We don’t own a house. So while our friends close on their homes + share their exciting announcements of expecting a child, we joyfully celebrate for and with them. We are watching them meet these milestones, and we step back knowing that our path will be so different. But I also know that I cannot – should not – evaluate myself based on where others are at in their lives. If I did, I would always have a chip on my shoulder + a sour attitude.
The same goes for business. My success as a painter will look different from my able bodied peers. It is not realistic for me to set the expectation that I will create large bodies of work that sell out within hours – my body is incredible in what it can handle, but I also know my limits. I need to be kind to my body. I need that physically, but emotionally as well so that I have the stores of energy + creativity to paint. It’s not fair to myself or to my friends to evaluate my success based on whether or not it lines up with their milestones.
So for now, I will continue to work slowly on the paintings + projects that bring me joy . I’ll continue to remind myself that where I am at now is worth celebrating. And I’ll day dream with donuts. Because who doesn’t love a little donut with their paint?