Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Story Time V ...in Conclusion

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a local artist who has had an admirable and successful career here in Idaho. We discussed at length what exactly makes an artist an artist? Are we born or are we made? It is a fascinating question to be sure.
This gentleman had a turbulent childhood in which his father abandoned him with an abusive mother. He grew up feeling completely unloved. The only time he feels truly free and happy is when he is creating. Even though he is now a grandfather, he still struggles with his inner pain.
It truly is the ol' chicken and egg question.
So, will I ever be free from my inner turmoil? Do I cause my own turmoil because I am too sensitive? Was I born this way or did life circumstances make me who I am today?
All I know, is that I certainly DO have an insatiable need to create beautiful things to ease my pain and bring me some semblance of peace.
Well, whatever the case, I am who I am, and for the first time in my life I am starting to accept myself, as is, warts and all.
After all this introspection I am ready to close the chapter on my past. As I write these words I am envisioning a vault whose contents are the painful memories of my childhood, previous disappointments, hardships, despair and hopelessness. I am closing the door and walking away. Far away. I hope to never revisit that vault again.
I cannot forget what is in that vault because those things are part of who I am ...but they are not ALL that I am and I will dwell there no longer. Can I get an Amen?
In my daughter I have been given the greatest, most unimaginably precious gift of my life...a clean slate. Through her, I get a second chance at childhood and I am so excited about that. She came into my life at just the right time and she is pure hope and joy!
So I am going forward from this point in my life fully aware of my limitations but now I will just view them in a different light.
I am calling a truce with my mental illness, until there is a cure for bipolar/depression, I will have to roll with the ups and downs as gracefully as I can. For the sake of myself and my loved ones I can no longer endure the battles of the past. Hopefully, those who care about me and want to be a part of my life will also extend grace to me when I am in those dark places, as those times will inevitably come.
The past several years have been so difficult in so many ways and as every New Year dons my wish has been that the next one will be better. This has not proven so. I now realize that I need to stop wishing for things to get better, and start MAKING things get better!
...and that is what this deeply personal blogging has been all about.
Thank you for being a part of my process and putting up with my rantings.

I wish all my readers a very happy holiday season. And Let us MAKE 2012 a better year!


yarnplayer said...

You've mentioned some of the things that already are in your personal "happy place", such as making things and enjoying a new childhood with your daughter. Go there - to your "happy place", and close the vault on the crappy stuff. By "go there", I mean a sort of state of being, not a physical place. A state of being sort of like the peacefulness that you feel when you're doing something you enjoy, or thinking about your favorite things, like in the song from the Sound of Music.

Miranda said...

I am glad that you are able to end your painful story on such a positive note. I've always admired your determination to see the positive in everything and make the best of any situation, even at the worst moments of your life.

I think that all too often, we define people by their mental illnesses. We say that a person "is" bipolar, or schizophrenic, or depressed, as if that were the sum total of who they are; instead, we should say that they *have* bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, or depression. We don't do that as much with physical illnesses; for example, you would never dream of saying that someone "is" coronary artery disease, no matter how much that condition might affect their life. We say that they *have* coronary artery disease and recognize that, while CAD does make a person's life more challenging, it is not the essence of their being.

So I say, you are not bipolar. You are Sherry Pence, a warm and caring person, devoted mother, loving wife, talented artist in many media, a person who increases the amount of joy and beauty in the world, and many other good things that I don't know about you, and you also happen to have a challenging condition called bipolar disorder. I'm sure it's hard to keep this in perspective sometimes, but I hope you will remind yourself of it every day.

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Thank you Miranda! That is a beautifully stated point!

Sarah said...

Sherry and Miranda,
Thank you so much for sharing. I have been struggling with things too. And this is so beautiful and uplifting. At first, I constantly would try to cover mine all up with talents, hobbies, service. But it was still there. Then I tried my best to stare it in the face, dissecting every little piece of it. Nothing seemed to work. Just recently, being a little more open about things, and not trying to do it all by myself, is what has really helped more than anything.It was very difficult to take that step due to the fact that there is much ignorance still in the world about things like this.(ironically by people who suffer the worst forms). I have found who my real friends are. I havn't closed the door all the way, but when I do see something creeping up, I feel like I deal with it in a healthier better way than I used to . A lot of it has disappeared, but I cant say its all gone for good yet. There's too much there. One piece at a time, with lots of strength being added in between times! And I'm not all balanced yet, but at least I'm standing and taking a step each day. Way better than where I was before. Strange: I have noticed that this year it seems that a lot of people are gaining insight to things like this and working through it.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

It must have been difficult for you to share your story, but now that it has been told, I hope you are able to put your past where it belongs... behind you! I pray that you are able to focus on your beautiful daughter and all the positive things you have in your life!

Maureen said...

Spot on...as we say here.....turn the page now, move on to the next chapter, and don't let the past define you. You can't ignore it, but when we know where we are from, we can move on with knowledge and insight.
And absolutely nobody is perfect!!!