Monday, August 04, 2008

Total Frustration

Do you think it is possible to die without creativity in your life? Because, frankly, I am going absolutely insane. I never realize how dependant my sanity has been on being able to create. But then again, as I sit here and think back to how I started to be more creative, I should have realized it.

Maybe it is time I share that part of my life. I have told a few people about it... friends and family know about how I got to be the person I am today. But I haven't ever just sat down and shared it here. (And for lack of anything else to write, it'll give me something to do.)

You already know that I have always been an artistic person. I took a lot of art classes in high school. It comes from my Dad. He had always been a doodler and sketcher. And when I come across drawings of his in old photo albums I am amazed. He had a wonderful eye for perspective and I think he could have been an amazing cartoonist. Anyway, he says now that when my drawings started coming home from school, he stopped drawing. It still surprises me to hear that because (being the perfectionist that I am) I can find fault in pretty much anything I have done.

As I have joked about here many times, there are a bunch of sides to my personality. Along with that artistic being in me, there was a very practical student. I worked hard, got great grades, did work study programs at Kodak (ask me about microdensitometry sometime) and tried to figure out what I was going to "be" when I grew up. It was a toss up between being an English teacher (because I love to write) and being an Architech (because I love design).

Enter in the man in my life.

Ron and I met when I was very young (was 16 and he was 24). We were both working at a local golf club. It wasn't love at first site or anything. It was something that developed over time. And me being the naive, young, people pleasing gal that I was slowly started forgetting who I was in lue of this relationship. I gave up my friends to be with him and his, I gave up the idea of going off to college to stay near him, I stopped doing the things I loved to do and did the things he wanted to do. And in Ron's defense, he never asked me to do anything... it is just what I did.

Eventually, we moved in together (my idea) just two months after I graduated high school. I did get that scholarship to a local college for visual communication and graphic design. So, I started down a college path that I ended up finding to be a total waste of time. The classes were easier then high school and with no effort at all I have a GPA of 3.925 (yeah, I had 1 B and 15 As). Ron was going to school too and working. I think we were slowly growing apart. Until... just 6 months after moving in together, we found out I was preggers.

We should have seen it coming... there is this family joke that Kester's can get pregnant if the wind is blowing the right way. We had been together almost 3 years at that point, and had tossed around the idea of getting married. But in our theoretical conversations, it was after school was done. Now that we had Jacob on the way we decided to speed things up. I was 19 when Jacob was born and then 6 months later, we got hitched. And then... 6 months after that, we found out Andrew was on the way.

By the time that I was 21, the girl that wanted to go away to college and become something grand... and never wanted to have kids... was now a stay at home Mom watching Barney for hours with no friends (gave those up remember) and had no means to busy my mind (cause I quit school). We couldn't afford to have me work, we would have had to pay for me to work with what the cost of daycare would have been. I started to feel so trapped. And I completely shut down.

In the summer of 2001, I was 23 and I had a nervous breakdown. There is no way else to put it. It was never officially diagnosed, because I refused to go to the doctors. In my mind it was everyone else's fault that I was so unhappy. It had been coming on for a while. Slowly, I just detached. I broke Ron's heart and told him I wanted to leave him. I am so thankful now that he wouldn't let me. I did end up getting a part time job bartending in the evenings at that same golf club where Ron and I met. But bartending while so depressed is never a good idea. I was drinking a lot. And after my shift, I would drive to the park and just sit in my car and cry. I didn't want to go home. There were so many times I thought about just driving away.

Just as slowly as it came on... I worked on making it go away. At some point I flipped a switch in my mind and started to accept responsibility for myself. It was my fault I wasn't happy. I needed to figure out what I needed to be happy. It started with a trip to England for a wedding. It was ten days away from everything and by the end of the trip I knew I wanted to be back home. I started remembering things that made me feel good before. I loved to read for myself but hadn't bothered with babies around. So I started to pick up "chic lit" paperbacks to fill my afternoons. I got a full time job too and let the boys go to daycare. I remember one conversation with one of my aunts. She said she went through a similar time. And she assured me that it is okay to go back to work, and okay if I needed more. Not staying home didn't make me a bad Mom.

By 2002, for some wild and crazy reason, I wanted another baby. Ron was totally against it. We had talked about things so many times and had decided that some of my breakdown that summer had been post pardum depression after Andrew. Ron was very scared that it would happen again. Plus, we had started to see the troubling behaviors in Andrew that would later be diagnosed as Bi-Polar disorder, and Ron felt all our attention should be on him. Eventually I wore Ron down. And after a horrible miscarriage, in 2003, we were blessed with Lauren.

This time, staying home was a choice. And being home was worlds different then it had been 5-6 years before. I held on to the knowledge that I needed to make sure I was keeping my mind occupied and my heart happy. No one else can do it for you. When Lauren was about 5 months old, I got it into my head that I wanted to write her name with wire, for a necklace, like the ones you see at street shows. I went to Michael's, the craft store, and by the end of the evening I had 22 pairs of earrings. The rest, as they say, is history.

So... here I am... in the new house that I fought so hard for... with the things I love so much, that keep me sane and happy, taken away. I know I am being dramatic, it's only away for a few weeks. But, I have become so dependant on my art that is like my right arm. I can't do without it. Saturday afternoon had me sitting on the kitchen floor crying. Ron wanted to know what was wrong, and I said "I just need my torch back... I need to be making things... I am full of ideas and can't get them out... I AM JUST SO FRUSTRATED!"

I know what you are thinking... just get your ideas out in your sketch book, Kerry, or go sew something, or paint something... you don't have to torch. And you are right. I can, and I will. But for the moments I can't, all this that came before is why I wish I was.


deehebard said...

Oh are an amazing woman. Having spent some time with you, I would never know of your struggles. I m sorry that you are having troubles.

How about going to the place in Rochester that you taught me the wire class and use a torch there...take your glass and spend some time torching. It might help to tide you over until your setup is complete.

Hope you have a better day today!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing passion for life you have to be able to overcome depession, have a loving husband and family, and be wildly creative!
You are truly blessed and gifted. I think you should continue on with your life story, writing it down, or even write a children's story about bi-polar disorder giving hope to other parents and children affected by the affliction.

I look forward to your blogs everyday and think you are a powerful, intelligent woman! Keep on creating the best way you know how until your torch is back in action!

ellen said...

You are such a strong woman, Kerry. While reading your story, I see that you pulled yourself out of a dark place.
I get the feeling that this place isn't as dark and I feel confident that you will get to the other side.
Your creativity is bursting and needs an outlet so I understand your frustration.
Just don't take it out in chocolate!

Christine said...

It's possible to *feel* like you are dying without creativity. I certainly feel that way a lot. I'm hounded by ideas all day long and into the night, but can't get to the torch consistently to work them out. And unlike you, I can't draw, so when I do get out a sketchbook, I can't get the drawing to look like what's in my head (that I can't make b/c I can't sit down at the torch!). It is very frustrating. Since I started staying home with my kids (ages 8mos, 2 and 9), I feel like the creativity is just pouring out of me...but I can't seem to harness it all at once. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

oh kerry, are an incredible, strong, and talented woman. thank you for sharing your story. i don't feel so alone in my own stuff. continue taking good care of yourself. kind regards, lisa d., OR

Shannon said...

Kerry, I haven't gone through exactly what you have, but I can understand, jsut a little. I went through a dark time in my life where I had to have something just for ME.

Find that outlet, no matter what. You'll get your torch back before you know it!

Anonymous said...

Hot head outside as a temporary creative outlet?

Laura Blanck said...

Dear Kerry, thank you for letting me know that I'm not alone with the conflicts of wanting to create all the time and being unable to.
"An artist all my life, now I'm having an affair with glass...." that's how I begin talking about me when I send my resume to Fine Art Shows. But lately I feel so scattered, with so many responsabilities and things to do outside "my artistic" life. And I suffer when I cannot indulge in my passionate creation conduct....
Well, life is not only art. Life is what it is. And we should be able to enjoy it or not even if we are not "doing" art.
Lately, I find myself reading your blog daily (or nightly), I like you, very much.
All the best for you, Laura from Openstudio.
PS: By the way, my website is not working now, and I don't have the time to fix it!