When I was younger, I thought that my night terrors were usual. I thought that my overactive imagination was a curse.
I thought I was abnormal and didn’t fit in anywhere. I didn’t know an artist lived with anxiety.
Once Upon A Time
I grew up with my mother and grandparents under the same roof. My mother was an artist, drawing and painting. My grandpa worked at a binding company for publishers. He would bring home many books that had small defaults in the paging, margins or didn’t make the mark. Believe me; we had priceless bookshelves!
The other fun part of him working in that field was all the paper he would bring home for me to practice my drawing skills. At first, I envied my mother until she sat beside me and taught me the basics of anatomy.
“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”Anais Nin
Focusing, helped me put my demons aside while drawing, I couldn’t give them importance. All those thoughts about fearing hell because my mother had me outside of marriage imposed on me by a great-uncle and great-aunt. Then, thoughts about being different and the black sheep of the family, the brat and alone child without a father.
Dark thoughts, terrorizing me and haunting me like demons under the bed waiting for my arm to fall off the mattress and grab me to drag me to hell where I thought I belonged because someone like me needed to run away and never come back.
The only way I finally found a way to fall asleep was not only provided by endless hours of drawing but reading and took my grandmother to hang a dream-catcher made by a Native American woman who told her exactly where to put it.
It also took our friend, our priest to cleanse my bedroom and promise me no more dark thoughts would invade my dreams. It also took whale chants to help me so I could focus on their voice while falling asleep.
“Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase. Hakuna Matata, aint’ no passing craze. It means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s a problem free philosophy. Hakuna Matata.” Timon & Pumbaa, The Lion King
When I watched The Lion King, I didn’t feel alone anymore with that burning knot in my stomach sometimes setting my throat on fire holding up my tears thinking of my loneliness. I had Simba, then learned that Hakuna Matata meant no worries and sometimes, I would repeat those words to myself rocking myself back and forth on my bed.
My Artist Mind
Over the years I have developed a strong relationship with my imagination. Sometimes overgrowing my consciousness, I let it overpower me and guide me. Some would say it is unhealthy, but if they could spend one day in my head, deprived of imagination, they would know that it is the only thing in this world keeping me grounded.
I don’t want to be sane, because I refuse to believe that our world is gray. I don’t want to be tied to reality, because I believe we are all meant to be free. I don’t want to be kept in a cubicle, another word for a cage because I am not a monkey at a zoo.
Living with anxiety is hard, it eats everything of what you are within and scratches your brain until it bleeds and feeds off your fears that it is providing you. It moves along when all seems all right, it shapes up its nest and lay their eggs; OCD, IBS, PTSD, and always more.
I refuse to give anxiety power. I rely on my imagination to take over and keep my focus on my next novel or drawing, if it was as simple as turning off a switch, believe me, that I would’ve done it a long time ago.
To those who say, “Just get over it!” I want you to know that unless you have dug your way out of black quicksand by digging your fingers into the earth until it bled, slowly swallowing damp dirt as air escaped your lungs about to swallow you whole.
Unless you felt as if a thousand hands dragged you back into the abyss, while you finally mobilized your elbows into the jungle’s ground, you do not know what anxiety feels like and most likely don’t care to know.
A Drawing Escape
I do draw many light subjects because it gives me hope and fills my mind with joy and happiness. Disney is one place I like to lose myself, mostly The Lion King universe. Animals are also a sweet escape that brings me warmth and comfort.
Humans only remind me that every day of my life I have to fight their judging eyes, thoughts and stay strong despite society staining me and saying that I don’t belong because they are right: I don’t belong in the gray world. I belong in an overly colorful jungle filled with wildlife, where everyone is free, and love is the only money needed.
Living with anxiety is the most cursed of all gifts.
The OCD Nerd,