We all know that there is no one on this earth who is perfect or has a perfect life. Everyone has emotional garbage, insecurities, and struggles. They might be dealing with a dead-end job, family turmoil, or even mental illness, and often what you see is a facade created to hide their pain and shame. That was me. I have fought anxiety and depression all my life. Living with mental illness set me apart from others. I was always an outsider looking in and I felt less than others.
I thought that I had to be the same as my peers and have the things that they had. I had the good job, the big house, and the nice car. I moved away and got an even better job working in collections for a commercial lender. It was a fast-paced soul-sucking numbers game. My anxiety was at an all-time high during these three years. The stresses of working in corporate America were killing me. My ears and the veins in my neck would throb and my heart rate would rage even while sitting still at my desk. This drove me to a nervous breakdown in December of 2019. I left work on FMLA, but I couldn’t go back. This lifestyle was wrong for me.
I’ve been through a whiplash of ups and downs in the last two years. Good has come out of it though. During that time, I came to the conclusion that I was just fine without those things. I now accept myself as I am. I’m not a yes man. I’m not a corporate climber and I never was. I was trying to keep up with what I thought was normal. I now know that there is only my normal. I’m an artist and a free spirit. I live simply and with less than others. I’m working on myself and my art. I’m happier now than I have been in decades.
Today, my work helps me to see and accept these things in myself. When I paint a line, it no longer has to be absolutely straight or fine. The globs that fall outside of the intended line do not bother me at all. They are part of the art and they allow me to release control. The work still has value.