So big news in my world…I reached 1000 followers on my Instagram account! I know to many of you, that seems so minimal (but hey, I am on a bit of a minimal art kick right now, so it works for me) but the IG community has been so powerful for me. Why, you ask? Well here is a bit about me that might give you a few clues:
I have struggled with Lyme Disease and a few nasty co-infections for about 3 years, and before that a minor bout with non-invasive breast cancer. This has caused lots of havoc in my body and my mental health, so most days I really don’t like to leave my house. I have a few really good friends in the “real world” who I try and make an effort to visit and laugh with as energy allows, but the IG community has also been an integral part of my life in the last year or so. It has been a daily boost to my creative spirit, an immense support as I strive to sell my art and an encouragement to see that others can “push through” their challenges with kindness and grace.
So head on over to my Instagram account @melissamaryjenkinsart and follow the Giveaway Guidelines where you can win this “stripy” painting and one for a friend!
“come to life”
36″ x 48″
What is life…
Over the past year I have heard several definitions of life. Early on in my health struggles, a doctor flippantly said to me:
“I guess it’s just life” as I stumbled out of the doctor’s office in a daze of nausea, weakness and pain.
As I was describing how I felt to a friend, I made the comment that I just wanted to get back to “my life”. Her well-intentioned response was:
“This is your life”.
I am not sure why this response irritated me to the core, and continues to irk me. I want to scream to these people that, “No. This is not my life!!! Something has taken over my health, and I am not willing to have this be “my life”! I am not willing to be complacent and miss out on the “normal” activities that I had dreamed of experiencing with my children!!! I had worked hard to create a well-balanced and healthy life for both my family and myself. I made sure to eat healthy, exercise regularly, include humour, music and inspiration daily, create a peaceful home both inside and out, and maintain healthy friendships with family and friends.
Another doctor told me (with good intention) that I was suffering from PTSD because of a non-invasive breast cancer diagnosis and treatment a few months prior to coming down with my “mysterious symptoms”. He continued to explain to me that my body was responding to the stress in my life. What he didn’t know, is that I loved my life both during and after the cancer diagnosis. I was surrounded by a calm, wise and supportive husband, loving friends, and dedicated and helpful family members. I am essentially a hopeful person who knows that her “life” shouldn’t be crowded with burning pain and unrelenting fatigue.
I refused to believe the gentle Chinese Medicine Practitioner who said that I had pushed all of my anxiety and sensitivity down into my organs. I refused to believe that I had somehow created this “life”.
And then finally there was the kind doctor who said that he believed that I was in pain but that there was nothing he could do. Well, his complacency was the “final straw”. His lack of willingness to push further is what finally spurred me to follow the advice of a woman who found hope in a Lyme literate doctor in New Jersey.
My “life” has finally pulled onto the on-ramp of hope. I know it will be a long and difficult journey, filled with many road blocks and detours, but at least I have hope. To me, hope is life. And yes, now this is “my life”.