I've been an artist as long as I could hold a pencil. I went to college for drawing and design and have worked in that field for 12 and a half years. However, I always felt that I wasn't being 'creative' enough or finding the right niche.
Then in November of 2008 I was diagnosed with Uterian Fibroids and I underwent an abdominal myomectomy. Recovery is slow, and I was off of work for 6 weeks. They removed the fibroids and my doctor reconstructed my uterus in hopes that if all went well, I could still have the possibility of having children. My husband and I had not had children. In the middle of recovery, sitting on the sofa, reading, and doodling I was introduced to art journaling or visual journaling.
As I read about this, it dawned on me with amazing clarity that THIS WAS WHAT I'D ALREADY been doing for years. Combining my thoughts and feelings with images, and really just translating all that "Stuff" in my brain to my sketchbook.
From that point on, I began visually journaling passionately, I felt I was suddenly free to really just 'go there' with no boundaries. I no longer cared what people might think or say or if they'd even like it, because for the most part, this was personal journaling and may never be seen by anyone but me. But when I'd finish a page, I found that I WANTED to share. So, I did on my blog. It was a cathartic and an emotional release for me.
In March of 2009 my symptoms of fibroids returned along with a number of other painful episodes. My doctor was reluctant to admit it, but she said that the fibroids were back, and at the rate they were growing, my best and really only option of a pain free life was a hysterectomy. I was devestated. My husband and I had waited to have children, we wanted to have more 'ducks in a row' so to speak, and now, that option was gone. We decided my health was more important than keeping a painful piece of my anatomy intact. After surgery, it was found that my uterus had had other issues and I probably would never have been able to carry a baby to term anyway.
I turned to my journaling...through it all, before, after, and continuing. It has been my best friend, my shoulder to cry on and my refuge. When others did not and could not understand what I was going through, those images and pages could just absorb all of what I felt.
So, truly, my artwork has saved my health and sanity and I am very grateful for that!
By Jennifer Maroney Blog:http://www.jennifermaroney.typepad.com