Biographical Non-Fiction posted October 21, 2020


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Art saved my sanity

Born an Artist

by Aussie


Just as the war in the Pacific ended in 1945, I was born in Sydney. Growing up in Sydney I was a total rebel, I hated school and I couldn't wait to leave. Mother was at her wit's end trying to keep me tethered to reality. My father understood, he was a cartoonist.

At age fifteen I found my tether. Mother approached my soon-to-be boss, and told him I was artistic. And so I worked at a design studio converting designs to paper for three years.

I had a good grounding in mixing colours and working on graph paper. My life had taken a turn for the better. The years passed and soon I was restless again. Mother was horrified when I applied to be a bus conductress! I love people; six years on the buses brought to me a man who loved me so much, we married in 1969. In hindsight, I just wanted to escape home! He loved me too much, I in turn just needed a friend. His real nature surfaced and it wasn't good.

Six months into the marriage disaster struck. I grew up in a family that did not drink alcohol. Unknown to me at age twenty-four, I had married a hardened drinker. He was abusive and tried to own me. I stuck it out until I couldn't take it anymore. After seeing an ad in the paper asking for nurses I was employed the next day. A new chapter, a rewarding time in my life journey.

I nursed for six years and found myself drawn to disabled people. During this time I was still dabbling in paint. I spent many happy hours teaching disabled kids how to work with colours. I left nursing to become a supervisor in a sheltered workshop. One day on my way home from work on my motorcycle, I was hit by a car, critically injured and spent three months in hospital.

These were very dark days, eventually, the left leg was amputated as the injuries were too severe. My faith was sorely tested. I met a Priest who visited my room whenever he could.
Together we prayed for those less fortunate on the wards. I left hospital with renewed faith, humility and hope for the future.

I worked hard in rehab and three months after the operation I walked in a temporary leg.
It was a life-changing experience. To start over and be a disabled person was so hard.

The Government compensation finally came through after three years. It helped but it didn't make up for my happy, previous life. I was down but not out.

My next adventure was to start a riding school and so I bought eight horses. I soon realised I was too crippled to care for them and the drought had made it so expensive to feed them.
Another idea came to me, I would start a branch of Riding for the Disabled. After donating my horses, our new branch flourished. I was riding again. My art career was put on hold. Being involved with disabled kids was a healing tonic for my emotional self.

Being on the back of a horse is so wonderful, you are an able bodied person again. I was even able to take part in an endurance ride and won a medal. I was beaming from ear to ear.

When the branch was finally on its feet and there was so many disabled kids having a great time - it was time for me to move on. I bought a house in a little country town. My partner had died and I needed time to be by myself and hopefully get back to my first love, painting.

The sweet little town needed an art gallery. And so I put an ad in the local paper for those interesting in learning how to draw and paint. Starting off with three people, it grew steadily and today (twenty-six years on) it is still going and growing.

Surrounded by like-minded people, I was healing emotionally. Arts and crafts are a wonderful way of shutting out pain and emotional suffering. You can sit down and feel sorry for yourself or you can get up and try. I have always tried to do my best for others.

During the time spent in the country I took to completing diplomas in writing and I was asked to teach painting. Every weekend I taught workshops and was involved in teaching the art of painting with pastels. I am now complete in so many ways. My art is flourishing and my writing of poems and short stories on fanstory keeps my brain quiet. I own my disability, it doesn't own me. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.






Share Your Story contest entry


Contest entry: My life has been a wonderful journey. I was the first disabled person elected to the National Body of Riding for the Disabled. I still paint a little, arthritis has taken its toll on my hands. Note: "you can do it and it is worthwhile." I love writing on Fan Story, now in my eleventh year online. Thanks for reading.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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