So the topic of the day is how do I use the arts and creativity to help with Friedreich's Ataxia? Well I do so in many ways.
I have been drawing and painting from such a young age that I do not even remember. I did a lot of painting in my early twenties then for some reason put down my brushes. It was not until the summer of 2012 that I met a local artist that would inspire me more than I ever thought imaginable. His name was Bill Correira, otherwise known as BC Woo. Not only was he an amazing artist but just so happened do be a huge supporter of FARA! He had painted at the past two FARA Energy Ball events in Tampa. It was like it was meant for us to meet.
Where I live, in St. Petersburg, FL, we have a weekly art meet up outside where artists gather to create, share ideas, and inspire each other. We paint, draw, sculpt, anything, and just hang out together for a good time. I had gone as an onlooker for a few weeks until Woo got me talking and he found out I used to paint. Mind you, I had not held a paint brush in over 6 years, but he managed to convince me to pick one up again and told me I never stopped being an artist . I then spent a few days a week with him at his gallery just hanging out and painting again.
Bill Correira "BC Woo" painting at the FARA Energy Ball, 2012.
Now, how does this help my FA you ask? I use it in a couple of different ways. As many know, depression comes with any incurable disease. It is not something fun to think about. Being creative, in any way, helps distract the mind and focus on something fun, good, and happy. All of those words are cliche but true. It helped me take my mind off of something "bad" happening to me. I know that painting is not for everyone, but I was lucky to be born into a family full of artists and musicians. It had always come so naturally to me. Any craft is exciting and healthy, from paints to jewelry making to scrap booking, all of it is art!
It also is like exercise for my motor skills. I have to work a bit harder than some artists to hold a brush steady in my hands to get that nice straight line. It also makes my eyes focus on what I am doing which in turn gives my eye muscles exercise with my nystagmus (involuntary eye movement). I admit that, with my progression, some of those simple tasks have declined. I have moved from not just working with brushes but mixing it with finger painting too.
Now where I live I am actually called a local artist! Even though I do not show my art in galleries nor am I looking to profit from them. I am just a simple girl that likes to paint and others enjoy it! I have paintings now from Florida to Utah to Michigan! And my list will keep going because I do not see myself stopping, I want to learn so many more mediums to work with now. It is my relaxing therapy to get my mind off of FA.