I posted this on Instagram a while ago, because I felt like it gave some necessary background on my work/philosophy. I wanted to share it over here as well, since it's been a big part of developing as a person and as an artist over the last two and a half years.
We usually concentrate on the ‘sun’ part of the Thistle & Sun equation, but today we’re going to talk about one of my thistles. So, about a year ago I was diagnosed with something called M.E. It has a slew of small symptoms, but the big ones (full-body weariness, muscle aches) make me feel like I have the flu a lot of the time. That has been a reality of life for about two and a half years now, as long as I’ve been doing this thing professionally. I share this not to seek sympathy, quick fixes, or miracle diets, but to let you in on context for when I write about hanging on to beauty and good in the midst of tough.
When I wrote about thistles, I was not referencing someone saying something snarky, or not being invited somewhere - I was writing from a place of coming to terms. Reconciling old dreams with new limitations. Spending roller coaster days feeling either completely zen or crying curled up on my bedroom floor, trying to deal with the idea of managing pain for the rest of my life. Mourning the loss of a normal body, while trying to figure out real life with the new one. Being literally flattened by days that fed my soul, but made my body weak. Here’s the thing though: it wasn’t all pain and tears; there were breakthrough moments, times when I could see myself being made softer, my soul more refined. When I was diagnosed, I decided to keep quiet about it until I actually had something to say, and some sense of normalcy and management. Management has finally arrived (although there are always things I can improve, since I’m far from a place of saintly endurance, as I’m sure my family + church family could tell you). Two out of three meals a day are carb and sugar free (it helps with the aches), I spend my time out in smaller quantities but with greater quality, and I do yoga a couple times a week.
Funny enough, I think what I have to say is what I have been saying all along, but hopefully me telling you about the bigger picture will lend it greater depth: Life is difficult, but it is beautiful. When I say that I believe in loveliness and grit existing side-by-side, I’m coming from a place with a decent amount of grit. It’s Thistle AND Sun. Not just sunshine and rainbows. Not just sharp edges and torn pieces. I’m coming from a place where pain effects me every day, and I can tell you two things from the depths of my soul: God is good, and His work is beautiful. And I’ll probably spend the rest of my life beating that drum, and taking photos that show it.