My Story of Art + Healing
There's always a balance of not sharing too much but sharing enough to be relatable. Having been through "hard things" that were taboo to talk about, I did make a promise to myself to not stay silent on struggles. This world doesn't need another person hiding behind social media squares acting like everything is okay.
Because a lot of my life hasn't been okay. But I very much am okay.
I was born an artist. One of my first words was "me" and that was in reference to a pencil---I started drawing at a very early age and now, at 36, I've only stopped once. I will never purposefully make the decision to put my pencil down again.
Art got me through being bullied as a teenager, through illness, through a very unhealthy relationship, and through a lot of trauma. It has helped me heal and cope and overcome.
This business was birthed from illness and yet has become one of the greatest joys of my life. I love my job. I wake up so thankful for my customers, for art, for creativity, for entrepreneurship, for this life I get to live and for all of my struggles -- without the valleys I would never have found the top of this mountain.
One day I'll share more, but folks ask me often how this business got started and here's the truth:
In the spring of 2019 we finally had an answer: endometriosis. I had battled horrible periods since I was 11, but I had no idea the symptoms they could cause outside of the female reproductive system. We met with Dr. Sinervo at the Center for Endometriosis care in Atlanta, and I was scheduled for surgery March 5th, 2020.
In September of 2019 I had an overwhelming desire to create the state of Alabama out of wildflowers using a vintage scientific illustration + watercolor style. After finishing the piece, I dipped my calligraphy pen in ink to add my signature and a massive blot of ink fell to the side. The drop was too large to cover with a mat and made it unable to sell as an original. I decided to scan the piece, remove the ink drop in photoshop and sell it as a print.
Within 72 hours, the Alabama print sold out 3 times. I do believe that this ink drop was divine intervention as it changed the direction of my life. Over the next few weeks requests for other states started coming in and this small-business came to be.
Art and this business and my amazing customers kept me going, helped me thrive, and gave me so much joy.
In December 2020, Drew and I decided that it was time to move forward with treating Adenomyosis -- with the only treatment method available being a total hysterectomy. This was an extremely hard decision, but the truth was that I was still sick. I was still spending more days on the couch than I ever wanted to admit. My quality of life was still poor.
On February 28th, 2021 I underwent surgery for a total hysterectomy to treat adenomyosis. I felt better within a few hours of surgery than I had in years. At my 2 week follow-up call I told my surgeon that I had to continually remind myself that I just had a major operation because I felt so great that I was forgetting that I needed to actually "recover"---I felt so alive, so ready to work, so ready to start living again.
I am a different person now -- and I couldn't be more thankful for all of my struggles. My struggles have changed me for the better. They've allowed me to see the world differently. They've brought so many blessings into my life. My struggles have always been met with my art making, and I think this is why I now choose to create bright and happy.
I love your name!🙂 thanks for sharing your story. I’m so glad that your surgery has fixed the problem and I wish you all the best concerning your adoption. I too had a hysterectomy but my reasoning was due to cancer. It’s been a long battle and I’m still fighting it. It’s taken alot from me and I truly wish I could give up. I’m now homeless and trying to be the best single mom I can be. My daughter thinks we’re camping yet in reality were homeless and living in a tent in grant park. Reading your story has given me hope so thank you Amanda and may God bless you always. ✌AMANDA