Two years ago I was depressed, it felt like standing in the sea at low tide, and as the water began to rise, I was overcome with stillness and could not move. For a very long time, the water felt like it was just below my nose, water so close I could see my reflection. But unexpectedly I found solitude in art.
I gave birth to my ‘sun’ in 2014, and like sunlight, he enabled me to see things that had previously been swallowed in darkness. He came with a bundle of knowledge, I was the child and he was my teacher.
At this point, I began a journey of self-acceptance and love. People who have walked a similar path will know that when changing your relationship with yourself, it can disrupt and break down your relationships with others who aren’t on your new wavelength.
With my eyes opened, I became highly sensitive to environments and people that were toxic. These environments and people were once normal, now had an adverse effect on my physical and mental health. I felt anxious, had countless sleepless nights and my eczema flared up. In the black community, mental health is not dealt with sensitively or taken seriously. I felt that I had to just ‘get on with it’. The doctors prescribed drugs but I prescribed myself with self-love, art and nature.
I jumped onto Youtube to help me develop new artistic skills. Once I put my son to sleep, I’d stay up watching tutorials for hours. I would often regret staying up all night, but it was definitely worth it. One night I stumbled across an SFX (special effects makeup) tutorial and fell in love.
Special effects makeup is an umbrella for quite a varied set of skills. I fell in love with the blood and gore aspect, creating cuts, bruises and sliced fingers. I felt ‘beat up’ so this directly reflected my emotions at the time. I had found something that made me feel alive. I would dream about SFX in my sleep and would try new ideas the following day.
There’s an image on my Instagram page called “Priceless”, which depicts how I felt about my job at the time, this was my lowest point. With the skills I had learnt from Youtube, I was able to express how I felt, without verbalising it! It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Things were rocky, and with a combination of listening to Ralph Smart on youtube, taking walks in the forest, playing Lego with my son, painting, expressing how I felt through art and meditation, I made it through. I felt good about myself, and I had purged myself of negative environments, thoughts and people.
I have no regrets, I give thanks for those situations that made me feel low, without them there would have been no growth. I would have stayed the same, how boring! Growing pains are essential for growth, and I embrace that. Change is constant, and I feel a part of my anxiety was brought about by my insistence for everything to stay the same; stay in the same relationships, job, eat the same food, have the same perception of life. My reality was turned upside down, and I was scared. A sense of fluidity has helped me immensely, to embrace both ‘good’ and seemingly ‘bad’ change.
I accept me, I’m a work in progress, and my art keeps me sane. To anyone feeling alone in a world of people. Keep striving, you’re beautiful. When YOU start believing it, life can become magical, it’s all in you.
Check out Jade’s work on Instagram