Breathing with my Fingers

As my current bipolar season continues, I’m ever so grateful for this new tool of Art Journaling.  Since there are several stages to creating a spread, I can always find some piece that will fit my state of mind.  Whether it’s pulling images out of my stash for the collage bits:

Civil War Spread


Or finding new ways to use text:

Air Spread


Or slipping into a Zen state while making boarders and lines:

Into the Storm Spread


Or trying out a new tool, like this very fine tipped Pilot marker:



I can camp out at my coffee shop with my journal and let my illness be.

Megan, my therapist, said I’m not fighting it anymore, and that feels true.  It seems to be getting easier to accept whatever my illness brings—the quicksilver changes in mood, the sudden shifts in functionality.  Those things aren’t good or bad anymore.  They’re just me.

I still try to stuff myself into a “normal” sausage casing sometimes, expecting to move around in the world the way other people do.  But, as I sit with my journal, with all the space it creates in my head, I’ve started to unhook from those expectations and get curious about how I might move differently in the world.

Today, for example, I looked at how I keep trying to make commitments (like being on a committee or taking a class) when my illness makes that nearly impossible.  At some point, when my symptoms become severe, I’m forced to drop everything.  So, instead of continuing to bash myself over the head for being “unreliable,” perhaps there’s another way.  Maybe it’s a matter of showing up when I’m able.  I know the world doesn’t work this way, but I do, and I would like to honor that more.

More acceptance.  More integration.  That seems to be a by-product of all this artsy-fartsy stuff.  I’m breathing more with my fingers, slipping into meditation with color and line.  It’s a new kind of Practice.

I’ve come to a place with my art that I found a while ago with my writing—loving the mistakes and crap as much as anything that “turns out.”  The Shitty First Drafts and the Muddled Attempts are my best teachers.  They point me to the next piece of Practice.  They’re the ones who taught me to accept it all—my writing, my art and, of course, my bipolar disorder.

Funny how that all comes together.

I’m on a Funny Adventure.

30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. amindofcontradiction
    May 17, 2016 @ 16:39:28

    Love the idea of art journaling xxx


    • Sandy Sue
      May 19, 2016 @ 10:55:38

      I think what stopped me all these years was that it looked so complicated. If you’re interested in trying it, just start simple. If you like color, do that. If you like writing, do that. If you like to snip images out of magazines, do that. I think everyone has their own starting place.


  2. Jessie Martinovic
    May 17, 2016 @ 19:15:47

    I enjoy how you described the ‘coffee camp out’ situation ! Can most definitely relate to those camps, although these days the food has more a grasp on me than the pens.

    Your images are really intresting


    • Sandy Sue
      May 19, 2016 @ 10:53:11

      Thanks, Jessie. I really have to watch what I spend at the coffee shop. It can get expensive.


      • Jessie Martinovic
        May 19, 2016 @ 20:08:29

        me too, i actually have a key card, like you have for the video store, for my favourite chocolate cafe. Every time they swipe it, I giggle.

  3. Leslie
    May 17, 2016 @ 19:52:58

    So amazing. I’m so happy that you are finding yourself more at peace with your illness. I’d love to join you in that place!! I love the way that the words become part of the art. If you don’t look too closely , they look like swirls and waves around and through the pictures. I love it!


  4. livinloud24
    May 17, 2016 @ 20:04:46

    Personal acceptance is key to truly living! Good for you for realizing that there are some things that you just can’t fit into, like sausage casing (love that imagery)! It’s taken me a long time to figure out that I really don’t need to be like everyone else. Me is just fine. Find out who you are and live the life you need. The rest is sure to come together…in all its beautiful shapes and colors!


  5. Leslie
    May 18, 2016 @ 06:38:56

    Did the comment I made from my phone come through?


  6. Violet of Violet's Veg*n e-comics
    May 18, 2016 @ 08:50:28

    Excellent 🙂


  7. pegoleg
    May 18, 2016 @ 09:17:48

    “Breathing with my fingers” – what an evocative description of your current state. I’m so glad you found journaling, which is both art and outlet.


  8. Littlesundog
    May 18, 2016 @ 11:53:31

    I really like the curvy, swirling text…it’s quite eye appealing and also interesting to read. It’s all good you know… no “correct” way and no rules. I think you are a trailblazer… you walk to the beat of a different drum and it works, by golly! 🙂


  9. donnaanddiablo
    May 18, 2016 @ 15:38:05

    You amaze me, Sandy. Your talent, your candor, your determination to keep on keepin’ on. Awed–full. stop.


  10. David Kanigan
    May 21, 2016 @ 04:11:28

    Love the art Sandy.


  11. Alice
    May 21, 2016 @ 06:03:56

    Glad to hear continuing with the art journaling is working out for you! I particularly like the skeleton pages (and I’ve always been a sucker for well-intentioned text on visual art!).

    Making peace with the pieces in my own head was such a critical step on my own journey. Not fighting against myself, getting curious instead… I’m even more happy to hear _that’s_ working out for you!


  12. Robert Matthew Goldstein
    May 25, 2016 @ 23:01:50

    Acceptance is huge. Congratulations!


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