Can We Actually Change the World?

   Can we actually change the world?

   I think so.

   I’m serious—I believe that every single person has to ability to affect change, and the more individuals who attempt it, the more compounded and wide spread the effects. However, I also know that it can be hard to find a way to even start. We might want to help, but then the world’s problems loom large—so overwhelming that we feel powerless and frozen. Where on earth does a person even start?

   I’ve read a lot books on writing over the past two years, and a common theme—or a common piece of advice given, is to write about what you know. I would take that advice a step further and tell you to write what you’re passionate about. We all have our things, the interests that light a fire in our belly and push us to pursue what we love. People’s range of interest can vary from gardening, to art, to space exploration, to math, to horses, to coding, to hospitality, to reading, to mechanics… You catch my drift, right? Well, the truth is, knowing what we care about most is often the best place to start on the journey of discovering how we might affect change. If we first focus on what we know—on what we are passionate about, it often leads us where we need to be.

   In my life, I first zeroed in on mental health because of how my son has and still suffers. It took years for me to realize the importance of mental health to cultural change, but I eventually made it my focus to try and raise money and awareness. I believe that a mental health renaissance and revolution will not only improve the lives of people who suffer with mental illnesses, but it will also improve the world as a whole. So, you’ll hear a lot about mental health from me, and in my shop I have a line of art dedicated to raising money toward it. Now, this doesn’t mean mental health is the only focus of my heart, I also have a transgender sibling who only just recently, after fifty years of staying silent, finally told her family (me included) who she really was. I’m super proud of her. And I’ve heard her talk about some of the struggles of facing the prejudice in our world today. Her story and plenty others led me toward fighting against social and racial injustice and I created a line of art to help come alongside two organizations who are currently on the ground working toward building a better, more diverse world culture. And then I also have an intense love of gardening and being outdoors, so my heart is very drawn to environmentalism. But, beyond being an avid recycler and trying to live more sustainably on a farm, I’ve yet to find my way in this area fully—I’m working on how I can do more for change here too. Above all, my faith, which is an integral part of who I am, calls me to love and so my passion in all of these areas is love; love for God, for my family, for others, and for the earth. Anyway—I tell you all this to demonstrate how your own life, interests, and passions can lead you to places where you can affect change.

   Now, please know that I celebrate the fact that your views, faith, or passions will be entirely different from mine. It would be sad if they were not, so many worthy causes would miss out otherwise. Perhaps you’re someone who believes that being politically active is the only way to change the world, or you’re someone whose heart leans toward education and the change it brings, or your heart is to simply feed the hungry, or your someone who steers toward animal rights and activism… Every cause is worthy, and the spectrum is broad, but that doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Do some soul searching, start small, find the things you know, the things where you are at in your own life right now, and then explore your passions around them. I promise, this kind of search will eventually lead to a place where you feel you can affect change. Then you focus on that one, two, or even three or more if you’re ambitious, and you go out and change the world.

P.S. Remember it’s a journey. I did not discover all the things that moved me overnight. Have grace with yourself, and take on only what you can handle. And then have grace for others as well, they might choose a different cause than you, let them, the world need them to.

Find Your Power

Mental health awareness is super important, and I’ve created several paintings over the past couple years dedicated to helping raise awareness. This new piece here is inspired by a dear friend @bookiblelecter who lived through and overcame a difficult childhood filled with depression and anxiety.
I won’t outline her whole tale, but through all of her life struggles she found a great deal of power in STORY—all forms of story actually; books, movies, and even games. I was particularly drawn to this small excerpt from what she shared with me:

‘My love of books gave me portals to the adventures in life I craved. I could find people like me within the pages or people I wished or aspired to be (which helped me become a braver, kinder person). I found a secret magic in books and I will FOREVER be grateful for these stories and the people who create them. I owe parts of my sanity to fictional characters who were my friends when I had no others. My innocence and wonder survived because of the magic within books. I’ll never be able to fully express it and I’ll forever cry thinking about it.❤’

I wanted to portray this magic she spoke of and the power she felt it gave her to always keep fighting. Hence the title I wrote above, ‘FIND YOUR POWER’. ✨

This painting is available in my shop as a fine art print (and in a couple weeks it’ll be available as a postcard too). ALL of the proceeds from the sale of this art will be donated to Tourette Canada which is a charity organization that supports and raises awareness for Tourette syndrome. My son suffers with TS, OCD, and depression and Tourette Canada did a great deal for our family while he was growing up by connecting us to resources and support.

If you’ve read this far, then you’re my hero! 😘 I also wanted to say that this character was greatly inspired by the aesthetic of the beautiful @n00tti , so please take a peek at her account and give her some love.

Mental Health and Tourette Awareness

Brittany was diagnosed with TS-plus at a young age. In her words:

When I was first diagnosed with TS-plus, I felt like I was drowning. But in a way where I was the only one under the water. Only I could hear my singing and everyone else heard nothing, saw nothing wrong. I didn’t have any friends and no one really wanted to interact with me. No one understood what I was going through even my family (outside my parents and brothers) never wanted to understand what it was. An extended family member I loved told me I had to stop my tics because it wasn’t ladylike and they were gross. That’s probably what made me want to hide to the most… But overtime I learned to use my music to express myself and find courage. I still try to hide it. It’s probably something I’ll never overcome. Now even though days can be a struggle, I am more comfortable with myself and I’m thankful for everyday.

Tourette Syndrome (TS) causes tics that are sudden, intermittent, repetitive, unpredictable, purposeless, nonrhythmic, involuntary movements or sounds. Tics can be either simple or complex. The most important thing to understand about the tics associated with Tourette Syndrome is they are the result of a neuropsychiatric condition. The sounds and behaviours are involuntary and are not being done by choice.

TS can often come with package of other syndromes, people can also have OCD, anxiety, ADHD, depression etc. While some medications are available to help with the symptoms they do not completely take them away and there is no cure.

This art was inspired by a song Brittany wrote. The painting is meant to represent a feeling of what can go on inside a person with mental health struggles, the reason the individual is pictured nude is to represent the vulnerability of that struggle, the hand coming down into the water represents courage and hope. Sometimes courage can be found in unlikely places and can take many different forms. In Brittany’s case, courage comes through her music.

First Part of Song

Second part of Song

There is hope and knowledge out there for those who need it, if you have any of these health concerns please know that you are not alone and that you should reach out to the available services; doctors, counsellors and people around you. You do not have to face it by yourself.

Along with our previous awareness art this new print is now available in our shop and soon we will have bookmarks and stickers available as well. All the proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to Tourette Canada, . We truly believe that increased mental health awareness can drastically improve the lives of those who suffer.