[Image shows: 3 spoons laying on a laptop key board, in the centre is a clip art of torn paper with a red paper clip, on the paper says “The Transition from Active to Craft-ive” and in the bottom right hand corner is my photography logo]
It always surprises people when I tell them that before I was sick, I did it all. I was in tap, jazz and ballet, I did kung fu, I did cheerleading, I was in student council, I was a peer mediator, I did t-ball even…once… I got hit in the nose the first game and bled the entire time.
I was a “perfectionist” to quote the papers I read from the child psychologist who evaluated me when I got sick. From my grades to ballet, I was not happy until I got it right, until I got the A or mastered the dance.
I remember the year I started having issues with my health, it was the same time as cheer leading try outs. I was flexible and small, which made me great for being the people they put at the top of the things because I could do the scorpio moves or the toe touches, whatever. That summer though, every move I made hurt. My abdomen felt like someone had just punched me repeatedly, or stabbed me, depending on the moment. I managed to make it though. I still made the cheer leading team.
When fall hit and I ended up in the hospital, I lost all of it, even student council. At first it was sad, but I tried to get back into some of it. I tried to do Ballet and Kung Fu still but it was too much for me, I couldn’t keep up between the pain, the doctor appointments, the fatigue, etc.
I got into comic books. The entire year following being sick was spent pretending I was a super hero, but I found some things to do at home that made me happy as well. I started making jewelry with my mom, I started writing and drawing. I tried to do band, but I was awful with a flute, and playing made me feel like I might pass out.
My 6th grade year was my first time that I did theatre. I was originally the stage manager, but one girl dropped out two weeks before the play was to start so I ended up having to take over her role which was fine because I knew all the lines and positions at that point anyway. It didn’t require as much energy, a little bit of walking across a stage and speaking clearly and I was golden. I ended up doing it again in the spring, and all my 7th grade year, and even my 8th grade year.
Throughout those years I also was in an advanced art class, where I was learning on drawing more accurately, we made paper mâchè, I learned some basic painting skills, and other things as well.
I wasn’t very good though, which was very aggravating to me since I was used to doing everything right, there was usually steps to things, and you just followed those steps and things came out right, but with art it was different. There was an amount of skill that went into it, that I hadn’t achieved yet… but you bet your buns I was gonna try.
When I moved to Kentucky, I spent most of my time in the basement which I had turned into my craft area. I painted, I sewed, I drew, I did paper mâchè (I made a trout for my dad for father’s day… it was bad), I kept doing it even though I wasn’t perfect at any of it.
I got my first camera that year, I experimented with photography and filming, I was better at the first. I remember filming little skits that I would write out for my brother who was not a good actor, but it was fun. And at the end of the day, regardless of whether the things I did turned out good, I was having fun again without having to push myself to the point of being sick.
The first time I experienced remission, I played soccer, I wasn’t very good in comparison to the boys and girls who had been at it since they were children. At the same time I was learning to needle felt and knit with my ex’s mother who was extremely crafty. I still remember how I felt scoring my first goal at a game, something most kids had done when they were little.
Of course in comparison to the feelings I get now when I sew a dress, or paint a good painting, take a photo that just captures everything in the perfect lighting… there are no words.
It may not always be easy, it may not always turn out perfect, it may take a hundred thousand tries before I get it right, but it’s not gonna stop me. Everyone makes mistakes, and I’m no exception. Just because my body can’t handle cardio anymore, or taking a hit, doesn’t mean I’m broken. I’m just as whole as ever (well minus some intestines). It may hinder me, but I won’t let it stop me from accomplishing all my goals.
“My body may fail me, but that doesn’t make me a failure.” -Chronic Yoga
[Image: A black and white photo of me holding my crochet hook and project which is a crocheted sash/scarf. I have my wrist stabilizer on and medical bracelet showing. I retouched the photo so that the red medical emblem shows on the bracelet, and so that all the blue in the photo is there as well such as the blue wrist stabilizer that goes around my thumb and wrist, and the yarn that I am working with. In the upper right hand corner there is my photography logo which says “Grace Shockey ” with a camera and under it says “Photography”.]