My Solo Art Show

I loved interacting, especially with those who felt open and vulnerable enough to share what they were going through. I feel privileged when people approach me with their struggles and share how they relate to my story. 

One of the unexpected side effects of sharing my story is it has given permission to everyone around me to share some of their most darkest, deepest struggles and secrets, and this art show was no exception. Strangers came up to me sharing their stories of illness or depression. They shared stories about their loved ones struggling with illness and what that is like to watch. What I have learned is most everyone is struggling with something and people desire authenticity.

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Yayoi Kusama + Ai Weiwei

Yayoi Kusama + Ai Weiwei Marciano Foundation, LA, Exhibition.

“If my art has nothing to do with people’s pain and sorrow, what is ‘art’ for?” - Ai Weiwei

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Autumn Sierra

Roadtrip to Eastern Sierras.

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.“ - Ernest Hemmingway

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Another Milestone

Soon after receiving my new wheelchair I was noticeably melancholy.

"Another milestone", I thought. "Why must this disorder continue inching until it has everything?"

It was mixed emotions. On one hand I was nothing but grateful, on the other hand the future keeps bearing in closer. I quickly picked myself up and remembered to relish in increased mobility. This is good news. While it's difficult to approach another milestone, receiving this chair has been the highlight of an extremely difficult 2018 and past one and a half years, really. 

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Uncertainty Is Certain

Uncertainty is a friend of mine.

The unknown is uncomfortable for most of us but we don't know how much until it's staring us in the face. For some of us the reaction is to become further unknown. We feel emotionally isolated and thus further isolate ourselves.

What I have learned about uncertainty is life is to be lived and not controlled and as much as I’d like some control over my body and this life, control is merely an illusion…for all of us. “We don’t know the future, much less control it. And yet we continue to believe in the illusion of control. We face a chaotic and complex world, and seek to control it.”

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Another Year

I spent my weekend celebrating my birthday early. Every year I usually try something new, particularly scary, to celebrate another year like skydiving, parasailing, scuba diving or some big road trip. It’s a way for me to fight back against this progressive condition and welcome another year of it.

Since 2018 has been rough I opted for an anonymous quiet hotel-cation and relaxed. I guess that is something new for me?

In all times of struggle, always look for the beautiful for it's all around us.

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What Is in a Year: What Is Chronic? - Part 1

I can hardly believe April is approaching and in a week I'll be 39 years young. I feel like 2018 has sped passed me in some cosmic blur and I'm doing my best to pick myself up and dust myself off.

No exaggeration, I've cried every single day and night of 2018.

My health has spiraled out of control with chronic symptoms not directly related to my genetic muscle wasting disorder, GNE-Myopathy. Last year when my symptoms became too big to ignore, I began an aggressive search for why and have seen at least a dozen different specialists.

Symptoms like debilitating chronic nerve pain, chronic itching, and chronic pain have become new friends of mine, but not the good kind.

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What is Rare? - A Look at Oliver Sacks and the Human Condition

“I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world. 

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” -Oliver Sacks

In the last days Sacks expresses he is able to see his life as “from a great altitude” sensing the connection of all its parts. Humility and lack of control over you body can do this. I’ve felt the same the past 16 years. I see everything different - like a single snapshot etched into my mind.

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Kauai + Huffington Post

"My art was originally meant to spread awareness for GNEM but I’ve realized the viewer may see his or her own life in them, which is really nice,” she said. “I’ve had many strangers from around the world confess their own struggles and share how one of my drawings helped them to either see it differently or feel heard.”

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The GNEM world looks very different than when I began advocacy in 2007. I stumbled upon a scene in its infancy and though I met a few patients in 2007, something I was told would never happen, it often felt lonely. There weren’t as many GNEM representatives in the US at the time (I only knew of ARM) and handful of scientists/clinicians working on GNEM. I always believed global patient advocacy was the only way to treatment/cure, but in the beginning it was difficult to get patients to share their story. But today the patient advocacy landscape looks so much different, louder and impressive and I’m so proud of all of them. Patient advocacy while navigating the channels of constant loss and struggle is very taxing and draining.

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I Learned...

"It has been one of the greatest and most difficult years of my life. I learned everything is temporary. Moments. Feelings. People. Flowers. I learned love is about giving- everything- and letting it hurt. I learned vulnerability is always the right choice because it is easy to be cold in a world that makes it so very difficult to remain soft. I learned all things come in twos: life and death, pain and joy, sugar and salt, me and you. It is the balance of the universe.
It has been the year of hurting so bad but living so good, making friends out of strangers, making strangers out of friends. We must learn to focus on warm energy, always. Soak our limbs in it and become better lovers to the world, for if we can't learn to be kinder to each other how will we ever learn to be kinder to the most desperate parts of ourselves." — Rupi Kaur

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Better Days Ahead

I love window light and its endless patterns. They are so simple, yet so graphic and descriptive. They tell a story of their travels; where they have been, where they are going.

Window light seeping in between blinds always makes me think of solitude, loneliness and contemplation. It makes me think of the days you don’t want to get out of bed, when you would rather let the strips of light lay on your body and make it bend to you rather than bending to life. Enough warm light to caress your face, as if those strips bring you some connection to the outside world, but hidden enough to stay disconnected so no one can see you. We all have bad days. Today, tomorrow or the future sometimes taunts us. The things we are struggling with whether it be a disease, disability, depression, death, loss, relationships or life’s obstacles that seem to hold us down with little hope. In those moments I turn my head towards the warm ray bans and murmur to myself, 'Better days are ahead'."

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We are

've been reading a lot of Charles Bukowski lately. He's one of my favorites. I think we are all thinking and wondering lately; some more loudly, some more silently, but these contemplations are nothing new. Humankind has been experiencing, contemplating and fighting the same since the beginning. We are led by our fears and ego, our emotions, like fear, are easily manipulated and controlled. If only we could see each other as the same clones and instead connect through our mass similarities like loneliness, fear, suffering, burden, love and pain, perhaps we would stop championing what is different between us, carrying them around like flags of declaration, and instead swell on what connects us.

“We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

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