When the Odyssey first came to Gloucester and we were making frequent trips to Gloucester Marine Railways on Rocky Neck, we would walk to The Last Stop for lunch, and along the way we would pass a gallery called Imagine. In an art colony famous for marine paintings, Imagine was an oasis of color, and at the center of it all was our new friend, Brenda Malloy. You can see her mark all over Gloucester–candy-colored hearts on cars, mailboxes, refrigerators. Brenda is the personification of joy. That is why her story is so important: Continue reading
This is the first in a series of I Am More essays. If you would like to contribute a piece about how you are more than your pain, please email email@example.com for a Writing Guide.
I am more than my loneliness and depression. I have the superpower of making friends around the world! Continue reading
We met Jim Casey when the RV Odyssey first arrived in Gloucester in 2005 for a refit at Gloucester Marine Railways. Jim worked on the boat, along with his late brother Pat. Since then, he’s been a regular fixture helping out at Ocean Alliance at the Paint Factory. All of the woodwork in the Ocean Alliance office was painstakingly refinished by Jim, and he’s always around to help with a shoreline cleanup or event. It was only when I came out with my own depression that he reached out to me about his.
I recently received the following message from a Facebook friend who had read my blog post about the launch of the I Am More project:
you know, just read your latest blog there. drawn in curious about the title, ‘i am more.’ i am more? what does she mean? the average american thing is ‘i want more.’ as i read it i felt my heart kinda soar a little, as if just thinking of the idea gave it wings, lifting it out of some dark dark place i’ve been finding myself stuck in a lot lately. i could boldly proclaim, i am SO much more than my pain! (insert list here!)
A month ago I put forward the idea of an art project that would consume the year ahead of me called I Am More – a series of portraits of MA residents celebrating the gifts and contributions of those living with mental suffering. Instantly the doubts crept in. How would I find funding here on Cape Ann? How could I learn to take photos of people for my drawings? How could I throw an art show about such a sensitive subject without getting sucked into the darkness? Continue reading
I have a new strategy in life. Come up with life-rattling decisions and put them out in public before I have time to be scared by them. Like coming out of the closet about depression, and checking out of the world for a month. These were terrifying things that ended up changing my life. So now you’ll find me hitting “Post” “Publish” and “Send” on a daily basis. Otherwise my fear would talk me out it. Continue reading
At 4 am on January 1st I woke up, and for a few seconds I lay there in the dark, oblivious, but then I remembered and I thought WHAT HAVE I DONE?
What I had done was to commit myself to a month-long at-home retreat with no text, email, Facebook, Twitter, news, nothing but the good hard work of getting through depression. While we were on vacation over Christmas, and I was lying in bed in Key West, unable get up or face anyone, I decided this was what it was going to take. I opened up my laptop and started writing a piece about my depression.
If I could just take some time, I could get better.
This is the thought that has repeatedly crept into my brain recently. If I could just take a break, if I could just step out of life, if I could just breathe…I could get better.
I have a bag of pain that I lug around with me from time to time. It weighs down my walk and dulls my surroundings. It turns up the volume on conflict to the point that it becomes necessary to stay home so that a disagreement with a cashier or a driver flipping me off doesn’t consume me. If I don’t answer my phone or come to your party I’m probably home, trying to figure out how to get through the endless minutes of the day. Continue reading
As a portrait artist, people come to me with a need. The need of a gift (usually), the need to capture a moment in time, but often it’s the need to honor and celebrate someone who has passed. There was the best friend, the beloved uncle, the elderly father, but twice it was a child. One of them was named Karim. Continue reading
See if this sounds familiar: you get a crummy night’s sleep; you’re tired so you skip your “workout;” your work suffers; you binge on social media; you beat yourself up because you binged on social media and you missed your workout and have accomplished nothing; you load up on caffeine; because you haven’t moved or worked and are now jacked up on caffeine you have another crummy night’s sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat. Continue reading