The Origin Story
True story: I took this picture exactly two weeks after I was released from the “Loonie Bin”, perhaps more kindly referred to as the “Acute Psychiatric Unit” at The Ottawa Hospital. Not that that matters really, they are equally terrible. If you are one of us lucky ones to be there, you are not in the wrong place, they are just horrible.
So, this picture is an ode to good make-up. Thank god for its existence and to RuPaul because he and his girls have made me a believer in make-up, and its power to live out a fantasy. My fantasy was not looking like a crazy person so thank you cosmetics. Of course, only ethical cosmetics as I am not a monster … yet.
This sounds insane, which by definition I kind of am, but what got me to this photo shoot, what rolled me out of bed, was my love for wallpaper because I love wallpaper. I mean, I love wallpaper. I love wallpaper so much it can get me out of bed. Even when being in bed is mostly all I can do thanks to this brain of mine, I can rally to go look at wallpaper. Which means, really, anything IS possible, at least some of the time.
Wallpaper has been one of the single most joyous experiences of my life. It has guided me, inspired me, motivated me, and has never failed to lift my spirits (insert guilt that wallpaper inspires me over climate change). C’mon people, how many things can one person actually say that about? Kids and family excluded. Anything?
These words are my story of how wallpaper saved my life. It gave me the courage to start my own business, it moved me through many bad moments in my life and back to the land of the living.
My hope for sharing this story is to offer some hope to those of you out there battling your crazy brains. I am not brave, or strong, or unique but I made it to my late 40s, and this is a big win for some of us.
This is for those of you out there who are suffering, those of you feeling alone in your pain. I’ve felt it, and the loneliness can be unbearable. There are many of us out here. You are not invisible to me. I, too (sometimes well and sometimes not so well), walk amongst those people who live within ‘the land of the living’. You know, those people who don’t seem to think that putting on socks in the morning is equal to winning an Oscar – those people.
This is for those of us who are trying to reconcile the person we show the world in order to fit in, and the broken person inside that tells us our lives are meaningless. We hide the punishing thoughts because they’re kind of a bummer to talk about at dinner.
For those of us who fantasize about disappearing, just so we can feel what we imagine to be relief from the relentlessness of our own thoughts.
For those of us who, despite all of this, keep trying to walk, and sometimes limp, through our darkness towards the light.
Because there is light! We know this deep in our souls. If there is unbearable sadness, there must be exquisite joy. One does not cancel out the other. They are both inside us and I’m still here, every day, figuring out how to live with this contradiction in my heart.
For my kids, my family, my friends, and my home, you are the loves of my life. You are the reasons I remain tethered to this world. I worried that sharing this story could be difficult for my kids but then reminded myself they haven’t been interested in anything I do since becoming teenagers.
Finally, I also hope that some of these stories will help you find your joy, your wallpaper, in whatever pattern, shape, and colour because the possibilities are as infinite as you.