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04/11/2010


How Art Saved Me • by Suzi Blu


I tell you my story not for sympathy, but to prove there is a way back.

I Am Dysfunctional
Hello. My name is Suzi. And I am dysfunctional.

Have you ever dreamed you were falling and just as you were about to smack into the pavement you woke up, short of breath, unable to move, sure that the devil or a fatal illness is inches away from annihilating you? Panic attacks are like that but worse because you are awake — you know you are not falling, and you think you are crazy. They say that if you are worried that you are insane that proves you are not insane, but that doesn’t help when you are positive that every five minutes you are having a heart attack, yet never do. It’s become almost cool to have a mental illnesses like Bipolar disorder or Depression, but no one wants to be the girl who can’t leave the house. But that was me for a long time. At my worst I weighed 79 lbs. and didn’t eat anything but liquids for three years (afraid of choking when I swallowed). To ride in a car I had to lay down in the backseat and breathe into a paper bag. I suffered from panic and an eating disorder for 12 years.

Sometimes I got a job. I worked at The Children’s Place for two hours — I walked out in the middle of emptying a box of hangers onto racks. I was a cashier at Foodtown for a morning — after hours of cold sweats whenever I took too long to look up produce codes, I handed in my drawer at lunch. I was an activities assistant on an Alzheimer’s ward (you don’t know desperation until a roomful of aged blue haired ladies gripping walkers yell at you for calling Bingo numbers wrong). My longest job was as a Go-Go Dancer. In New Jersey where I lived bars are not allowed to sell alcohol if girls dance naked so they pay you to wear a bra and G-string and prance around a pole. That was the best job because I could have an eating disorder and panic attacks and no one cared because no one noticed that much in the dark. If you are an un-ambitious nervous anorexic you can support yourself dancing one night a week since you don’t have much to buy. But I had to do something with my time. Sick of feeling sick and tired I bought a lot of self-help books.

Started Writing Truth
Before I knew the term “mixed-media,” before my bedroom floor was filthy with glitter, before my hands were permanently stained with dyes and inks, there was my journal. Being anxious, I didn’t have friends, but I had spiral notebooks. Steven King said, “If you have friends you join a band. If you are alone, you write.” At first all I wrote was negative and poor pitiful me, but writing daily yields a surprise: I started writing truth. When I slowed down to create words I turned off the outside world and for the first time heard what was within. Scared little me had so much to say. It was just me and the page. Sometimes I sounded terrible: “Who wants to hear you? You are not good at anything.” Sometimes I was wise: “I am no worse than anyone else. I have unlimited potential.” Whenever I felt I would drown in anxiety, depression, shyness, or anger, I wrote my way out. Journals are a surfboard that glides you over emotional water. What happens to you is not you. I started to get it.

Art saved me and it can save you too. Write your truth, paint a flower, sing your favorite song, hoola hoop, badly, and keep going. Magic happens every time you express yourself and MIRACLES happen when you stick with it. Art keeps you in the present moment where there is no past, no future, no worry. Close your eyes and create a space for your presence to come forward. That is why artists are so brave. Every time you create you open a vein and paint with its crimson. Start with journaling. Uncover what is underneath your fear, your sadness. It may seem big and wide but on the page it is contained. There is a limit. A beginning and an end. It is your story. Write your story. Grow strong in your journal. Hear your voice. It says to you: Today is a new day. I live in the moment. I am spirit and my potential is limitless. I am daring, brave, and creative. I am open to joy and ready for bliss. God loves my art.

To learn more about Suzi Blu, visit her blog at suziblu.typepad.com.

Comments

Hi Suzi - thanks so much for sharing your story. I've seen your videos and follow your blog and love how encouraging you are and how honestly you present yourself. Your story is definitely inspiring and is a prime example for how art saves. I think every person has a different story and different path, but the common thread is how art lifts us up from whatever low state we might have been in...no matter what the circumstances we might have been in. Thanks for being a pioneer, leading the way and teaching by your beautiful example :)

Suzi your story and honesty are refreshing and inspiring. On some level so many of us can relate to that lost girl sitting on the floor writing in her journal and finding her way out of the anxiety with pen and ink, glitter and glue making a way!

Hi Suzi- I too spent many years suffering from panic disorder and its hellatious. I am happy that you shared your story and are finding peace with all of it. We all have 'something'...its not in the issue, its how you channel it. Looks like you found a very beautiful channel.

Thank you Suzi, you rock!

I love you, Suzi!!!!!!! This was so beautiful and I can't wait to hug you in person....you are a brilliant, gorgeous, amazing soul....xoxoxo-melody

Suzi, you're my hero! Thank you so much for speaking your truth and being so brave....and for being YOU. xoxo

thanks for this.
youre such an inspiration.

Thanks for sharing Suzi! I've also suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia. A LONG time back my therapist suggested journalling when I finally seeked help and recently I've discovered art journals. I always wanted to do something more, but didn't know what. Now I know! ART! You've really been an inspriation!

Suzi your AWESOME! Thank you for sharing with us.

i had the same story...that is why i started art journaling and i created a blog! art saved me too!!!!

because what have you got to lose?? you are an inspiration, ms. suzi, a vulnerable crusader who saves people with her story...the universe will thank you for telling this story by sending someone that really needs it...i, too, was saved by a journal, a pen and a teacher who taught me to get to it...art does save...thank goodness

suzi, thanks so much for writing what you did ... journaling and art are what saved me, too ... to me it's not cool to be mentally ill - i do suffer from bipolar i disorder ... and can relate to what you've written ... i was 12 when a teacher suggested i keep a journal to help work through the fact that my parents had divorced and my dad was a bully and an alcoholic ... when i write or when i work on my art journal, i am where i am at that moment .... thanks for writing what you did. as always, it proves i'm not alone! thanks! deb saine

Suzi, I'm honored to have met you (a thrilling surprise that was!) and even more honored to have you contribute to my book. Your honesty and shines through your art and gives us all the courage to be brave and try those things that may scare us. You are truly a breath of fresh air!
xoxo
Pam

Oh Suzi! I love you so much & cannot thank you enough for what you have inspired me to do with my art! When I think of all the lives that you have touched in such a beautiful way....I am ever so grateful that art saved YOU so that YOU can bless us & teach us.

Emily. XOXOXO

Suzi...I needed this today. Thank you for sharing and for your honesty and for making me feel not so alone in the world today.. You are a beautiful soul.

Art saves.
Sharing saves too.
Thank you for both.
Thank you for you.

It is so wonderful that so many people can relate to your story. It proves that we all are not that different and we all struggle with similar things.
You are astonishing!
Love,
nelly

Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad you have found your path :-)

You already know that I love you, Suzi, and that I think your art - is amazing. Getting more of the story behind your art and your lifestyle today - just makes your work and your very being THAT. MUCH. MORE. PRECIOUS. You are an inspiring woman, Suzi ... hugs -- Davielle (Davi)

Bravo, Suzi! Thank you for having the courage to share your story. Many of us can identify with the challenges you faced even if the issues were different. Thanks for sharing your talent and teaching ability, also! I enjoyed my Petit Dolls class with you!

You are so kind to have shared your story. You have been an inspiration to me since I saw my very first Suzi Blu Video and now even more so. You have helped and encouraged so many with your kind and motivational words. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

I've loved watching your journey Suzi. You are such an inspiration. xo Lindsay

Suzi...you already know what a ray of sunshine you have been in my life ever the past few years...and continue to be. Consider yourself reminded again. I'm ever so grateful for that day so long ago when I stumbled upon a video of a beautiful girl and her lovely orange and white kitty making art to share with and inspire the world. And that is how art saved me, through YOU. Thanks ever so much for all of the education, inspiration, and encouragement. ♥AK

Lovely Suzi .. I have tweeted this post.

Ah Suzi. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Yes, art does save. Your story and so many others tell that truth again and again.
Thank you truly for being you and for all your courage. Thank you for your inspiration.
Angels be with you.
Wendy

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