Art Saves • by Christy Nimeh
My First Gift
My earliest introduction to being creative was as a toddler. I grew up on the move, and we were pretty poor. We often didn't have things like a television or money for activities such as sports, theme parks, or really anything. Funny thing is, I had no idea. It never occurred to me that we didn't have the things that most people did. Looking back, I believe this was one of my ﬁrst gifts. It taught me to make do, to create my own fun — assemble art from trash, climb trees to get the best twigs that were high up, make the prettiest forts, and re-arrange my mom's furniture to ﬁnd the best look.
I was an only child and lived with my single mother. When I was 5 years old, I boarded a plane (by myself) to visit my father for the summer, and every summer thereafter. Never without my markers and coloring books, I would be occupied for hours, which helped when there were long layovers. During my summer visits, I would spend a great deal of time with my beloved grandmother. My Grandma Eileen was the ﬁrst person to call me an artist. She was convinced that I had been born with “the gift.” I thought she was just being nice. With continued encouragement from her and one supportive teacher, I was on my way.
Over the years I learned that school was not my thing, but art was. My ART teachers seemed to be the only ones to really get me. I also had ADD, and was known to be a handful at times. I managed to get through school and started an Interior Design program in college. I also got a job with a major cosmetic company as a makeup artist.
Time passed and I met a wonderful man, who is now my husband. We have two incredibly talented caring kids that I devoted all of my being to as a young mother, as mothers do. During this time I willingly and happily gave all of me to my family. While I was blessed to be able to do that and stay home to raise my children, I didn't realize that some parts of me were suffering. I didn't even take notice until years later. I am kind of an all-or-nothing person, so something in the middle never occurred to me. But, you see, I grew up on the go, doing, making, surviving, and always moving forward. I was forced to create what was happening in my life. So when things were all laid out in this amazing package for me, I felt like I was going crazy. What was wrong with me? I thought this was everything that I had dreamed about. However, in doing the things that made me, me had suddenly stopped. I no longer had to survive, which was a confusing blessing.
I came to this realization right about the time my husband was ill and needed a heart valve surgery. The thought and fear of the unknown forced me to take a long hard look at my life as well as my children's lives. Thankfully the surgery was a success and he is healthy. But I needed to make some signiﬁcant changes to MY life. Not easy, as my family was used to things a certain way (perfectionism) and I'm sure they liked it that way. But I wasn't happy, so change it was. I rediscovered my creative ﬂow, picked up a paintbrush again (after years), and haven't looked back.
Whether or not one is “born” being an artist is debatable. I believe we all have artistic ability that is waiting to be found. My seed was planted early on and has been nurtured all throughout my life in one form or another.
To learn more about Christy Nimeh christynimeh.com.