Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

On interdependence

2012 . 10 . 03 - Comments / Commentaires (5)

In the months after my first surgery to treat my endometriosis, I promised myself I’d never be in the same situation again. Now, after three years of chronic illness and a second surgery, I realize how completely naive I was to think of making a commitment like that.

For one thing, in 2009 I was convinced that I would somehow beat the disease. I haven’t. Far from it, my symptoms have gotten worse in the interim. This isn’t to say I’m not optimistic that I will one day live pain-free, but it was a lot to hope for that I’d receive a diagnosis, learn about the condition, get used to what it meant for me, and find the right treatment for my case that quickly.

For another, I promised myself I’d never end up operating in an emergency situation again. While I wasn’t admitted for my surgery last summer through the ER, it wasn’t like I had a whole lot of warning for the procedure either.

And that was another part of my promise: that I wouldn’t be faced with meeting deadlines during my recovery. Well, I’m still struggling to make up for recovery time—or, more accurately, I’m still recovering—and I am, like last time with Subjective, working to finish my upcoming series.

Finally, I swore that I would have enough money to cover my deductible this time. I wanted to be an artist who didn’t need grants to cover my medical bills, and I might have been if I could still work like I used to, but chronic illness doesn’t play out that way.

When I think about the promise I made three years ago, I see a person who values personal responsibility deeply—someone who believes in her own ability to overcome all adversity and to do it on her own. And while I still feel there’s something beautiful about that world view and I still subscribe to it to some degree, since 2009 my illness has purged every last vestige of the myth of self-sufficiency from my life. It is so clear to me that none of us are in this alone and none of us can do anything we do without the support of others.

grant award

These days, I recognize and embrace the interdependence of modern life, and, today especially, I do so with gratitude. In 2009 and 2010, Change Inc, Artists’ Fellowship Inc, and Haven Foundation awarded me grants to pay my medical bills. This year, the Haven Foundation has chosen to assist me again.

When I realized how thoroughly I had failed to keep my promise from 2009, I just about promised to not make anymore promises to myself regarding my disease, but I can’t help myself. All this inspires me to make a new promise, one that reflects reality in the best way possible: I promise to ask for help whenever I need it and to offer it whenever I can.

- I love the Interwebs. / J’adore la Toile.
- Art therapy
- Making a choice / Faire le choix

CATEGORIES: - English - Business of art - Endometriosis -

Gwenn Seemel on Liberapay     Gwenn Seemel on Patreon

(5) Comments / Commentaires: On interdependence

-- Allison -- 2012 . 10 . 03 --

Congratulations on the grant! That’s awesome! I’m so glad they are willing to help you again. I bet it can be really tough to cover all of your medical bills.

I love your new promise to ask for help when you need it and give it when you can! smile

--- -- - --- - ---- - ---- - --- - -- ---

-- Dale Seachord -- 2012 . 10 . 03 --

Thanks Gwenn for doing these posts. They’re a big inspiration! I also live with a chronic condition and still try to work and paint. My problem solving was getting a full time job to support myself and give me health insurance. That has worked out but it also doesn’t leave as much time to paint as I’d like and it doesn’t give me the money a more immersive job would’ve. So, you’ve that…that full time devoted to your art that I think is great. Your blogs help me to figure things out in the world. Keep them coming!

--- -- - --- - ---- - ---- - --- - -- ---

-- Libby Fife -- 2012 . 10 . 03 --


I am just writing in to offer my support. I have been reading along for awhile now, about 6 months, and I enjoy the blog. I just have this observation to offer up. It’s hard to ask for help isn’t it? Makes you feel a little vulnerable I think. But learning how to do it has been an invaluable experience. And chronic illness is tough to handle and carries its own set of emotional issues apart from the illness itself. As someone who just recently had surgery, my experience with being dependent on others seems really fresh, which is why your post resonated with me this morning.

I am glad that you got the money. That is what it is there for I think; for this type of situation. I guess there may be setbacks but I hope things continue to improve.

I’ll keep lurking. Take care:)

--- -- - --- - ---- - ---- - --- - -- ---

-- Claire -- 2012 . 10 . 04 --

I am grateful the Haven Foundation exists and has been able to actively help such a deserving and talented person. Thank you for sharing the wonderful news and the lovely photo! grin

--- -- - --- - ---- - ---- - --- - -- ---

-- Gwenn -- 2012 . 10 . 05 --

Thank you, each of you, for your support and love and lurking and observations and sharing of your own journeys!

--- -- - --- - ---- - ---- - --- - -- ---

Add a comment / Ajouter un commentaire

Name / Votre nom:

Email / Votre e-mail:

(Visible only to Gwenn / Visible uniquement pour Gwenn)

URL / Votre URL:

(Optional / Facultatif)

Comment / Commentaire:

(You can use / Vous pouvez utiliser: < a >, < b >, < i >)

 Remember me for next time. / Retenez mes coordonnées.

 Email me new comments. / Abonnez-moi au fil de discussion.

Please enter the characters you see below / Veuillez rédiger le mot que vous voyez ci-dessous: