I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I suspect Fibromyalgia too. For over 20 years I've felt exhausted and in pain. Each day is a struggle and each step causes my body to ache. There are some good days, but these days are usually followed by even worse days. I've been fighting this alone for years, because I felt that no one could possibly understand what I was going through, or what was going on inside, in my body. I lived in a constant heavy cloud of pain, exhaustion, and stress, I got anxious and fearful due to not knowing why I felt this way, and for never getting any outside help with my condition. This TED Talk by Nadine Burke Harris, http://go.ted.com/yW3 goes a long way to explain how I got this way, and why it is such a struggle for me to undo what I know now to be the biochemical and biological effects laid down in my growing body during my childhood.
As you know I opened this studio a few months ago. This was my attempt to get my life back, to rebuild my identity. Before I became a mother, I struggled in the adult workforce to maintain a steady job, and to maintain the relationships that others take for granted. I was driven and determined, so despite my condition, I traveled, I lived abroad, until my body could no longer take it, and I returned home, weakened and vulnerable. That's when I met my husband, Tim, who has cared for me, despite all my flaws for the last 13 years!I am forever grateful.
Since I became a mother I have spent 12 years working in the home with my three girls, were my focus has been, and still is, making sure they are clothed, fed, and that they have a clean, healthy environment to grow up in. I am sure they benefit greatly from my time with them, however, the years of isolation, and monotony of the daily childcare routine has taken its toll on my already struggling body. I found I was sleeping more and my pain was getting worse. I had thought that it might be climate related and so when the opportunity for us to move to the Southern Hemisphere arrived, we went for it. My family's lives have improved immensely since the move and they are loving it here, however my problems did not disappear with the warmer temperatures! Always fighting, I forced myself to do charity and voluntary work to get me out of the house, but this has only increased my downtime periods, especially now that I can no longer rest before or the following day after each extra evening activity. While searching online for an answer, I recently found the CFS Recovery Program http://www.cfshealth.com/ run by Toby Morrison, right here in Melbourne! Toby, himself a victim of CFS, founded the program to help others recover, as he has, a shinning light, a ray of hope, behind the dark cloud that I've been living in.
Why talk about this on your art website? I hear you ask. Well, my art is my therapy, or at least big part of it. When I am drawing, my focus is on the pencils and the paper in front of me. I think about the future hand off to the clients, seeing their happy face as their fond memories of their furry loved one are portrayed in the picture in front of them. It gives me great joy and gratitude at being permitted into these peoples lives, it is a purpose for good, a reason to get up in the morning, to push through the tiredness of a restless sleep, and to endure the pain of my aching body. The positive energy and emotions of my work help to balance the negativity associated with this condition. So, I will carry on regardless, whilst continuing to work with Toby and Raeya at CFS Health to get on top of my condition and gain a life that I had thought was beyond me.
Others might say, you have your children around you, isn't that purpose enough? Why do you want to work outside the home and take on the extra responsibility if you are not well? Anyone who has had children, especially those with a tantrum fueled two year old child or girls approaching their teenage years, knows they are not always all sweetness and light and with a condition like mine it is so important to have some distance and separation from the constant state of angst that surrounds them! In all honestly, there will be days when the studio is not open or when I've had to close early, due to my health or energy levels. However, please know that I am always contactable via mobile or email, and if there is a job you'd like me to do, then you can rest assured that my heart and soul will be poured into finishing your portrait to the highest standard. Maybe, I won't be able to run a marathon or climb the highest mountain anytime soon, but I can draw, and that is what I will do, if you want me to?
Please enjoy your weekend, I know I will enjoy mine, Tim and I are going to an abundance seminar in the City, while a kind friend cares for our three precious gifts to the world!
I am grateful to serve,
Animal Artist - Pet Portraits
Hi, my name is Chrystal Carter, I am a mother to three lovely girls. I emigrated with my husband to Australia in December 2014, and have been living the dream, ever since! We are settled in the Dandenong Ranges and I have recently set up my brand new home art studio , in the heart of the hills, Tecoma. Here, I can follow my life long dream of being an artist drawing another of my greatest passions, animals, in particular, peoples beloved pets. I have always been fascinated by animals, nature and wildlife and where better to pursue my passions than here in Australia, and it certainly hasn't disappointed me! Follow me as a take on this new venture and brave new world, together with my wonderful family, and not forgetting my furry companions, Vin the Cat and Juno the Dog!