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Healing Through Art

My journey in Art has been ever changing, correlated with my life experiences and what I go through on a daily basis in my present. In my “here and now” Art is my therapy, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I fight 2 extremely painful and rare neurological diseases, Trigeminal Neuralgia and Cervical Dystonia. Brought on by trauma, they have slowly taken a lot of my life away since 2010.

In 2010, I was randomly kidnapped and assaulted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, barely escaping with my life. This is the first time I have written those words in a public space. You think about a near death experience as something that changes your life, but for the better right? Become an advocate I will! Speak out about the dangers a woman can face at any given moment, help change the system, help other survivors. That I did not. My road to speak out has been long and extremely difficult.

Through my Art it comes. A rush, from the intensity of pain and emotions. The pain I feel goes up, down, and all around the spectrum of the 1-10 pain charts you see in hospitals. While in these flairs of intense pain, I can’t differentiate between past, present or future. Everything becomes non linear and laid out in the here and now for my soul to bear. What Art does for me is enable that release, so I don’t turn to anger, guilt, or resentment. Sometimes it’s the only way to deal with what I can not explain in words.

Art has taken a huge role in my life towards healing. It helps me sort through the emotions that come from my physical pain. The emotional scars I carry also become sorted out for me with my Artwork. Then I really try to figure out what I was trying to say, some are more obvious than others. My Art ranges from things I feel strongly about, to very personal experiences and emotions that are my own. In those circumstances, I go through a process of self analysis. Forced to look at myself in a different light, it’s like a cracked mirror with fragments of truths waiting to be found.

Funny that when asked to explain my process I go blank. It is very much intuitive, and don’t particularly think I have a set process at all. Maybe there would be several components to my Art that I generally use, like photography, painting and digital work, just not necessarily in the same order. I also have some set things that inspire me to create, like music and nature. One thing that stays the same is the release it gives me.

Not everyone feels the same things, but everyone has felt pain in one way shape or form. We are born into pain, and modern medicine may have made that process easier for the mother, but being born I’m sure is extremely difficult. So many things we, as a human race share. The differences are just as important, and coming together is crucial.

I believe to start that collective healing process, we need to let go of the idea that one or two things define a person. We should be embracing our diversities, bonding through our experiences, and learning from our mistakes. Teaching ourselves and future generations that you don’t have to hold everything inside, that it’s ok to talk about the hard truths.

So whether it be in the form of grief, love, hope, fear, trauma, or pain my goal as an Artist is to shed light on it. Say hey, I’ve been there too, or I acknowledge you, and it’s possible to be ok. It’s ok to move on, there is a light even if it’s just a flicker.

In my opinion, what my Artwork means to me becomes irrelevant after I put it out for the world to see. For in the eyes of the Observer, it is the connection that they make, and their experiences that matter. In those moments when people say how my Art speaks to them, it makes me hopeful that they have processed something to guide them towards a better existence. That is why I show my Art.

Shannon Fogle

IG: @shanwowbyers


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