I think, for me, painting became a way to express the pain I feel day-to-day which is hard to put in words. For most of my career, I was a writer and writing instructor—which I love. However, sometimes, words can’t properly express what it’s like to live in chronic pain. So, I picked up a brush and it transformed me. Endometriosis is a hard disease to live with because it is so vastly underrepresented, misunderstood, and frankly not taken as seriously as it should.
I banged the proverbial drum for nearly twenty years with my words, but sometimes a visual can have more of an impact. I am aware that my art isn’t perfect, but for me, it has been a release I need and I have a new passion ignited in me that I have not had for decades. At 39, I retired from classroom teaching because endometriosis became too hard to manage along with working full time. Some “endowarriors” refuse to let the disease define them, but in the last year, I’ve leaned into it and let it define me. This exploration has taught me that yes—it’s taken my initial career and my ability to have children—however, it’s also given me an unexpected opportunity to create art, which is something I’ve always wanted.
My studio is my home. My assistant is my dog Starla-Belle. And my biggest supporter is my husband, Brad White. He bought me my first set of paints and sketchbook. I tried to paint lemons on our table, but they looked more like a pair of breasts, so I went with it. By the end of the day, I had painted my body with an illustration of the pain I was in that day. So, I started a series of paintings in which I document my physical and mental state. I started playing with larger canvas, textures, lines, layering, and mix-media. With the support of my friends and family, I started submitting as a way to advocate for endometriosis patients and myself. What’s been the most therapeutic is that these platforms I’ve been submitting to have been receptive and excited about my work—especially Lena and Goddessarts Mag. Of course the only validation I need is from myself, yet it is refreshing for others to “see” me and see potential and beauty in my art. It’s been a dream of mine to be a visual artist and having my art recognized is a dream come true.
My biggest struggle with art is imposter syndrome. I think because I do not have any formal training, my art won’t be taken seriously or that it just looks plain weird. Despite that, my biggest triumph is that art gets me out of bed on days I don’t feel like it. I push myself to shower, get dressed, take my meds, stretch, hydrate and get to work. When you have endometriosis, lack of accomplishment can be distressing, especially someone like me who likes to get things done. Art has given me a large piece of my self esteem back and something beautiful to show for even my worst days. If you are interested in viewing more of my work, you can find me on Instagram at @yellowthreadart. If you are suffering with intense period or pelvic pain, please take the time to get checked by your healthcare provider. Remember it’s okay to ask for help!