Now We Know

” Like a baby bird fallen from it’s nest, I want to fix her…”

But didn’t we already? I mean, really, deep down?

Oh, my. I didn’t think knowing her cause of death would hurt so much. I’ve tried not to get swept up in the frenzy of pre-judgment, the swirling sea of speculation and conclusion-jumping. I have kept my distance from the personal pain of her family, her loved ones…even the pain of onlookers and hang-arounds.

It still hurts. Even though I see some truth in certain societal prejudice creating a higher level of media interest, still it hurts. For me, I think it lies in her openness, naiveté. So schoolgirl-ish, eager to please. Happy. Blonde. Hopeful.

A Different free-spirited blonde: “Party Girl”©SusanToddMartin2019(sold)

That is not her fault. And it doesn’t do to focus on the social imbalance, not right now. Some may disagree, and stand on soap boxes and toot their messages throughout the land. That’s for them.

A never-silent voice from my past: “I can still “Reach Out and Touch You”©SusanToddMartin2018 ; even past State lines, from prison bonds and the grave his hold still haunts me at times…Such is the legacy of domestic violence.

For me? It hurts. Like a baby bird fallen from it’s nest, limp in my hands, I want to fix her. I want to swaddle her in my favorite fuzzy blanket, hold her like Mary holding Jesus. I did not know you, Gabby, but I know you. e

You were me, at 17, drinking beer with my friends and my new boyfriend. When, in an instant a fist struck my laughing, open mouth. Spitting beer and a piece of tooth out behind a tree where he had marched me, saying I would ‘never disrespect him in public’.

I closed my laughing mouth that day, at least when it came to telling anyone about abuse. I could talk about “anything” to family, anything but THAT. And, for me a huge part of the silence was shame and embarrassment. How could I admit I got it so wrong? The family wanted the future marriage with all the trappings, wedding albums, grandkids. They bought him Christmas gifts, let him sleep in their home, share the holiday table. Giggling with Mom and friends over future plans, seeing the romantic movies, going to the weddings of siblings and friends. So much family pride at a daughter married off…

I remember my brother glimpsing him treating me bad, some rude remark made on the side, my face burning with embarrassment: He sat me down the next day, “Don’t go with him, he’s no good…” But Dad would have a Scotch on the porch with my abuser, making jokes about ‘the womenfolk” and “keeping a firm hand”, the knowing glances and cigars puffed…WAIT!! I wanted to scream. I don’t want this anymore!!

But the abuser promised behind closed doors : ” If I can’t have you nobody can…”

My heart cries out for the loss of a beautiful life, for the suffering of her family, and empathy for millions of others who have had to suffer and/or die at the hands of their mate…the person closest to them. I hope that others who are in violent relationships can tell a trusted confidante, find a safe exit and save their lives. Better yet, learn to treasure the life they have, value themselves without settling for a boyfriend of girlfriend who hurts them(mentally or physically). Take Gabby’s tale to heart, and live!!

Sigh…

Calling Down thru the Centuries

“We chased the sidewinder, ran with roadrunners. Our feet bled walking empty highways…riding empty boxcars…”

     Tracing a Trail of Tears…

   The Trail, so long ago. Now see the traces of hot tears down our dusty cheeks. Feel the same blood pumping thru these veins as in those:

    Red like the purest ruby, and it will pour forth if you cut us. Your words cut like the edge of a knife, a ruby red blade across a human throat.

   Do not gloat, you who know the glut of Buffalo meat, blood red heart still beating in hand, Son of man.

    A man of the Sun, of the People, the Black Hills, the Antelope Valley…The Mohawk mountains, man.  The salmon-colored sands of the Sonoran Desert.

   We chased the sidewinder, ran with roadrunners. Our feet bled walking empty highways, empty citrus groves, riding empty boxcars.

   We are women, tired and beaten. Down the tears ran like the scars on our back, scars on our heart.

   Where are you, raven-haired brother? Do you hear me , calling across the centuries?   

   Does my black mother bear my sorrow, black Mother-bear?

    Alone now; my voice reaches all the way around this broken bowl of me

   The wind washes the empty, clay basin of my soul…

   I am not whole-I wholly am not holy, man.

   Holy man, what is better than this sweet sorrow?

   Or more bitter medicine than this abiding pain, Medicine man?

Adventures of a Cross-Eyed Girl

“brain injured in stages, blow by sickening blow…hands that…pledged to love and cherish me…”

Nobody wants to go thru this… NOBODY.

Even lying down my head still spins…

Having a Traumatic Brain Injury is a real drag. Of course it is. Mine was not the worst kind, as we so often sadly see in war, car accidents, shootings.

I was brain injured in stages, blow by sickening blow, at the hands of a man who had pledged to love and cherish me. It is not to discuss him, or my past that I bring this up. It is the aftermath.

I had many concussions already when I suffered a series of falls in 2013 where I suffered another head injury. After that one I experienced vertigo “on steroids”. After coming home from the hospital, I went to bed, hurting from a broken ankle but otherwise ok. I had to get up and pee, so I teetered on my crutches towards the loo. Lo and Behold! I was so dizzy I toppled sideways into the closet doors and crashed headfirst into them, knocking them off their track! And knocking me off mine, you might say.!

Detail of “Flashback 937”, a biographical work about my journey out of domestic abuse…

Long story short, its been 8 years. Initially I had Physical Therapy for a span of about 2 years. The vertigo I was experiencing is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV. Usually a quick maneuver by the therapist, turning one this way then that, is all that is required for a full recovery. In 99 percent of cases. You guessed it… I was not cured. So I have bouts of cross-eyed misery on a bi-monthly basis.

“Unplugged” a digital finger painting showing my brain’s misfiring connections…

You don’t realize how sick vertigo can make you till you endure this joy ride. First I want to puke, then I nearly fall, then I’m overcome with a fatigue so profound that getting out of bed is a monumental feat. And this Rollercoaster just keeps going round. The problem is that I feel so sick that I don’t recognize the BPPV right away. Until I snap a selfie and realize my eyes are out of whack again. Oh, I forgot to mention the blinding headaches… Yeah, those. Ok, the light is hurting my eyes… Back to bed.

Another Night blurs into Day…and on, and on, and on…

Chicken? or Pig? Just Flesh, please…

“…that half smile and nod…while their eyes glaze over…like my very words are getting dirt on them…”

“What’s the Deal? Am I a Coward?”

Where does it Hurt? Unmasking,©SusanTMartin2021W/P

Commitment to put out my best work…not just work. To push my limits, expand my thought processes…remove boundaries.

Flashback 937 ©SusanTMartin2017

I was reading Eric Wayne’s blog , @artofericwayne.com, and he focused a piece on the fine art of Suzzan Blac. (I will refer you to his article and won’t share her work here.) Holy Toledo. The things I allude to in some of my biographical work, the fact that I thought I was being so brave…no. This artist lays it bare…flays it bare.

She nails the darkest emotions that creep into my nightmares, 50 years after the events. Nothing held back. I admire this work, even if I look at it in secret, as if it’s evil perps can see me, too. As if others can tell that the abuse made me want to hurt someone just like I was hurt. That is the most disgusting part to me, the stain on my soul. That’s the painful truth that I thought my God could never forgive me for…the filthy truth that kept me out in the cold sticking needles in my flesh just to forget for a few minutes…kept me out there for 23 years. I wanted to die, just like I want to kill the perps she pictures so perfectly…

The Inheritance of Daughter’s ©SusanTMartin2018

I can’t say I love her work, or even like it, it feels too real to me. It makes me respond like the people I have told my experiences to; that half smile and and nod of understanding while their eyes glaze over with fear and a sort of loathing…like my very words are getting dirt on them. Suzzan is courageous in that she can look her demons in the eye and paint them. Nailing their guilt to the canvas forever. But her pain, her brokenness is palpable and forever on display for both victims and sick minds to see.

I can’t look too long, and perhaps I should not look at all, for my own sanity. I recognize her need to paint her experiences. I have to also, to get the emotions out and onto the page, onto the canvas where they can’t rip me up inside, at least for a little while. I do this to heal, to repair my damaged psyche until my God repairs me permanently.

I hope that she can find some respite for her pain, too.

2018 Insights II WINNING Entry! ” Crossing the Delaware, Well Aware”©SusanTMartin2018 in the Permanent Collection of The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation

Painting My Heart Out

Woo Hoo ! I am an artist WHIRLWIND again! Hang on, cause art is flowing out of me in a torrent, and I need more hands. I am happy to be out of “funk town” for a while! I entered six shows in the past month and now have 5 paintings accepted into these shows . Four of the five shows. I can’t believe how things snowball. The piece above is a Work in Progress, one of my Surrealist pieces, with a working title of Angry Birds, a little pun on the silly game people play on their devices. I’m rethinking that right now, I may put people off by that. But who cares if I like it, right? Naming Art is the Artist’s privelege. Kind of like children; you made it, you name it! And here’s a fun little twist…how many Birds do you see?

I painted what I believe to be my best piece as far as figurative art, it’s an acrylic mixed media piece which is a statement piece about justice and human trafficking…It is named “Stuck in Traffic (Framed) and I will post it, and the one mentioned above as soon as I sign them in a few minutes here… Be patient, I had to lie down for a minute. I decided a while back that I must sign my work before I post it online… Silly, really, you can’t stop the thievery no matter what you do, if you decide to post your art online. I recently read a piece considering the benefit vs risk of putting your art online. If you decide not to you are missing out on reaching millions of people, perhaps billions. If you want to sell your art, and/or share it with an audience, then the risk is one you must take. Unless of course you are going to let it spead just by word of mouth. Then it would take 100 years telling 5 people a day to reach 182,500 people, if they did not tell anyone else. If each one told 5 others then… wait a minute, you get the idea. It would take a long time.

Impressionism is my dearest love, and I hope one day to paint like Pissaro, or maybe Gauguin… Of course I have my own style, and I concentrated more on my brushwork in this piece, and multicolored skin to show my feelings rather than accurate realism. I especially love the dramatic shadows, I tried to be brave! Like I’m not passionate enough, right? I’m proud of the results! I will list all the shows I’m in in the next few days, with their websites and dates…

“Party Girl”

Hot Off The Easel! “Party Girl” 12″x 12″ Paint Pen on Canvas©STM

Just another view of “Party Girl” by Susan T. Martin, Created just an hour ago! Memories of Franky and Johnny’s / Gemini Room in Fort Pierce, Florida!

“INSIDE VOICE” a New Series of Works

“…look into this inner world and I promise I will use my “INSIDE VOICE”.

Hello again, and welcome to the big show! I have begun what will become a Major Series of New Works entitled , “INSIDE VOICE” a series of works that speak to my inner battle with Bipolar Disorder’s lows and maniac highs, my way to shout out how the battle rages on inside even when silence prevails outside.

Many people who meet me may be uncomfortable being near a person diagnosed with mental illness, such as Bipolar Disorder. However, they are often surprised at how “normal” I seem. It has been my experience both with my current diagnosis, and with my original diagnosis of Chronic Depression, that friends and family are amazed that I don’t run around slathering at the mouth, or beating my head against the wall. They often try denial on, “No…not you…” or, ” You seem so happy, normal, well adjusted, calm, smart …”

Dysfunction Junction
Dysfunction Junction ©Susan T. Martin, 2015 Best of the Best Juried Show entry, Sold.

Some have even gone so far as to comment on my family tree, as in, ” Well your Grandpa was a little odd.” Or the opposite, “Nothing like this has ever been on my side of the family…” In my family, on my Mom’s side, my Grandpa and his Brothers had come to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from Woodbury, Tennessee because there were good jobs to be had at the State Hospital, which was what insane asylums were called in the early 20th Century in the U.S. The treatment of mental illness was a whole different ballgame back then, my relatives saw many terrible and terrifying things, indeed.

Their positions within these huge hospitals required them to live on the Hospital Grounds in Dormitories, where they could hear the “lunatics” screaming and carrying on all day and night. It’s no wonder they were aghast at the idea that their kin were somehow linked  to those poor souls in the “Looney Bin”. I am so glad to live in this century, and I am very grateful to all the poor souls who were the subject of many ghastly experiments and treatments, who helped behavioral science and the Mental Health Community to become what it is today. As a “50 Something” woman who was not properly diagnosed till the age of 32, my life now is a dream compared to the suicide attempts, the self medicating, the self debasing promiscuity, the manic spending, the jail time, the fate-tempting, death-defying thrill-seeking, mayhem-causing pain I lived thru before. The sheer energy it would take to put up a happy, smiling front…man, I needed a eight ball just to keep it up for a weekend.

But it would all unravel in the end. I was not OK. I was really, really not OK. Inside my head I was screaming, and my thoughts were rolling at warp speed. I was that cat on the electric floor in that Steven King movie, running up the walls. I would try to hold down a job, and this is after a year of sobriety, after a few hours I would go to the loo and hide, shaking like a leaf. After about a year and a half clean and sober, I got my hands on my first credit card and inheritance at the same time and bought 5 acres in the wilderness, had it cleared and levelled, had a well dug, fenced it and then went to the mall and purchased a bunch of tanzanite and diamond jewelry, winding up spending  over 20 grand in 2 weeks(and ultimately filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy).

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Mania Illuminata, sold

Interspersed between those bouts of mania, where I seemed so “normal”, I would cry. And cry. And Finally I just couldn’t take the pain anymore, so a dear friend said I should go to a local Mental Health Facility, called New Horizons. I was given this ancient psychiatrist who looked wizened, emaciated and nearly blind. But, bless her heart, she had me pegged. With her help, with my determination to stick with my med trials, with a great therapist and social worker, I have been able to stay alive there past 23 years, now clean and sober for 21 of them, come September.

.  So, anyway…(whew, that was quite a tirade!)…I am painting this series to let you look inside a person with this illness, look into this inner world and I promise I will use my “INSIDE VOICE”.

.                                              Susan T. Martin, August 1, 2020

INSIDE VOICE #1
“INSIDE VOICE #1″©Susan T. Martin/12″x12″Acrylic on Canvas

LANDFALL(In the Garden of my Father)

…see what this work has gone thru on it’s journey to fruition…

.  You know I like to keep working on my paintings, don’t you? I believe it comes from not having enough money for canvases , as well as not sketching out my paintings first, as well as total and complete impatience to put my idea down fast, for gratification. So I thought I would make a brief compilation to see what this work has gone thru on it’s journey to fruition… I will make a better video tomorrow… No sleep for me (again) last night…Can you say, “MANIA!!!!” It may Hurt later, but right now it’s SO EXCITING!! PAINT PAINT PAINT!!!

The Journey, a Debut Art Video

 

.  This project was a couple years in the making for me, and was born from the bottomless grief I was dealing with then. As caregiver to both of my parents after a 23 year-long active addiction, and after a devestating breakup of my marriage when my ex went to Federal Prison, I was an emotional train wreck. I had not been creating visual art except for private sketches and some mural work, but I made a smart move during those early years back home with my parents by purchasing a Surface Pro in 2006 with all the bells and whistles. As a result, I did have a creative outlet in the new digital editing and photographic capabilities of this amazing device.

.  During the  long illness of my Mom, who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2007 (after years of passing blood but afraid to get a colonoscopy!!!!), I had much pent up emotion to release. Any moment of freedom I had was spent exploring the new medium I now possessed. I think I was at an advantage due to the fact that I knew no rules about photography, so I was very free to experiment and play. As a computer illiterate during my long years away from civilization, this was both hell and Utopia as I navigated thru the most basic techie stuff. But I was enthralled. I could take a photo and make it a work of art!

.  Alas, my next 9 years were so pain-filled, as Mom’s cancer progressed she and I had to navigate colostomy’s and ileostomy’s and her suffering was so acutely mine that I wanted to die with her. And a huge part of me did, on the first day of spring in 2010, her birthday and day of death. I wrote endless prose and poetry, keeping her alive in words and rivers of tears.

.   That seemed like a joy ride compared to nursing my father until his death. Dad developed dementia even before Mom died, and it became full blown Alzheimer’s afterwards. He also had prostate cancer which had been diagnosed 20years before but had never been treated. Years of violent outbursts and vile language and hate filled conversation poured out of my Father for the better part of Six years, and out of my warped sense of love for my mean Dad I determined in my heart to never let him go to a nursing home.

During those years I had a catastrophic fall which injured my brain, neck, back, shoulder, hip and knee, causing me to undergo a 12 hour double neck and back operation so that I would only have one recovery and could be up and about within weeks to caregive again. Wow. Five levels in my neck were fused and a previous 3 level lumbar fusion was repaired and taken up another level. I had torn major cartilage in my hip, needed arthroscopic surgery there and in my shoulder, and also was left with a type if vertigo that still effects me on a regular basis 7years later! Oh, my. Need I mention my mental illness battles with rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder and  PTSD from a history full of childhood sexual abuse, violent sexual assault and rape as an adolescent and severe emotional and physical abuse due to 7plus years of Domestic Violence? No, I really had given myself a heavy, heavy load to carry with Daddy. But somehow I did it.

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For Our Lost Ones, “Cry Me a River” detail of larger work©susant

.   I cannot describe the last weeks of his life, as there was a lawsuit and a non disclosure agreement with the establishment that hastened his death. But his last night was spent in a hospital bed at home, alone with me, while he screamed and pleaded with God and me to help him. For hours. And hours. The morphine did absolutely nothing so I covered my ears with my fists and screamed with him.

 

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.  During this unimaginably daunting, heart-wrenching and overwhelming time in my life there was a story on the news that just planted itself in my brain, because it was so horrific. A group of 27 immigrants were being smuggled into this country from South America. My video is my interpretation of what they went thru, and also a cry for compassion towards all who suffer such indignities and trauma.

.                                                                                 Susan T. Martin

Sick, Sick, SICK OF IT…

…this post is winding itself around my consciousness like my fairy python-mother…

That’s a cheery title, eh? Yes, I’ve been wallowing again, in me muck. (as the Brits’ say.) I guess that’s what they would say, actually, because I have never heard Benedict  Cumberbatch say he was wallowing in his muck. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I spelled that dashing young man’s name properly either… So now I can really wallow in it…me Muck, that is. (why this godawful computer wants to capitalize Muck is way beyond me, it also capitalizes Young. See?

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“A Wee Bit Peckish”,detail

By now you have most likely discerned that this post is winding itself around my consciousness like my fairy python-mother, to the end of pinching my head off like you would a bug. Not me, I don’t pinch bugs’ heads off, no way. I freeze them. Especially grasshoppers which grow to monstrous  dimensions here in South Swampland. I do not freeze them out of malice, or hunger, just a matter of survival for my broad leaved tropicals and dahlias.

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.  In actuality I find grasshoppers rather endearing and one of my first works of art in 5th grade was of a lovely grasshopper. That was before I moved from the Allegheny Mountains just north of the Mason Dixon line to South Florida’s semi-tropical jungle of behemoth bugs. It really fakes you out down here, cause the hundred tiny-baby black and yellow-striped grasshoppers you see in your yard today are tomorrows’ five-inch long yellow-green monster’s that decimated your mango trees in ten minutes flat.

My hunting technique is to take a few (10) plastic grocery bags and race around my property swiping those suckers off my plants with ninja-like swiftness until I have about 20 to 30 per bag. Then, whoosh, seal it up real quick before they can turn those bottomless black orbs of eyes towards you to make your will turn to water. They plead in tiny high pitched squeaks: “noooooo” and “pleeeeze”. Don’t listen, whatever you do, because it’s all lies, if you looked like a plant they’d mascerate you like it was their aim in life.

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.  After the big seal of the bag, I dash into the kitchen and whisk them into the freezer and slam the door. Then I get another bag and do it all over again until grasshopperville is no more. It may seem cruel, but when I used to raise saltwater fish and animals, the really top fish guys said that is a humane way to euthanize a fish, so I just assumed it would work as well with my grasshopper friends.

.  The only downside is when you tell your auntie to help herself to a glass of iced tea and she reaches in your freezer for some ice cubes. When you hear her unearthly screams you know one of your critters has escaped his grocery bag tomb and decided to gasp his last in the ice cube bin. Sometimes you pull out the whole carcass, other times it’s just a random leg in the bottom of your glass.

.  Ok…any questions? That’s where I’m at, I hope y’all are keeping as tight a grip on your sanity as I am! On that note, Cheers and Bottoms Up!

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my idea of an artistic selfie!

 

An Awakening

Sleep has been a constant goal for me since I put down drugs and copious amounts of alcohol. Yet it has been the most evasive and endangered of species, teasing me with scattered glimpses of it’s eternal beauty. Oh, how I have longed for it’s soothing embrace, and so have everyone I have contact with; they also wish sleep would embrace me!

.   The constant effect of losing this cherished companion is my surliness, my impatience, my wind-like changeability and undependability. Punctuality is no longer a quality I can claim, and it frustrates me greatly. Falling asleep in my oatmeal is also quite frustrating, as is stabbing myself in the eye with my mascara brush. Nodding off at redlights and nearly colliding with oncoming traffic are less than desirable effects of losing my Lovely Sleep’s company, also.cropped-fede7588-4d83-493f-9367-3fbffead6a841.jpg

Bipolar Disorder, my particular breed of it, thrives on insomnia. The Manic high’s leave me strung out like guitar strings tightened to the breaking point, you can virtually hear my mind humming at high frequency when I walk into a room. The flying mouse-wheel of thoughts is now turbocharged , ready to escape it’s moorings and fly an oblivion my mind may never recover from. The longer she evades me with her unfaithfulness, the more my living quarters look like a battlefield, reflecting her absence in my life. WIN_20191220_02_55_24_Pro (6)_LI

.  It truly is a war. The other end of the spectrum in this battle is THE DARK. Each day of the mania leads me closer to the brink of devastation. At times THE DARK and the mouse-wheel cohabit my being, bouncing my sanity as if a Rubber ball has been thrown full tilt into a narrow alley.

. Then the fateful day arrives when my loss of Lover Sleep leads me to the pit, the abyss of THE DARK. It throws me in and pulls up the rope ladder in one fell swoop. Leaving me to stand waist deep in the most desolate places of memory. Abuse, Pain, Rejection, Rape, Loneliness, Fear, thoughts of Harm, Deep All encompassing Grief… They are all here, all come out from the darkness edges of this well of depression to shove and kick me about as I stand in the tiny spot of light that trickles down from the far above opening of this shaft of hell. WIN_20200105_13_55_45_Pro (3)

The level of Muck rises as each long day passes, and unless I can find the toolbox my years of mental health therapy has given me, or if I can find that lifeline of contact with my support network, or best yet, if I can find a way to kneel and call out over and over to my Creator, begging for the strength to claw my way out, all may be lost. Anyone who has fallen down this DARK, knows how close it gets to oblivion at times…  

.   Days can pass, this last round a month passed, as you can see by my lack of sharing here. The pen weighs a thousand pounds, the telephone a ton. At times my paintbrush is lost in the sediment, more often than not it is divine release. I let the Dark flow out of me and away, down from my battered heart and mind , then finally draining from my fingertips on to canvas, paper, cement block or found object. The level of sadness ebbs, I have the strength to climb and paint my way up the walls wet with my tears.

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.  As the light gets brighter, the colors on my canvas turn from Greys and browns to lilac and magenta, then colors of light and freedom. A few minutes of rest in Dear Sleep’s embrace , a gift from above then the final push into the light. The glorious light of freedom of peace, bathing my psyche in cooling water, releasing the bondage of all those fears, flashbacks mental anguish.

.  My Creator saw fit to give me another glorious day, and finally the strength to reach for help from my doctors, my therapist, and my lifeline of freeflowing art, color, shape and movement.

.  Finally, my quest is completed, my medicine adjusted, which I take gratefully. Now with this elixer (and a new bipap machine) , some calming music and grateful meditation on all my blessings I fall gently into Sleep’s waiting arms. I lay my head on her motherly bosom, which happens to be my favorite squish pillow, and off I drift down the gentle stream of happy dreams…looking forward to a joyful, rested Awakening.

Feeling at War with Myself

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I have been languishing here, letting myself fall off the edge of sanity for a while. Is it physical?emotional?spiritual? No, not spiritual, for I feel close to my Creator. I just feel diminished, somehow, like my life’s blood has been watered down. Perhaps when the rainy season ends I will blossom again. Till then, my friend, bear with me…

 

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The Duality of My Artistic Self

Depicting my own image has been a starting point my work from the beginning. As a child my drawings were always of female faces, although I never consciously realized these were reflections of me. Even then, in my earliest work, the duality of my nature is blatantly apparent.

.  The faces I drew were always divided, half usually in darkness, or different in other ways. I did not know I was Bipolar then, I just had a burning need to express myself artistically. I was not properly diagnosed until I got clean and sober at the age of 35 after a drugging career that lasted over twenty three years.

. I had always known I was different, I described the feeling of being “painted green”in a room full of “normal” folk. It was like having something tattooed on my forehead, a conspicuousness. When I dug into my diagnosis, learning all I could in the hopes of finally coming to grips with my self destructive life’s course, I could see all the familiar signs in the literature. It made SO much sense! Now, armed with my new sobriety and determined to stay the course on my psychiatric medication regimen, I set out to turn my life around-to leave the wasteland of my past far behind.

.  There was a slight glitch in my plan, however. The new meds that I was taking had a very unwelcome effect. They dulled my creative impulses, they slowed my manic phases down to a crawl. Rather than my giddy highs and freewheeling episodes of excess that I had lived for, and that had been killing me, I was now just a level hum. No taught guitar string playing harmonics, I was now m e l l o w…Too mellow. Where were the bright colors, the whirling merry go rounds and my peals of crazy laughter? All of the sudden I was boring and frumpy, and immune to excitement. I actually slept…alot.

.  This is the part of a healthy mental health regimen that causes so many Bipolar individuals to “go off” their meds…but I had lost that option when I decided to stay alive. I had to make this work, I had to stick this out, because the alternative was suicide. Whether thru a drug overdose or tragedy from high risk behavior, I knew that sticking this out meant my very survival. Would I have to be a zombie? Was my wildly creative side lost to me forever? What to do?

.  Fortunately, I had a therapist (counselor ) who listened, and I had the determination to tell her my discomfort. It took the better part of two years, and many different drug combinations , much discomfort and many tears to find a plan that worked, but we did not give up. Finally, I felt comfortable in my own skin, most of the time.

I still have highs and lows, and I am still a rapid cycling Bipolar person with PTSD. I still suffer from chronic insomnia and flashbacks, severe depressive episodes and ideation at times. But I never, ever want to destroy this beautiful gift of life, or to disrespect my Creator. It’s a long road, but the view is great!

Now that all that is said and done, the point I was getting at was that at a point a few years ago, talking to my therapist about my art, and showing him my work I had an epiphany ! BI-polar, TWO-sided! All the faces I drew and painted had told the tale from childhood! As we continued to go through my portfolio, it came rushing home to me. I paint myself as I am, and thru my art I am able to understand and put together all my different facets! I am constantly learning, healing and growing as an artist, and I am

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Self Portrait 4AM(detail)

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Flashback 937(detail)

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“Peckish”(detail)

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“Mania Illuminata” sold

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“Mania illuminata” sold

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“Growth”(detail)

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“100 Must-Have Looks”(detail)

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“A Big Beak”(detail)

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“yearning”(detail)

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“Visionaria”sold

so grateful that I did not give up on myself!

.  If anyone out there is fearful of a mental illness diagnosis, please give yourself a chance to get well. Don’t be afraid to seek help, because I’m here today as an example of the kind of life that is possible if one keeps pushing on! You can feel better!

Above are just a few recent examples of the many sides of my bipolar self I paint…

An Introduction and Trigger Warning!

Boom. Just like that! I pushed a button, chose the business plan, and I’m up and running… Why don’t you come run with me for a while? You can see me falter, catch my breath, take a few more steps, laugh, get a stitch in my side, take another step or two…and then give it up and fall down in a heap of knees, elbows, sweat and laughter!

Cause, I have to tell you right now, I’m a funny duck! You are going to have quite a time as you get to know my quirks, my Bipolar moods, my PTSD and paranoia, my traumatic brain injury forgetfulness, and all the scarred psyche that my dysfunctional upbringing left me with.

“I am glad you are here. I want you to see me fall, see my imperfections, see my glaring “human-ness” in the unforgiving overhead light of reality… Because I am an artist, and ultimately, I am my art: An Ever-evolving, morphing, learning and growing, beautiful and fleeting image, A mark left on the page of this Tiny Giant Life!”

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“Plugged Into It” digital Painting,c. SusanTMartin

So, unless otherwise noted, all the Art, Words, Photos, Poems, Thoughts and Visual Musings you see and feel here are the sole creation and copyright property of me,

Susan T. Martin.

I make Out Of The Gutter Art.

Enjoy yourself, wander around a bit, have a drink if you like ( but don’t throw any plastic away, I recycle) Rest if you are tired, eat if you are hungry, but never the last Oreo…that baby is mine.

TRIGGER WARNING: While I  do not create pornography, my art is often adult in nature, and can be disturbing for some viewers as it often stems from my memories and flashbacks of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I use artistic means as a coping mechanism, and therapy and find my art is a soothing release from the horrors of my past. It is my hope that by getting the pain and trauma out of me and onto canvas or other media, I can find peace and the ability to live in the present as a loving, caring, healthy and healing, whole person. Not a victim, but a survivor. And not just existing but thriving!

Of all the people who love me and have helped me on this journey, my utmost gratitude goes to God, who drew me to him from a life buried in the mire. He is the one who pulled me Out of the Gutter.

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Prayer for Magdallia, by Susan T. Martin 9 x 11 Marker on Board $150.00

RILEY the Elegant Elephant

An update on our dear friend Riley!

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HELLO RILEY! long time no see, kid! This is Riley today as of 9/19/19, with SO much Detail! He’s a doozy!

WIN_20171223_00_18_04_Pro (2)An Update on our dear friend Riley! We have not forgotten him, nor any of our multitudinous works in progress! Perhaps if the Artist could just focus her efforts on ONE project at a time….?…

But what fun would that be?

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A close up of Riley’s Jewel-Encrusted headgear! He is Royalty, after all!

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