Art from the heart Competition – Artist Vickie’s statement

Please find my artists statement attached below

The past is a foreign country.

This painting depicts my life with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). It illustrates the grief and fear I feel on a daily basis as MS insidiously rewrites my life. I portray my shattered dreams but also my hopes for the future.

MS is an unpredictable disease and is like living with the sword of Damocles hanging over you. It is a disease with many hidden symptoms.

Prior to life with MS I was a very active, outdoorsy type of person. I would spend my time climbing hills and mountains, taking long hikes, cycling along country lanes, running and swimming. Walking was my meditation, a way to clear my head and regain a sense of peace. I couldn’t imagine a life without the use of my legs.

Then it happened; quite literally overnight I lost the use of my legs. I became a wheelchair user. It cut me to the quick and the ache and pain has never gone away. Through this painting I have tried to come to terms with the loss of my legs. I tell myself that “the past is a foreign country”. I must put my life in the hills and mountains behind me. I must let go to move forward.

I head out into an unknown future, wading through the quicksand; green shoots in the sand dunes offer hope because I won’t give up. No point thinking about the “what if’s”, there can be “no buts, no ands” after all “if ifs and ands were pots and pans…”. I put the text into the picture to remind me that there is no point dwelling on what you can’t do.

MS has altered my sensations. At times my legs feel as though they are stretching away from me across the floor. At other times they feel as though they are on the other side of the room. I can’t feel my feet at all.

My hands are clumsy fists. The right hand feels as though it is encased in a boxing glove. It is rapidly being stripped of its dexterity, another loss to bear.

My head is so heavy, my neck feels spindly and can barely hold it up. Once I spent a week when my head felt like a fish head. Frequently, it feels like a cardboard box or as though half of my face has sunk into my skull, leaving one eye protruding.

Still I plough on, hoping for blue skies and green shoots ahead. I must learn to let go and live in a world from which I constantly feel excluded from.