Creative Expression is My True Medicine
My name is Natalie, I'm 21. I was born with Arthrogryposis and later in my teens was diagnosed with Spinal Stenosis, Scoliosis, Arthritis, and 4 bulging discs. For most of my childhood, I did intensive physical therapy and had two major surgeries on my knees and ankles so I could walk. I have finger contractures. Along with that, I'm missing a joint in each one of my fingers. At times it feels like I live on painkillers and a heating pad. I wish I could say I always had a positive outlook on my health. Growing up in a fairly religious family, in times of great physical pain which seemed to happen often, I would ask my parents why God hated me. I'm happy to say I no longer ask that question. Though it's been a long journey, I have found sanctuary with my love of animals and creating art. For years I tried to hide my health issues from others, I didn't want to be labeled. It was only when I allowed myself to truly be free with my art that I found the bravery to embrace what I have instead of focusing on what I don't. I draw, photograph, and write but no matter the medium, the life experiences I've gone through with being disabled have just fueled my creative passion. And as I continue on my journey I am forever grateful for it.
Below is a collection of old photos and also my artwork that was greatly influenced by my disability. :-)