Each one I’ve painted so carefully and written a label on so neatly. So painstakingly did I line them up, color by color, to make an art piece, probably a mysterious one to other people, but a grounding one to me.
I’m talking about the spoons I’ve been collecting from people. Each label is a diagnosis I have or had in the past.
Maybe it seems weird and depressing to line them all up and look at them, but not to me. To me, I see validation. To me, I see that I’m not crazy, I’m not imagining my symptoms, and this is why life is hard.
It’s not like a statue of complaint, either. It’s really just an explanation. This is why. I’ve gone decades without being diagnosed with some of my conditions. And some are still not diagnosed, but they are still there.
Life takes a lot of effort for me with things that–I’m just going to say it–I think a lot of people take for granted.
For example, I can’t read street signs well because of my albinism. I sometimes don’t understand what people are saying because I have autism. If I walk too fast or too long, which is not long at all, I have to sit or lay down because of my Dysautonomia, so I also have to take breaks approximately every half hour when I’m doing housework. I’m exhausted most of the time from curriculum fatigue syndrome. I can’t do repetitive motions with my hands because of tendonitis. I worry about people not liking me because of my OCD, and I worry about the ones I think do like me leaving me because of Borderline Personality Disorder.
It’s so tiring! So much work! For a long time, I didn’t know how to share many of these things, and I had traumatic invalidation because people didn’t know how to validate experiences that I didn’t put words to.
So now I crave validation because it helps me heal from past, deep pain.
If you have deep hurts, I’d encourage you to do some art about it. It can be so very validating.