“I always had an affinity for art but didn’t take classes until college at Bishop State with Mary Elizabeth Kimbrough and Lydia Host. They helped me to see I have talent. I was going to school for nursing but my grandpa got sick. I quit school to take care of my family. I am caring for my grandparents and my quadriplegic father. We live together in one house. There are so many strong opinions and I am stuck in the middle.
Twenty years ago, my dad dove into shallow water and snapped his neck. That was it. He has to be spoon-fed and almost everything done for him. My grandpa was his primary caretaker but has his own health problems. I took over caring form my dad when my grandpa got too weak. I also have to help the aid take care of my dad on the days she comes. My grandfather just spent two months in the hospital and almost died. My grandmother is his caretaker, but she thinks she had a heart attack a few weeks ago. She has congestive heart failure and had a heart attack once before. She is standing in her faith that everything is going to be okay because she can’t leave him. The stress of caring for him is getting to her.
It is so constant and I don’t know what to do. I have become apathetic. I try to make money and do something for myself, but I don’t have that stability. I was working three shifts at Nixon’s but had to cut back to two after my grandmother’s heart attack. My family knows our conditions are difficult and we are dysfunctional right now, but we don’t have good options. There is no escape. My dad is also uncompromising and that makes it hard to help him. He has run a lot of help off. He is in pain and one problem creates multiple problems. It is terrible that the next big tragedy is going to free me in a lot of ways. That is when my life will start aside from the growth I am trying to find through this.
I learned not to get caught up on dreams. I had big ones and they fell apart, so I just maintain and find happiness in the work I do at Sway. I heard about a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. I needed something like that so much it would make me cry. I couldn’t afford it so I swallowed my pride and made a Facebook post about needing help to go. By the end of the day, my friends and people from the Mobile art scene and downtown donated the money to meet my goal. I am not good at accepting gifts, but I feel so loved. It will be a week to just exist with nothing demanded of me. I am looking forward mental space and being more present. The community in downtown Mobile has been refreshing for me and helped me through difficult times. They provide the support and care for me that I am constantly giving to my family at home.”