Trigger warning: PTSD / Rape / Abuse / Domestic Abuse / Child Abuse
for #MentalHealthAwarenessDay2019 I encourage those who find themselves blasted with memories from the past, ones where you were hurt or scared, to talk to someone about those memories. Sometimes those of us with PTSD don't recognize it because of horrible situations we lived through day to day, were normal for us. Or because we think PTSD is war only related.
Ignoring it because "it can't be" doesn't erase that it could be and giving it a name actually does help you figure it out.
I say this gently because it's really difficult with PTSD because it can mimic other illnesses. What we think is depression, anxiety, and bipolar has actually, in SOME cases, turned out to be PTSD. I say this because this has happened to my mom. She's never been diagnosed, but my dad did unspeakable things to her and forced me to watch. I've been diagnosed with it.
PTSD is like a hyper warning system. People with it develop a couple of things: disassociation and hyper vigilance.
DA is basically an out of body experience within your own mind. you build up these walls for protection against a very real threat or danger in your life. Unfortunately, you are still present and those memories are 100% of the time what come back to haunt you.
HV is when your mind is on ALL the time. It's like a spring loaded trap waiting to see a pattern. HV is even active at night, causing Night Terrors or Sleep Paralysis (Night Terrors are images you respond to while partially asleep, and you CAN and WILL run, or scream, or even punch at it. Sleep Paralysis is seeing something and not being able to move your body. The things people report seeing are demons, etc.) And this is why PTSD is so hard to see because it can even be small patterns, but if you see something that even REMOTELY reminds you of the traumatic event, that event is now attached to the original trauma memory.
Most of you know some stuff, but I’m going to invite you to sit down as I walk you through some of my journey.
I didn’t think it could be fixed. How do you fix memories? You don’t. They happened, they’re there and there’s no erasing them.
As a visual person, my memory records things visually. I’m dyslexic and that means I’m a visual thinker/learner. If I don’t see it, it’s hard for me to comprehend. I’m hands on and visual, just how it’s always been, but this means I have a bit of a photographic memory.
My first memory (confirmed by my mom) is me looking up through my bassinet and I could see the white frills around the edge. The image is like a polaroid, but like one of the magical pictures you see sometimes, parts of it move giving it a 3D effect.
My dad, his dark curly hair escaping his ball cap. A cigarette hangs from his mouth, eyes squinting and the other side of his mouth is partially open. He’s not holding the cigarette in his hands because it’s in his mouth, but because one fist is clenched and the other is pointing right at my mom. But her figure is a dark blur. All I can see is him, the kitchenette behind him from the motel they lived in. Dark and dingy orange light smothered in smoke.
But as I grew up, more and more events like this one occured, but in real time for me. I slowly began to understand what these instances met, and it was terrifying. My dad used to beat my mom in front of me to teach me lessons.
One night they took 3 year old me to a party. Dad thought mom was playing footsie under the table with some guy. He angrily tells her we’re going home.
I get plopped in the back seat, mom sits in the passenger seat, and my drunk dad gets in the driver seat. As soon as the doors closed he back-handed her. He beat her all the way home and when we got home he sat me on the couch and beat her some more.
As bad as that all was, the one memory from that time, that shaped me like no other, was him forcing me to watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. When I was 3.
I was 3, sitting beside a man I watched be violent for pretty much every day i’d existed in this world, and right before the killing started, the chainsaw murderer at the door, my dad looked at me and said:
“This is what happens to little girls that don’t behave.”
Fast forward 30 years. I’ve been in therapy for 5 years before realizing PTSD needed more to it and EMDR could help. At first I thought it was some of the spiritual woo woo some people try to pass off as “helping”, but after talking to a really good friend about it, and how it changed their life, I decided to try.
Long story short, it worked for me. There’s different methods, but where I thought there was never going to be help before, I realized, in this, there was.
So, one session we decide to try and process some memories. I started with the one with my dad and the movie. But, as i’m working through it, I then start processing a memory where my grandma had a chainsaw and i didn’t know it, and he started it up. I was 6 and I was so scared because i’d been fucking with the bird nests grandma told me to leave alone, and then BOOM. I hid in the closet for almost 3 days (according to family legend). This memory then went into the one about my grandpa dying. How I thought that he’d be fine so I didn’t go and say goodbye (my mom survived her stay in the hospital from 4 different types of cancer, there’s no way HE’D be worse off than that! Is what my 10 year old self said) and my grandpa died while I was deathly ill, and they told me while I was fevered. I’d blamed myself, my whole life, for not going to visit him. My fevered, 10 year old mind said “you visited your mom and she lived. You didn’t visit him and he died.” Which then lead me to a recent event with my aunt. My alcoholic aunt who threw a shoe at my head for riding my bike in circles. My alcoholic aunt who got black out drunk while she was watching me and a guy took us home from that party and raped her. I was 7 and in the same bed. I was frozen in horror and i knew what my dad would have done if I screamed or tried to save her. So I froze. I blamed myself for that too.
But later on in life, recently actually, she wasn’t doing well but I couldn’t bring myself to face her, or the things she’d done to me. I ignored her FB request and that weekend my mom called and told me she’d died. She’d died in the worst way imaginable, and as my mom described it, my visual mind filled in the blanks. I wasn’t even there. I’ve never seen anything like it other than TV, but that was enough for my mind to take that scene, add her face and suddenly I was there.
The day I found out she died, I had a mental meltdown. The next day I spent 3 days in “bliss” because my mind completely disconnected. My brain forcefully convinced my consciousness that my WHOLE family was “gone” and i’d never have to speak to any of them ever again.
And that made me a kind of happy I feel ashamed of, but I sincerely felt free.
Then monday, I checked FB and my other aunt had made a passive aggressive post aimed at me, and it crashed down around my ears. Everything flooded back in and I was reminded, no matter where I run, I can’t escape. I had to face it. I had to face these memories and why I thought I deserved everything as punishment. And you know what I discovered? It was because I wasn't a boy (has been confirmed). I was my dad's first child, and I wasn't his Jr. He disowned me right out the gate cause I was born with blue eyes (like majority of kids are, eventually they changed to brown). He swore mom cheated on him with his dad. After she managed to escape him, at one point when I was 6 he wanted visitation that weekend. I remember thinking "Now's my chance to show him i'm lovable and not trash!" But that weekend my dad did what no dad should do. He did it not to hurt me, but to hurt my mom. It left me with Night Terrors for the rest of my life. Imagine screaming every night and then waking up to your family making jokes about it. Even convincing you that you're literally seeing ghosts. There's no way a man could be leaning over my bed! HAS TO BE A GHOST! yeah, the ghost of a memory of my dad hurting me.
NGL, there's a part of a person who wants their parents to be proud of them, cause, they brought me in to this world right? But the fact my dad tried so hard to kill us, and then the PTSD my mom had that went undiagnosed for so long and now she's afraid of going to get help cause she's scared she'll be abandoned there.
But this event and others lead me to EMDR and this has helped me build up a healthy support group that validates me, and teaches me how to communicate and validate others. I’m not just learning how to work with myself, i’m learning how to communicate and consider others, and it’s one of the most valuable tools I’ve learned in this lifetime, hands down.
If you have any questions, you’re welcome to ask, but if you come in here saying “you should do this” or “you should do that”, ask me first. I probably already have done/tried it and it didn’t work. While I appreciate people being helpful, if all you’re doing is telling me what to do instead of talking to me and finding out what all i’ve done, then you’re not actually interested in helping, you’re just wanting to speak to make yourself feel better about being helpful.
This will come as no surprise to some, but I've been toying with the idea of separating my characters from my brand. At least when it involves names and what represents my art.
See, I have OCD and majority of the time it's decided to show itself, always involves my art. Honestly if it hadn't been for my OCD tendencies, I probably would have quit on art a long time ago, but my OCD actually fixated on it.
That out of the way, the OCD also doesn't like it when things aren't the same across the board.
I need to make sure people can find me, but if I keep rebranding every time I fall in love with a character, well...I'd be rebranding daily.
Long story short, I've got some plans in the works, but i'm taking my time this time. Because the timing of it aligns with issues i'm having online with people I used to know IRL. This definitely could look like i'm running, because that's what I've done in the past, but this isn't about me running from anything, it's embracing who I want to be.
I don't want to be scared anymore and I want to be my authentic self, and that means giving myself a "studio"
type name so I can change characters.
out of this, I also discovered a name i'd like to go by, also not attached to characters, cause this is for me.
So, let me try introducing myself:
Hi. i'm Blu. I'm an artist and illustrator that focus on video game and fantasy art. I'm Non-Binary and Pansexual.
This might give you a hint at where i'm going, but this new brans sums me up to the Letter and includes everything I've ever wanted in an Art name. I'm working on stuff in the meantime, but mostly behind the scenes so as not to stir the waters before i'm ready :)
Thank you all for being here and giving me a solid ground to build my foundation on <3
P.S. Sableregn (DH) and Cinnri (NightElf Paladin) are going to be my mascots (harpy eagle/blue dragon)
Hello! so, I've made some changes to my commission info and contact forms. If what you're looking for isn't up there, you're welcome to ask, but I do better with the mediums presented.
I think everything is all set for the May 29th announcement and info. Thanks to everyone who stops by <3
I received an anon question about Cinnri and Tethered and all of my projects, and I answered what I could for the app, however, I felt like this needed more insight.
As many artists, I was lost. Sometimes, with being freelance, it's hard to find your path, your niche, your THING that not only sparks joy but your mind holds onto it for longer than a month. I chalked it up to myself and just my oddities with art.
I can absolutely recognize that sometimes I get so many ideas, I try to work on one or more. Then I run out of steam creatively for them, and next thing you know my brain is obsessed with these other two things.
With Tethered, I tried. I actually did more for it than i've ever done on a project, and i'm extremely proud of that. Except that it had been two years and it wasn't gaining traction. I had a small community for it, and still have some devout followers, but I wasn't getting tips for it, nor paid for it and I don't trust Patreon anymore, so I was limited creatively on making money for it, all while trying to do commissions too and not progressing with my art like I wanted.
Comics take a lot of work to do, especially when you're artist, letter, storyboarder, colorist, everything all in one. I did have amazing story help from my brother James, but producing a comic is hard. Advertising it and keeping it hyped, is hard. And while I know others do it every day, last year my mental and physical health took a nose dive and I couldn't do it anymore. I also had a very hard conversation with myself and knew I couldn't blame the audience for this. It's not everyone elses fault for not reading, ultimately, it was mine. I realized very late into it, that I am very literal when it comes to drawing comics. I feel like every. single. thing. has to be shown some how, some way, and any comics person will tell you, that's not how it works. Except, that's the only way my brain wants to do it.
At the same time, I spent so much time on the minimal style of the comic, that I wasn't progressing in other areas that I enjoyed so much. My pin-ups were lacking and I was itching to try painting but just didn't have the time. Plus, as soon as I started learning something, I quickly forgot because I would have to work on the comic.
I know I had a lot of other projects too. The Harpies as a playable race thing, Eclipsed, Twin Blades, Night Elf Paladin things. I also know I dropped them all because, even though I had an idea of where I wanted to be going, I felt like nothing was clicking. And if Tethered wasn't working, I didn't feel like doing WoW comics was going to end any better.
So I chalked it up to trying different things to see what I could find for myself, and that lead me to the Starfallen Elves and Starscrypt Oracle cards. When all was said and done, and I asked myself what I truly, TRULY, wanted to do, the answers were not what they would have been 5 years ago, or even 2.
If I had it all to do over again, I would have gone to SCAD for fashion design. Then I would have learned sewing and designing my own costumes/outfits. Hand in hand with that, would be to do occult and pagan art. I've always loved Tarot cards and after working with them and other elements, I decided to make an Oracle deck called Starscrypt.
Those are my main focus right now in conjunction with commissions. I know I've let a few down with this, and I apologize for my severe lack of direction. I've struggled with this side of my life for so many years. I had no one who took it seriously and scoffed at me making a career out of it and that I thought I would do it out of "spite". But as i'm working on myself and have a wonderful support group, I realize spite is not a healthy fuel for _my_ art. Instead of doing it for people who don't deserve it, i'm going to do it for me.
I hope people stick around, but I understand that with not focusing on video game art anymore, that this will see some of y'all go. I can only say that i'm still taking video game related commissions, and I still love doing fan art occasionally, but if you do go, I wish you well. Your support helped me find myself as an artist, and i'm forever grateful for that.
Thank you, all of you, for the support and the understanding. I love working with the gaming community, and I love games, and I love you all. I think i'm finally figuring things out and how to make stuff work for me, instead of changing myself to make things work and I hope you all stay to watch me grow <3
Filled up on commissions and to-do for winner. The schedule can be found on the Commission Schedule page.
Openings for the next round will be at the end of March beginning of April <3
Added a sketch winner for Baast_ED onto the sketches, and also added an image of Cinnri in her Starfallen form.
Added January's forecasted schedule for commission completion. If there's any change at all, clients will be notified directly.
Added a page for the Legend of Dragoon 20th Anniversary Project
Added a link to the Starscrypt - Oracle card deck page
Thank you all for your interest! I've got all of the submissions and they've been replied to. I will be back again at the end of the month to open up for Feb commissions.