Using art to escape life

Last post I talked about my desire to taper off Effexor after being on it for eleven years. Another health concern on my radar is recent the report of an increased risk of breast cancer in correlation to alcohol consumption. I already have an increased risk of breast cancer from family history (my mother and maternal aunt both had it and died from it at relatively early ages), in addition to having extremely dense breasts (which causes issues with obtaining clear mammograms and MRIs).  I had discussed the research with my doctor and she indicated for me a few drinks a week aren’t going to cause a problem. I happily road off with this advice celebrating I could still drink my Riesling – yay! But then I came across a recent article on the topic and decided this time to actually read the research. You don’t have to bore yourself with the full content – just scroll to the bottom for the conclusion. Fortunately, I am not a heavy drinker – I left my partying days behind in my 20s. I usually have wine on the weekends (I don’t drink during the week), but admit the number of glasses have been creeping up over time. I started with two glasses on Friday after work, then two on Saturday afternoon. Then I added two glasses on Sundays. Then, two wasn’t enough and it soon became three glasses Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and if it was my Monday off work (I have off every other Monday), I added three glasses on Monday afternoon. On vacation? No wine but a few mixed drinks every day (it’s not an island vacation without the drinks, right?). So after reading the research I wondered, “Can I really say I’m a moderate drinker?” Granted, I’m nowhere near the level of a lot of people. But, considering my breast cancer risk, should I cut alcohol out completely? I’m not dependent on it, I COULD go without. But, INSERT FROWNY FACE!

But, considering the conclusion to the research, perhaps I don’t have to cut it completely. Maybe, though, I can just cut back. Honestly, I sleep a lot better when I cap the wine at two glasses versus three (a few occasions I’ve downed four glasses – I’ve learned from these instances that the hangover isn’t worth it). I experimented this past weekend with pulling back: I had only one glass on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday. It was actually fine – I enjoyed it and slept well. As I always used to be with nutrition advice, I’m going back to the camp of “All Things in Moderation”. I lived by this for years, but when I started with my GI issues, my acne, and worrying about staying on top of my depression and breast cancer screenings, I got swept up in all the madness of different diets (Vegan’s best! No, Paleo is the way we’re meant to eat! Eat this way, but don’t eat beans! No, eat like this, but avoid all gluten! I could go on all day here. It was making me crazy.). So with the drinking, as with eating, moderation will be key. I believe the stress over worrying if I’m drinking too much will cause more damage than just doing the drinking. At least that’s my non-scientific rationale.

Big hair was a must.

So what does this and last week’s post have to do about art? Pretty much everything. I was fourteen when my mother passed away from breast cancer. It was a rough time for me. I was angry, rebellious (my father remarried a few months later – another full story for another time), hurt, lost. Art saved me. I was always an artistic child, but during this time I would spend hours drawing and painting. Back then my obsession was all things heavy metal (this was the 80s, so…) and I transferred that obsession to my art by drawing and painting portraits of my favorite band members. I also had an interest in fashion design, so drawing outrageous designs and dreaming of a life of a high-profile designer took up much of my time. Art was fun then, a desirable escape. After high school I dropped art (I didn’t pursue it as a career because frankly, I had no idea what I could do with it and felt I couldn’t be creative on-demand) and went without it for nearly twenty years. Until I realized how much I missed it. I was so nervous about starting again – I was as rusty as a 100-year old nail. But, in time, the groove came back. I lost interest in doing portraits and fashion sketches (but I do love seeing other people’s fashion sketches), and gained a passion for island landscapes and thunderstorms. Whenever I sit down to create, I forget about any worries – they don’t matter. Depression goes away and any thought about health risks are non-existent. So even if I was to never make money from my art, these feelings of serenity and joy are reward enough.

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2 thoughts on “Using art to escape life

  1. Interesting about the connection of breast cancer to alcohol. My mother and both her sisters had breast cancer. My mother was an alcoholic. My father traveled a lot for work. I’m the oldest of SIX and had to make sure they were taken care of when mom went on drinking binges. My “art” escape was sewing. I loved that part of home ec class and made a lot of my own clothes, although I didn’t design them. That evolved into crafting and now scrapbooking, which I plan to continue once we are moved and settled. I have 10 years of living in Germany photos to catalog for the boys. Will be fun to relive those memories!

    1. Hi Rita,

      Oh, wow. Sorry you had to go through that (that’s a HUGE responsibility), but glad you found an outlet in sewing (which is an art!).

      Ten years of pics will be so much fun to go through! Post pics of the progress if you can.

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