Pain by Jennie Rosenbaum, 2005
it’s been a tumultuous decade in so many ways. A time for loss. For myself, for friends and loved ones and for the world. Personally, i lost a company, my career, my mobility, strength and endurance. But in many ways i’ve gained more than i’ve lost. I’ve gained my sense of self. I’ve discovered what i am supposed to do and i’ve been rewarded with all the joys of working in a career that i am genuinely passionate about. Here is my summary of the decade that was. It’s good to look back over the preceding time, there is so much to learn, and so much to look forward to in the coming years.
when 2000 began I was a completely different person. I was a director of a small internet start-up that was going places, my goal was to make a million before I was 30 and I had the healthy body of a 22 year old. I lived with my partner and two housemates and one cat. I still live with the same partner and cat.
since that time:
my company was absorbed into a larger company, bent on making a bleeding edge product that would have achieved my goals and then some. It collapsed due to a shoddy partner who embezzled our funds then left the country.
we moved house 6 times. twice by choice.
we went to the USA, my family loved my partner, we spent a very grown up week at Disneyland going on every single ride then a few very adult days at mardi gras.
we acquired 3 other cats, one was a traveling salesman who stayed with us for a short time, one sadly disappeared and the other is sleeping in the bedroom right now.
Due to the failing IT market I had to go back into adult web development, further fostering my dislike of porn.
I went from job to job, working at different IT companies, as a web designer, flash developer, project manager, account manager and back to project management again.
I should have taken the periods of unemployment and the miserable jobs as a sign that I was meant to do something more with my life, but, as ever, I was wedded to the concept of money and corporate ladders.
I stopped painting and drawing. except for charts and random phone doodles. I stopped seeing beauty in everything.
I finally got an excellent job with people I really liked. it was the most demanding project management work I had ever had with difficult hours, a seemingly impossible series of projects and a chance to prove myself. finally people were looking past my age and gender.
I got married! it was still the most successful project I’ve ever completed, on time, under budget and perfect in every detail. it was the perfect wedding, capped off by the perfect honeymoon. two weeks in luxury in Singapore. I married my long term partner and best friend and am still falling in love with him every day.
I should have taken the hint that I didn’t want to return to my work as a sign that there was something else out there. but this was the perfect job for me right? it was setting me back on track I just obviously didn’t know what I wanted.
we found a house to buy. the night we received the approval for the loan, the night our lives finally came together was the night a set of lights at a difficult intersection failed and we were T-boned by a heavily speeding car.
unable to return to work, I missed the end of the project I had been working on and sank into depression as the pain that was supposed to dissipate continued. and continued. the work piled up and I had to leave my job when it looked like I might have a long recovery ahead of me.
bored out of my brain and senseless with the pain I took out my old materials and started to paint.
and the pain, that was forever there, suddenly stopped it’s urgent hammering on my senses.
and something inside me let go. and I painted my pain, and I painted figures and I celebrated color, and tone and the sheer joy that creation brings. where my paintings had always been technically good before now there was a spirit to them that had been lacking, an emotion and creativity rather than just a depiction.
I started Seeing again. seeing beauty and light and shadow in the world around me.
as the pain continued and we sought the help of specialists, we received a diagnosis and a prognosis of a permanent condition with a chance of degeneration.
I did research and discovered ways to ameliorate the degeneration and even increase my limited mobility. I started my own regime of building myself back up. I decided I wasn’t going to let myself drown in the pain and instead use it to make a new life for myself.
I decided that if I could never work a desk job again that I was free to pursue my art.
I turned to the internet once again, the lifeline, to learn how to be a successful artist.