• Miss E

My painting muscles hurt.


As a full time artist (who holds down five casual jobs on the side) my body is struggling to keep up with my artistic pursuits. It's not like I'm running marathons, building giant concrete sculptures or drawing aerobically - we're talking 30x30cm boards here. You'd think there wouldn't be that much physical strain involved.

Crickey - how I wish that were true! Before I realised how physically crippling art making could be, I used to push myself harder and try to work through the pain. To get to the gain, ya know? Everybody does it. At this point I was taking my body for granted. Expecting it to keep up, getting angry with it when it failed to perform. It got to the point where I could no longer paint or draw at all because my neck, arms and back were in so much pain every time I sat down at the drawing board.


Not seriously recognising my aches and pains as an issue, I gradually developed persistent and bloody awful headaches. Like, brain-crunching-can't-function headaches. Me being the big ol' stupid head over here, didn't realise it was muscle related. So let's skip the part where I visit every specialist on the planet for about 12 months before someone realises I need to see a physiotherapist. Not a fucking neurologist. Morons. Anyway, suddenly I'm seeing a myotherapist every other week, constantly going to yoga/pilates, using a heat-pack every day and buying expensive ergonomic furniture. Yippee, hooray! Things started to get better.

"brain-crunching-can't-function headaches"

Here I am, about two years after getting my shit together. I now only have to see the myotherapist every second month (which is a big deal for me), happily go to the gym and barely ever get muscle tension headaches. Having completely changed my daily routine, can I just say that I'm totally nailing this new approach. I work in 45 minute blocks, never painting or sitting at my computer for longer than that. I paint; then get up and do the dishes. I work at the computer; then go for a walk. And so on and so forth. Until suddenly the day has passed and all I've done is TOTALLY FUCKING CONQUERED EVERYTHING. Boo-yah. So friend, don't be dismayed if you're body is misbehaving. Your soul-carrying-meat-sack is here to help. It took me a damn long time to realise it wasn't working against me, I was working against it. And as soon as I started working with it, things got a whole lot easier. Everything is rainbows and butterflies now! ...well, almost. Today I've actually had the worst shoulder/neck crisis I've had in a while and haven't been able to paint much. Hence the blog post. Forced to sacrifice productivity, I've turned to Orange Is The New Black to make me feel good about life. Tomorrow is a new day, and sometimes the old bag-o-bones needs a bit of extra rest and Netflix. (Not to be confused with Netflix and chill.) Anyone else out there struggle to work with their body? I say we all get cybernetic upgrades and vanquish our human weaknesses.


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