I’m strange - everybody is strange. At Artesana Cositas Curiosas we celebrate the strange. We believe in the magic of storytelling and its power to make the world a better place.
As a child I loved to draw and color and make up stories and songs. I was an outside kid. Playing in the dirt, running around, swinging as high as I could go and then jumping off, and climbing trees pretending it was my fort. As I got older I began to craft things out of paper and other things laying around the house. At the core of everything was my imagination.
Trying to Find My Way
In school when teachers would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up, I never really had an answer. I felt like I needed to be a teacher, lawyer, doctor, or something along those lines. It never occurred to me that a person could make a career out of being creative. In college I changed majors several times. From English to Computer Science, to History. And the strange part is that I was an excellent student in all the subjects, making the Deans list or Presidents list every semester but nothing ever seemed right. I took courses in almost all the subjects that were available. After 12 years of going to college off and on, getting married and starting a family, and working a full time job I decided I was done with higher education. I left college permanently with a “well rounded” education and an associates degree. I worked for a local business, did corporate management, and then at the age of 42 became a business owner. Things were ALMOST where I wanted them to be. At Artesana Embroidery and Screen Printing I would fulfill other people’s wishes. Embroidering their business logos or printing T-shirts for local groups. I had to put my dream of creating my own things to the side and focus on growing my business.
A Life-changing Year
Like most people in the world, 2020 was a terrible year. I was lucky that my business was doing well considering the state of the world. Then, in May, my father died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was destroyed. I fell into a state of depression. I threw myself into my work so my mind wouldn’t have time to think about the sadness living within me. My physical health also started to decline. I was exhausted everyday. Then in January of 2021 I tested positive for COVID. Little did I know it was the beginning of a new chapter of my life. I didn’t have the usual COVID symptoms. Instead, I was lightheaded and dizzy. I had poor balance and heart palpitations. I felt numbness in my arms and legs. My anxiety worsened and turned into complete desperation and irrational fear. I had extreme fatigue and and a feeling of disassociation. I became unable to function in daily life. This meant I couldn’t work or let alone drive. I saw doctors who didn’t know what i had. All they knew for sure was that I wasn’t in immediate danger. I went to the emergency room twice and after blood work and CT scans was told the same. We don’t know what you have but you’re not dying. But, I felt like I was dying. I was finally referred to a psychiatrist and a neurologist. I was able to see the psychiatrist first and I was eventually diagnosed with OCD and depression. I started medication in April. By the end of April I made the decision to close down my shop as I couldn’t afford to keep paying the rent there. It was a sad day when everything was moved out. I felt like I had not only let my family down, but also myself. A few months later I finally saw the neurologist who requested an MRI of the brain. The results were inconclusive. And I was told to just keep living my life.
A Glimpse of Light
It was early June when my medication really started to make a difference in my life. I started to go for walks around my neighborhood. I really took notice of the trees, flowers, and birds around me. And on rainy days I saw the snails crossing my path, the bees drinking from small puddles, and the mushrooms growing in the neighbors yard. Then, in what seemed miraculous to me I started to sing to myself and think creatively again. I had a sense of happiness that had been missing for months. I started drawing again. Coming up with ideas for T-shirts. I reached out to my friends, Jen and Vero at JZD, and told them about a design I created. At the time I was still physically unable to print the shirts myself. They said they would print them and sell them on their website so I could get myself back on my feet. Even though I greatly appreciated the gesture I was sad that I wasn’t capable of doing it on my own. I wished I was well, wished I could do it myself, wished I was healthier and stronger than my body and mind allowed. Then, one day I wished my alter ego into existence, (Well in my mind anyway). Mary Jane “Scout” Ladina, a wonderful fox girl, would help me become the creator I wanted to be. She’s strong, independent, strong willed, and an adventurer. She would help lead me out of my darkness. And so I started creating again. Finding happiness again. Imagining again.