This is what the painting looks like now, halfway done.

Throughout my life I have had jobs and living situations fall through or change due to circumstances beyond my control. When something happens to my job or house I am completely vulnerable because if I can’t sleep enough or eat enough emotions and feelings come from inside me, taking over my life and making it impossible for me to function.

When this happens I feel completely overwhelmed and afraid. Sometimes I want to smile but I can’t, and this causes people around me to be upset. Sometimes I start crying because there is too much going on around me. I have always been acutely aware of other people’s emotions and the energy of those around me. Art, music, writing and poetry are the only things that have ever made me feel better. This painting is a plea to the world to please understand that this is the way I am and I have tried over and over to change without being able to do it. I am at the mercy of whatever happens, just like anyone else. My happiness depends on the world, and so does my survival.

If people continue to fight each other and do not find ways of making peace with each other I will not be able to survive. Every time I leave my house I feel assaulted by noise and motion. As I walk down the street people say strange things to me some of which really scares me. Sometimes I am afraid to be by myself for this reason. I can see that the people I pass on the street are miserable and afraid. They will eventually find ways to fight and rise up against the government and society because there are not enough jobs for them.

They take drugs or drink but I wonder if this is just to numb the pain of being outside all the time and not having anyone to take care of them. Because my living situations have been so unstable in my life I understand people that are crazy because they live outside or go hungry. It bothers me that people who have slipped through the cracks for one reason or another are treated badly because I was once in a similar situation and now I am afraid again.

At those times self-destructive thoughts filled my mind. Now I am in a situation that is better and I have avenues for self expression. But I realize how close I came to going completely crazy and I realize that it is because I felt like I had no power over my life and no choice about what happened to me.

Growing up I was told by relatives and school that I had choices and that I could choose what happened to me. A beautiful picture was painted, one where I could choose the way I wanted to live my life. But at times I feel that the reality is that things have not really changed that much and there is no way to have social change just by talking about it. Throughout my life now I am at the mercy of the world and the thoughts and opinions of people. If they do not care about what I have to say I will cease to exist. I can’t change myself in order to please anyone even though I have tried.