Day 182 – I Will Walk Where There Is No Path

Art Apple - Day One Hundred Eighty Two

Six months ago my life changed drastically.

At the time I was working as a software sales consultant. I would read business and strategy books for tips and to keep motivated but my career was unfulfilling and lacking so I picked up a book called Linchpin by Seth Godin – one of my favorite authors. One of the main points I took away from Linchpin was to find ways in your career to not get jaded and always work to be the linchpin of your organization. Although he doesn’t encourage people to up and quit their jobs – that is what I did. I had not read a book like it before. I’d been in jobs that I loved and hated but for the first time I saw my energies were truly being wasted. I craved something more. Since I spent almost 5 years not working at all due to AS, I felt behind my contemporaries and I didn’t think I could catch up – I was at a crossroads.

I had spent the 20 years since receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts ignoring my artistic talent and convincing myself that I really didn’t want to be an artist; that I in fact didn’t want to create. I’m not sure how I pushed this huge part of who I am away for so long but I know now it was fear. I felt I had nothing I could tie the creative process to so I felt very uninspired when I painted. I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough. I was afraid I would not succeed at it. I was afraid of exposing myself to criticism and because of all of this, it just didn’t feel good. On top of that, I was in pain and looking for answers. In the years when I was so sick before starting the anti-TNF’s I spent years in struggle, misdirecton, and never ending pain and fatigue. There was just no room left for me to think of my future; all I was doing was existing and coping. My path appeared to be paved to a future of physical pain, emotional strife, and not much else. They say amazing art can come from deep anger and pain but my spirit and soul want to paint hope and joy. So the art didn’t happen.

And then I felt better, went back to work, and eventually found myself at those crossroads six months ago.

I decided to be my own linchpin and to listen to Emerson:

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Six months ago I started my Apples for AS campaign and with it I found my inspiration. I’m at the half-way mark today and if feels so good to be on the journey, past the crossroads, and blazing a trail!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 182 was created in pen & ink.

11 Replies to “Day 182 – I Will Walk Where There Is No Path”

  1. Hi Jenna!

    Congratulations on your 6 months of apples and thank you for sharing them as well as your thoughts to us. 🙂

    May God continue to bless you and inspire you to paint more apples in the coming days… 😀

  2. Congratulations Jenna! It is a privilege to walk with you as you forge this new trail for AS Awareness. Your cause is admirable, your art inspirational and your determination to create, educate and share daily is remarkable. For years as parents we worked hard to recognize and praise your feelings but today I have to recognize my feelings by sharing with you that you make your mother and me feel SO PROUD. Excelsior! We look forward to following your steps these next six months and onward.

  3. I’ve always thought you’ve walked your own path. Since you were little, you wanted to find your way.
    In your search for answers to your condition, you blazed ahead never giving up and always looking for solutions. You tried so many and when most failed you never gave up searching for and then trying a new one. We watched your pain. It makes my heart sing when I know that your medication now has given you the ability to work and enjoy more normally. It makes my heart sing and sometimes break to hear the responses to your art. Go forward with spirit and love for your cause; we’ll be right behind.

  4. Jenna- happy 6 month anniversary!
    I’ve had several people ask me about my art apple shirt, can’t wait for summer when I’ll be wearing it out and about more.

  5. Congratulations Jenna on reaching this amazing milestone! 6 months of daily artwork and apples is no small feat!
    I think it’s also cool that April first – the beginning of Spondylitis Awareness Month, marks your first step into the 2nd half of your journey ( :

    Looking forward to the next 6 months.
    Elin

  6. Dear Jenna- You are so brave and strong; the work you have been doing for yourself and for AS is truly amazing. I look for your apple every morning, not only because I love how creative you are, and clever- 180 different apples is no easy task- but I also look to you for inspiration; as you travel this road, we do as well. You are taking us all on a journey.
    Thank-you and love.
    Elizabeth

  7. Jenna,

    6 MONTHS?! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Even if you never made another apple, you should be so proud of yourself. Know that you’ve deeply touched my life as well as the lives of so many people and your work has already helped benefit everyone living with AS. Thank you for all your hard work; I am so excited to see what the next 6 months will bring!

    Love,
    Maya

  8. Hi – Congratulations on your 6th month of Apple Art. Your apples are gorgeous, inventive and so well-done – in each of the various media you have chosen. I hope, when the year is up, that you will not forsake your Apple Art, but will continue – at least occasionally – to toss an Apple our way. I walk with RA, and understand your fight.
    Elizabeth

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