45 Year Old Artist With Multiple Disabilities Seeks Grant To Get Her Real Life Back
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)
As I am
I'm a 45-year-old woman with several different disabilities, and I'm seeking a grant to be able to live as I develop my crafting and writing to a point where they are good enough for me to live on.
I've sold much of my beadwork over the 30 years since I started making it. I am quite good at it. I'm also a gifted poet and writer.
I'm an artist in many media… I sing, design and make beaded jewelry, write, and paint. I am also an avid activist, and have organized events for Eve Ensler's global grassroots non-profit, VDAY.
I brought VDAY to my school, organized and produced three annual events there, and am considered one of their star organizers. I became involved with this organization to empower myself and other women to act, with love, on behalf of themselves and one another.
I have several disabilities, mostly of an autoimmune nature:
- osteoarthritis in my neck, lower back, both hips and both shoulders
- plaque psoriasis that leaves me susceptible to infection
- spondyloarthropathy, which is an autoimmune condition affecting the spine
- degenerative disc disease
- clinical depression.
I've had the psoriasis most of my life and it has put me in the hospital several times. The other conditions have developed slowly over the course of my life. I was recently deemed disabled by the California Department of Rehabilitation.
I recently graduated, BA in psychology, with the intention of going on to an MFA program. I was accepted at CalArts!
Because of the economy, I was unable to get the last bit of tuition, so I've decided against an advanced degree, even though it seemed the only way I'd ever be able to make enough money to pay off my student loans.
These conditions have begun to make my life almost unlivable. I can do fewer and fewer kinds of work. I'm in more pain, discomfort, and despair more of the time because of the stress I seem to constantly be under.
It's all I can do to keep a roof over my head and try and eat food that supports my health. Because of the psoriasis, there are very few medications I can even take, as they generally have negative effects on the liver. Liver damage can greatly exacerbate psoriasis.
Several months ago, my back locked so badly I was admitted to the hospital for three days. I cannot afford insurance, and have been denied disability benefits twice.
It's now gotten to the point where I am home most of the time, looking for any kind of work I can find that I could conceivably do without causing myself further harm.
It would be simply amazing to have a grant on which I can live for even a year while I catch up and try and salvage the health I seem to be losing on a daily basis because of the stress of all of this.
I'd love to have a place with a kitchen as a balanced and healthful diet can really aid in slowing down the damage done by my many conditions.
I was a recipient of food stamps and general relief for a few months last year, as I looked and looked for work. Those benefits were terminated though, when for a few months, I made too much money in a temp job to qualify anymore, but not enough to save.
I am signed up with a company to write yelp reviews occasionally, and I occasionally do some Internet research and simple image editing for a Web developer. I temp for a convention-staffing agency once in a while, and register conventioneers.
I have built myself an online store where I am attempting to sell the beaded jewelry I make. I work a little once in a while with another jewelry designer and we collaborate some, but it barely brings in anything.
I have a very real need to be availed of SSI, SSDI, Medi-Cal or something like it, and any grant for disabled women artists.
I have memoirs and poetry to write, works of art and craft to create, and countless tons of compassion and love and energy and talent and time and mentoring to give.
These are things I might be able to do to support myself at least to a small degree. I very much need someone to see me, see my talents and my value and make an investment in me. I'm worth it. ☺