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A Migraine Self Portrait for Chronic Migraine Awareness #MHAM

June is National Migraine Awareness Month, and June 29th is specifically set aside for Chronic Migraine Awareness. (We even get our own ribbon! Pretty cool.)

So in honor of that, I thought I’d post a couple acrylic pieces I painted recently about living with Chronic Migraine. Many times, writing aggravates the pain, so art becomes the only way I can express myself.

I painted this late one night when I couldn’t fall asleep. I have so many creative ideas, so many big colorful paintings and stories swirling in my brain, but I feel like only a small portion can get out from behind this migraine wall. Some days the flow is gushing, some days the flow is barely trickling. On this day, I felt as though my creativity could barely trickle out.

A lot of living with Chronic Migraine is learning how to be creative despite the wall and how to both be content with whatever escapes and yet always try coax out more in a kind way that doesn’t shut everything down.

IMG_1770This one is a self-portrait. Don’t laugh. I know it’s off. But, it’s also supposed to be off. I wanted to show how an aura can begin to warp your vision. How it can warp me.

When I feel great, I’m an raging extravert with too many words. When there’s pain, I turn into a perfect introvert. When I’m healthy, I love running and being a Colorado outdoor poster child and my hair turns blonde. When my body’s unhealthy, walking across a room feels like a marathon and my hair turns borderline brown. Normally, I’m not a pet person (they kind of creep me out). Now, we’re getting our own fluffy nugget in 6 days because I need somebody to stay with me through the pain.

Migraines change me. They warp me.

But as I’m writing this post, I’m realizing this painting really is a self portrait. This is what I look like now. Maybe I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. Who is? Instead of dividing myself into a before and after, maybe living with Chronic Migraine means accepting who I am now and learning to live with myself as a whole–the entirety of a self-portrait.

IMG_1771Though, gosh darn it, if I really miss being blonde that much, I could always dye my hair.

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