Tag Archives: Heathers Tangled Art

My story.

Girl

It was suggested to me by a long time reader that allowing my story to be told might help reach others. I have hesitated doing this is the past because I just felt the details were not really important. That said? I do agree with this reader and have decided to share some of my story (minus the nitty-gritty) with you today. I do hope it helps you understand me better and I hope it reaches some of you so that you know that you are not alone in this fight for your survival.
I am going to leave my siblings out of this story because I do not feel it is fair to assume how they felt or what they went through personally. If there is a day that the ones still living wish to share with you? I’d happily post it.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a princess.
Scratch that. This is no fairy tale. 😉

I was born at the beginning of 1970 in a winter storm. A fitting beginning for the life that would follow. A winter storm of sorts that lasted decades.
I was born to a family that was quite wealthy and had every available support to raise a child as easily as possible. From other family members, I have been told about how my father was thrilled by my birth but my mother hated me from day one. Probably long before day one in reality. I am sure she viewed her pregnancy as a real inconvenience.

My beginning could have been a good one but right from the very start of my life here on this earth, my mother would begin making choices that would seal my fate and my father would not do anything to stop her.
Their first decision? My name.
Heather was the name of a girl whom my father and mother hated. She’d chased my father around and my mother hated her for it. This is the person whom I was named after. Someone they hated.

I have a few memories of my early childhood but none are good. From 0-4, all I recall is being afraid. Many years ago my grandmothers both told me stories of how I was left in filth and ignored while my father was at work. I was also told that I would scream and beg others to take me with them as they left our house or begged babysitters to keep me. That is just not normal behaviour for a young child. Wanting to leave with anyone rather than staying home with their mother.

Starting at age 4, I was given a gift of new underwear for my birthday. Not the best gift for a 4-year-old but they were a tiny hint as to what that birthday would mean. I would be sold to men who liked little girls and my hair was cut so short that I also looked like a boy and could satisfy men who liked boys as well. This was not a rare occurrence. It was done as often as there was demand and there was ALWAYS a demand.

It was also around this time that I learned to mistrust what people said vs. what they actually did. My mother could be the sweetest, kindest, most gregarious person to anyone on the outside but then a monster behind closed doors. It was her perfect “outside face” that allowed others to believe that she was trying her best but that I was a child with some real issues. She convinced therapists, social workers, a child psychiatrist, doctors, teachers and strangers that the problem was set squarely on my own shoulders. I was the one who hurt myself and then lied with crazy stories to cover it all up. This lasted for my entire life with her. It still goes on to this day! She is perfect while I have mental illnesses.

There was a lot of sexual and physical abuse but even worse than that was the sadistic nature of the emotional abuse. I was made to believe that I was only sold to men (and some women) because I liked it and caused it to happen. If there were bruises or broken bones? I had obviously done something to deserve that. If I got ill. that was my fault too. That woman (my mother) made sure that my self-esteem was now only low but non-existent. I felt less than human and not truly worthy of any kindness. This is the part of her abuse that is the hardest to get over or heal from. I feel like I am worthy and then someone talks about me or doesn’t like me and I am plunged deeply right back in to feeling absolutely worthless. My brain knows that I am a good person, that I give a lot of myself to helping others, that I am smart, and have a lot going for me but my heart still says “You don’t deserve any of it and you are just as worthless as you always were”.

I did try to speak out and I tried to reach for help but these efforts were always met with my mothers wrath. I recall being made to eat a “poop” hot-dog in a bun. If I was going to spread “filthy lies”, I was going to eat filth as well. After a certain number of times where I reached out to ask for help and having that come back at me with a vengeance, I gave up. I still find it hard today to speak up about it because my automatic feeling that accompanies this openness is fear.

There are so many details and situations that I could discuss but I am sure you get the idea by now? It wasn’t just a hard life. It was a life filled with monsters that never hid under my bed. They just stayed out in the open and did as they wished with me as often as they wished it. I many ways this abuse started before I was born and still continues today. 46 years of situations and stories that would make your blood curdle.
If you read my list of Helpers from last week, there are a few more details of which Helpers came in to being and when/why.

I wish I could say that I grew up, moved away and never had to deal with my mother again but I moved 3,500kms to get away from her and 2 months later, she was living 1km down the street from me in her newly purchased home.
I have not spoken to her in over 11 years yet she still speaks about me in public to anyone who will lend her an ear. She tells them lies and makes me look horrible. We live in a very small community and there are many people who have never even met me whom hate me with passion. I’ve been called a liar, a bitch, a whore, a selfish daughter and worse by these people who just believe the words my mother shares. Supposed grownups and mostly “church friends” of my mothers. I really try hard not to let it bother me but she has even gotten to my own children and 2 of my husbands extended family members. The words said under hushed breaths make me want to just run away again and never look back… or just give up and leave this world altogether. It is hard not to taint the good that I have created in my life with that poison. I am only human. It is hard to be hated and even harder to be hated for something you never were.

Sadly it is not only my monster/mother that drags me down like this. My father takes part as well. He is quieter about it but when discussions of how my brother abused me surfaced, it was his voice on the other end of the phone calling me a sociopath. In my heart I know that he believes every word and knows the truth but he is unwilling to face it and it seems that hurting me instead is acceptable to him. I recently cut off all contact with him and I know it was necessary for my future mental health but I feel like a 46 years old orphan who never knew what it was like to have a mom or dad.

I’ve felt very lonely lately. I miss those whom have loved and seen die by suicide due to their PTSD. I ache for my murdered son. My heart has cement poured all over it while my living children find their way home. I really miss the nurse I felt close to while in hospital and the doctor whom I got to know before his sabbatical. Now my current therapist is retiring in a couple of months and I must say goodbye to her as well. I know these supports are not meant to be lifelong friendships and I am good with that but it doesn’t make missing them any easier. These people got me, they understood me, They believed me and truly heard me. They made me a better person. I am just tired and I am trying to find and keep my spark. I will find it again. I have faith in that.

I’ve had some comments about how I do not share negative stories on my blog but I feel that my intentions are perhaps a bit misunderstood. I do not keep things positive because I want people to think life is just all great and I am flying high. I keep it positive because I have dealt with and still deal with more negative in the run of a day that some people experience in a lifetime. By remaining positive myself, I feel like I am adding to the good in the world and that somehow negates some of the bad. It takes a lot of effort on a daily basis to live a good and positive life but I almost always feel that it is worth the effort.

This blog is very important to me. YOU are important to me. When someone says that they heard what they needed to hear or got what they needed to get because of a blog I wrote, it helps me add to the balance of positive in my life. Thank you for that.

If there is more you wish to know, just ask. If it is too personal to be on the blog, I will respond with a private email.
All the best to each of you. ❤

Kind Words CopyHand drawn by Heather. For sale. $20
Buy an 8×10 “Be Gentle”

Believing in what you do.

I had the strangest weekend.
I was in 2 art shows with my Tangled Art and not only did I sell absolutely nothing but most people did not even bother to look at my table.
Considering that my past couple of weeks were tough and I had to make some hard choices, adding a couple of crappy shows to the mix left me wondering why I even bother.
Yeah, yeah… I know. Think positive. 😉
Normally I do but so many “bumps” had knocked me a bit.

So why do I do what I do?
I do both of my ventures (writing this blog and the Tangled Art business) for the exact same reason. I love it. When I am writing in here, I can say what I wish to say, express things that I normally do not have the ability to express, and when all the stars line up perfectly? Get an email or a message saying that I touched someone with what I wrote. Maybe I can even be that one tiny bit of light that someone needs when they are where I was a few short years ago. I recall how dark it was yet that tiny bit of light made all the difference in the world.
My art offers me the same sort of reach in many ways because I like to work off of meaningful quotes and ideals that seem to touch my heart and often the hearts of others.
So I do what I do for love in the end.

Being creative is also an excellent tool to use to improve your mental well-being. Even for those who declare that they can’t do ANYTHING, can often find something that speaks to them and allows the world to quiet down and stop spinning so quickly even for a short time.

So now thanks to a whole weekend of sitting at craft fairs, I am feeling zapped for energy and this blog today will be a tad short. I thought that I would share a few of my favourite new “Tangles” with you as they really mean a lot to me.

Kind Words Copy

Scan Puddles Copy

Angel Paws Copy

Until... Copy

If you are interested in purchasing any of these, just let me know.

To see any other work that I’ve done, feel free to look at…
Heather’s Tangled Art Website

Have a fantastic week!!!!!

Paint how you feel, not how you think.

Earlier today, a fellow artist friend posted on Facebook about how she just couldn’t seem to lift herself out of a funk caused my her SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which many people suffer from to different degrees. My reply to her was based on something that you, my blog followers have taught me over the past 2 years. I will edit my post here only to remove her name.

I know I already said a lot but you touched my heart with this post and as I sat here writing, I thought of something else. I write a mental health blog and almost all of my articles are about how to improve your life, take care of yourself better, get through hard times, grieving, positive thoughts and kindness. Then every once in awhile I am just so out of sorts that my blog ends up being about me and a rough time that I am having. I just end up throwing my guts on the page and paying I lose all my followers for it.
You know something though… those are the blogs that get the most response and are so often met with “I thought I was alone.”, “It is so nice to know someone else understands.”, “You have no idea how much I needed to hear this.”, I’ve even had some say that I saved their life because I showed that someone who looks like they have it all together can really fall apart.
It is in our most vulnerable that we touch someones heart. Perhaps you need to paint how you feel rather than paint what others expect. Maybe your paint needs to have a foggy, rainy, shitty day. Perhaps there are dark clouds and menacing looking skies. The houses might not look so bright and the boats may be nearly toppling over in stormy seas. Paint how you FEEL and not how you THINK.
I bet that you would really strike others in the heart and you could open a whole new style of painting.
Some days ARE beautiful, bright, green and gorgeous. Others aren’t. Why not do and sell both?
Love you bunches my friend and I am here for you. I’ve lived in those dark places for many years and I understand the struggles. I give you this advice based on what has worked in my own life.
Go ahead and paint how you feel. I’ll buy it.

It is YOU, my blog readers whom have taught me this lesson and I felt it was good not only to share this post with you but to also talk about the concept a wee bit more.

It is not only artists and writers that have these days. Red, orange, bright blue and green paint can symbolize any of our lives. There are days when everything is so beautiful and bright and then there are days when the blacks, browns and deep greys take over. That happy sunny yellow can suddenly turn to a gross murky baby poop green and our good mood is gone.
There are times in our lives where it may be much more than a day or a week, I had dark days for almost 2 decades before the sun shone on me again.
Very few people knew that about me though. I had the brightest smile and there was colour everywhere. Bright, cheerful, happy, fun colour. I used it to paint over the darkness that I felt and in the process, I found myself very alone because I did not allow others to see my struggle. I know many people that pull off an equally trustworthy and convincing ruse.

Who do we hurt when we hide our darkness? Ourselves? Well certainly ourselves but we hurt others as well. By not allowing our true colours to show, we do not often allow them to show their true colours either.
It is only when we allow others to see that our brightly painted and cheerful exterior actually has darkness behind it that we allow them to show their darkness too.

You’d think this would be depressing right? Actually is not.
Allowing others to see the real you and the real colours in your life at that time allows for others to feel heard and understood. This only benefits everyone around you. In my opinion, the ones that hush you and do not want to see your true colours are the ones that are still afraid of their own darkness.

It does not make you strong to be perfect or happy all the time. It takes far more strength to show others that you are not that way all the time. Rather than saying you are fine every single time someone asks, maybe a little truth wouldn’t hurt? I mean really, who is fine ALL the time?
And by being fine all the time? Who do you think will ever want to share their true feelings with you? They assume you could never understand a bad day. I rarely share anything real or under the surface with people whom never share with me.

So my friends…
Paint with yellows, bright blues, greens, reds and oranges on those bright, beautiful clear sky days and paint with those dark blues, deep purples, heavier shades of otherwise “perky” colours when the yucky days show themselves. Having both is not only human but it is what makes you real to others. It is also what turns you and your life in to a splendid rainbow for all of those around you to enjoy.

real-rainbow-rain-dark-clouds-wallpaper

Blessings and Curses

Welcome to 2016 everyone! I know I wrote a 2016 post but I also took a week off from blogging. It was really nice and it helped me just think about some new topics and allow myself to just be creative. Since starting this blog, I’ve never taken a week off and considering how often I tell you all to take time for yourselves….. 😉

First may I say how happy I am that Christmas is over? I know from all the emails, shares and comments to my “Trauma and Christmas” post that I am absolutely not alone. It is nice to feel less alone but also sad to know so many of us find Christmas as well as many other holidays very difficult.
Are you okay now?
Did you manage to find ways to take care of yourself?
Please just know that you were all in my mind.

This was a really weird Christmas and New Years for me. I was struck how my thoughts and feelings were pointed one way and yet the other way all at the same time. If there is a way to go north AND south in the same moment? I did it over the past 2 weeks.
One situation that came up over and over in my mind was how often the very things that I counted as my blessings were also my curses. Isn’t it strange how the same thing that makes you happy in one moment is also what makes you sad in the next? Do you find that at times?

One example for me this year (and it was a big one)… my kids.
On one side it was so much easier to plan for Christmas. I was able to give my husband a nice gift which never used to happen because we were always so tight to the wire with 3 children. We travelled locally when we felt like it and didn’t need to worry about rushing home to make supper or taking a child to a friend’s house. It was a much cheaper, easier, and for the lack of money only, less stressful.
On the other hand? Not having them around was so hard. There were more tears than I could count and a moment of pure happiness was often followed by incredible grief.

My own biological family is another example. My mother does not like me and never loved me (her exact words) so that counts her out. My father knows about and admitted to ignoring the abuse I suffered only to phone me 3 hours later calling me a sociopath and telling me that calling the cops would be a terrible idea for me. My siblings are either gone to the other side or to a life so filled with alcohol and drugs that they in any way that matters, are really gone too.
I am happy that I found the courage to leave all that behind and begin a life that is so much more positive. The life I have now is a healthy one. That makes me so very happy. I love the life that I have now and I am happier in my own skin than I have been in a long, long time. Probably ever. This is such a HUGE blessing…
… and a curse because even though I KNOW they are not good for me, that they are sick in many ways and I am better off without them in my life? I miss having my own family at Christmas more than any other time of year. Christmas is all about families, memories made now and chatting about memories from years ago. It just makes me really sad.
This year I really grieved too, I just wanted (in all honesty, still want) a mom and dad that loved me. Not MY real parents but I just wonder what it feels like to be taken in to a mothers or fathers arms and know that you are loved and that you are safe without condition. What does it feel like to know that you have parents that love you? It must feel really good. Do people ever adopt 45 year olds? ❤

Then there is my past. What a bang up job people did to make my life hell. My mother was the ringleader but there were hundreds upon hundreds of others that were right in there with her.
I spoke about this a bit in my post “A Beautiful Disaster” but it is worth saying again in my opinion…
Without all that abuse and those memories plus being diagnosed with DID and being treated for PTSD? I wouldn’t have this blog. I wouldn’t have the same compassion for others that I do now. I really “get it” when someone tells me that they had a hard life. I wouldn’t be running a support group and I wouldn’t have my art. All 3 began as a direct result of my past. For as much as my abuse took from me, it also made me who I am now and it is responsible for my livelihood.
I know I’d have a different, maybe better life if it all had not happened but would I appreciate it as much as I do now? I doubt it.

In the end it all goes back to my belief that a situation is rarely what you think it is. Your perception can cloud even the smallest issue and make it feel huge. It can work the other way too. I know when bad things happen, I usually don’t react at all. My perception due to my past is that there are FAR worse things in life.
My issues lately can be seen in a good light, a bad light or both. It is all about the perception that I have that day or that moment.
Maybe that is how life is really supposed to be in the first place?
Good AND bad.
Happy AND sad.
Up, down, AND all around.

We never really need to label events in our life at all because our curses can also be our blessings.

Blessings

Ugly

I’ve been doing craft shows 2-3 times a week now for over a month. It won’t even begin to slow down until December 6th. It’s been a great experience for the most part and I’ve met some lovely people whom I consider new “craft fair” friends. I’ve enjoyed hearing and seeing the public react to my art. For the most part, I am very happy that I took this leap of faith and put myself out there.
3 years ago? ONE fair would have done me in and I’d unlikely even manage that many. Heck, I had trouble getting there as a shopper let alone a vendor!
I’ve made sure to record this accomplishment on my “Accomplishment List”.

This past Saturday I had a new experience.
My mother/monster showed up at a show I was in. My heart sank and my anxiety rose but somehow I retained my composure. Of course I was feeling very uncomfortable but I was able to remain in control. I didn’t dissociate or run away scared.
I did not stay at my table when she came up my aisle but I did that for my own mental health and to avoid putting myself in a negative situation I returned to my seat shortly after she moved on to the next set of vendors.

I watched her continue her journey from vendor to vendor and saw her stop, point at me and proceed to talk nasty to her friends. This is where things changed for me.
In the past this would have REALLY bothered me. I would have gotten upset, felt the need to defend myself and likely fallen in to a deep depression with thoughts of how things would never get better for me. I say that with confidence because I’ve watched myself do it time and again for years.

This time as different.
As I watched her speak, I saw how her face got nasty looking. Her eyes squinted, her nose scrunched up, her brow furrowed, her head almost shook with powerful anger and she was doing her very best to make her point as clear as possible to her mates.
I saw her friends looking over at me in confusion because as my mother spoke so horribly, I sat at my table speaking kindly to shoppers, smiling at people whom I knew and somehow just not fitting in to the picture that was being painted.
Then I saw something else.

Rather than being hurt, intimidated, sad or defensive? I saw her face and it just looked ugly. My mother is not an ugly woman at all and most people would say she’s very attractive but all of her good looks left and were replaced by a pinched, angry, resentful, incredibly ugly face.
All I really felt was shock at seeing how ugly this anger made her and then doing a little scan of my own face, I knew that when people look at me? They never see that ugliness. It felt good to know that.

She decided as a parting gesture that she would tell the person who was in charge of the show that all my work was stolen off the internet and that I was selling copyrighted material. I did not find this out until later but once again, I did not feel defensive or angry. I just felt that ugliness again. This bitter old woman doing her very best to squash my new venture.
It did not work. I’ve had many people watch my work from the first scribbles of an idea up to the finished product and I happily offered pictures of my latest work from beginning to end as well as other crafters that I have done shows with that have watched my pieces take form over the weekends that we’ve been together.
The issue was resolved quickly and once again, I did not feel that crushing weight of being accused unfairly. I felt protected because I can prove that I do my own art at a moments notice. Just give me paper and a pen.
What a GREAT feeling.

DSCN2495 DSCN2496 DSCN2497

I do not see this powerful woman with the ability to ruin me any longer. She’s taken everything that I cared about away from me including my children. I have nothing left to lose that she is able to take. Everything else is up to me and me alone.
In time I can see the tides changing. I believe that others will see the same ugliness that I see and they will avoid her as I do. They will stop believing her lies because my character stands on its own even though it has taken me YEARS to have people see that. I am a kind, loving, and giving person (YAY!! A bit of self-esteem kicking in!). I do not harbour ugliness inside of me.

So it wasn’t a perfect day but it was a powerful one. I handled myself with grace and that means a lot to me.
That monster can do and say whatever she likes. Her ugliness is finally beginning to show and she’s going to be found out. Watch out my monster. I see you for who you really are and soon others will too because YOU are showing it to them.

I KNOW how hard it is when others belittle or demean you especially if it is a supposed friend or a family member. I’ve lived it my WHOLE life. There is only one surefire way to win though. Be the one that radiates a beautiful heart and a kind spirit and let the ones who wish to harm you show their ugliness all on their own.

Karma2

Heather’s Tangled Art – Fall Collection

I’ve decided to do something fun and have a giveaway. I recently completed my fall collection of tangles and wanted to share them here first. 🙂

I will be giving away one signed, 8×10 print of your choice (worldwide shipping included). Each print will not have heathershelpers.org written on it. You can also choose from my earlier collections if you prefer. You can find them here. Heather’s Tangled Art

All you need to do is share this post on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumbler to be entered. If you share it in more than one place, I will enter your name for each share. 🙂
The draw will be one week from today on September 9th.

1

4

7

2

3

6

5

8