Good morning everyone. Something has been bothering me the past couple weeks... and maybe it's because November holds some hard memories for me. But I woke up this morning at 4AM out of a sound sleep with my mind racing. And I knew it was time for this all to be said. I don't know why, it just feels like if I don't something bad will happen.
People ask me, day to day, about my art. I get notes, emails, Facebook messages. All about why I do so many repaints of Doctor Who photography and of the actors. 'You are really good!' they tell me. 'But why is it all Doctor Who? Why don't you do other stuff?'
My family often asks why, with my talents, I've decided I want to work for Doctor Who only and no one else. Usually I just say 'It's cool! - It's a fantastic show with awesome people and I want to be a part of that.' But for the first time I think I'm ready to really say why.
I am 23. I've lived with my mom my entire life, the only woman who has fully accepted me. Why? Because the truth is I'm not perfect, as no one is. On the outside I appear happy and pleasant and perfectly normal. On the inside I fight with social anxiety disorder, manic depression, borderline personality disorder, autism, attention deficit disorder, mild obsessive compulsive disorder and a few other issues. I never have, and probably never will, know who I really am. These disabilities rule my life no matter how many medications I take or try.
Now you probably think, as many have, that this means I'm weird or crazy. But in all actuality I'm just a normal girl unable to function in society. I have had therapists since I was four-years-old and have been trained to the best of their ability to cope with my life. I am, I like to think, just like everyone else. I have friends whom I love, family who takes care of me as much as I do them, and supportive fellow artists and fans. While I only leave the house once or twice a month for groceries and to visit a friend or two, I try to get out more.
And the reason I tell you this is because... there was a time I wasn't just a normal girl with many crippling disorders. There was a time I DIDN'T try, because life just seemed so pointless. When you have disabilities like mine and have constantly heard from therapists, doctors and specialists that you will never be able to function or do normal things and the best they could hope for was me to 'be able to cope' (and not to stop trying) you just lose all sight.
It didn't matter that I was great at art or writing or photography or makeup. It didn't matter that I'd spent all my life learning everything I could just to try to find somewhere I fit in. I taught myself the dewy decimal system, web design, html coding, how to sew, how to use Photoshop, SAI, how to take photography and paint and write and draw... I learn because it's all I can do. It makes me feel a little less worthless in a world that I can barely walk out my own front door, let alone try to work or go to school (and believe me, I still try time and time again).
A couple years ago I was at my lowest. I lost my job in September 2010 at a Celebration! Cinema, unable to handle the social interaction (although I tried so hard and managed to make it a month before the break down). I was forced to move home in January 2011 and in April I lost my boyfriend of four years. I also lost a couple family members and what few people I liked to think were friends because I couldn't bring myself to leave the house anymore. I was, in all honesty, incapable of much more than what living required. Over the summer I began sleeping more and more. I began to eat less, talk less, do less.
And by November of 2011 I was sleeping 16 hours a day, unable to eat, unable to handle even having my own family around. I didn't talk, I didn't leave my room, I just laid in bed and sometimes got on a website called Mugglespace which is now, sadly, gone. I made my closest friends there. But mid-November, after months of falling deeper and deeper into this dark hole I just... stopped. I stopped everything. And I was ready to end it all.
I knew, know, far too much about how to commit proper suicide because having a mother who's worked in hospitals all her life means you hear things, learn things that most people don't know. And I was ready to take that knowledge and just... run. I wanted to just end it all. I was tired of crying for what hours I was awake, tired of hating myself and everyone around me (for being able to do all I could not), and most of all tired of feeling alone and worthless.
At some point an email had gone through asking for people's names and addresses on Mugglespace because they were planning a meet up and would mail the information the following month. Weeks earlier I had confessed to strangers on Mugglespace, in a chat room, that I was planning on committing suicide. Strangers who were willing to listen even though they didn't know me. Willing me to not give up because I would get better someday, it all would. But I didn't believe them because I just hurt too much.
And then one day, sometime in February of 2012 an envelope came for me in the post. There was no return address, nothing telling me where it had originally come from. Just my name and address scrawled across the front of this yellow envelope. I opened it up and found a single DVD. It was blue and had a picture of some guy in a straw hat. It had nothing written on it just the picture (it was very clearly, or is now, a ripped and self burned copy). I put it in my DVD player and sat down to watch out of curiosity.
I watched Doctor Who for the first time that day. My very first episode, Vincent and the Doctor. Someone had sent me this trying to tell me it was all going to be okay. And I watched Vincent suffer with depression, be an outcast in his community. I saw an artist struggling just to exist. I watched two kind people wanting to help him but unsure really how. And then it happened. The moment Amy Pond realizes Vincent still committed suicide and feeling as if it was all for nothing.
And then the quote that changed my life, 'The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things, and make them unimportant."
At that moment I broke down. I cried. And I cried for hours hearing those words echoing back at me over and over. And it was in that moment I stopped to think. Life was hard, life was painful. And just like Vincent I struggled with the same dark feelings inside. And then I replayed that single episode on that single DVD, over and over. And each time I watched Vincent, and each time I saw how badly the Doctor wanted to help, and how heartbroken Amy was at knowing Vincent had committed and felt she hadn't done enough. I knew.
My life was filled with a lot of bad things. But I had had many good times with many people I had loved at one time or another. And I wanted to keep adding to my pile of good things, even if that meant I still had to deal with more bad. Vincent was right, we are lucky to be alive and see this beautiful world. And I watched that disk over and over for many weeks to come, every day chanting and hearing Matt Smith's voice in my head. Thinking of Vincent and how similarly we struggled. Seeing and hearing Amy's heart break at not having been able to help him.
Later I received the whole Doctor Who Complete 5th Series and after four months... I was on my road to recovery. I was sleeping less and less. I went back to my art and practicing and practicing painting Doctor Who. I began talking to old friends and making new friends. I started leaving the house to go to the library and look for Doctor Who books (which I was pleased to discover there were many).
The following months were filled with Doctor Who and art and weaning myself back into society. Doctor Who saved my life. Whoever sent me that disk never did come forward, but I owe my life to them too. I owe them my thanks and my compassion because if they had not sent me that home burned copy of that one episode I would not be here today.
Since my recovery of that time I have never wanted anything more than to meet Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Tony Curran and Richard Curtis in person. Just once I want to be able to tell them how much their performance/story touched me, reached me when no one else could. While the Doctor, Amy and Vincent may only be characters in a silly television show... they are more than that to me. My life is still lived with that episode in my mind and in my heart. Because I still struggle every day with those same dark thoughts and feelings and when it starts to get too much I put in my DVDs and watch that episode.
And that is why I paint Doctor Who. That is why I will forever paint Doctor Who. That is why I dream of traveling across the pond and somehow working for Doctor Who, with them, any way I can. Because for the first time Doctor Who gave me a goal in life, they gave me hope and they gave me my life back. So I know that I paint a lot of Doctor Who, and I know there are many amazing fandoms, and I will be happy to someday attempt to paint many of them. But for now, and for always, Doctor Who will be what I paint and follow until I die.
And I pray, that if/when I go to SDCC in 2014 I can meet Matt or Karen or Tony there. And I pray I can find the words, the simple words to just express my thank you. And I want to hold my head high and not cry and just greet them like any normal person. And if they ever read this I want them to know, and the person who sent me that disk, I wouldn't be here today without you. I fight my inner demons and I keep trying because if the Doctor were real, if Amy were real... they'd want me to. And for me... that's all I have to hold onto. You all saved me when I couldn't save myself. Thank you. Just... thank you.
(And just so everyone knows I'm probably the worst fangirl ever as I don't follow celebrity news or pay attention to what the actors do in their lives because I could kind of care less about gossip or rumors as I have a life of my own to live... I still count myself as a Whovian though! And can I just now take the time to ask people to stop spamming me with 'did you know so-and-so did this' or 'so-and-so dated whomever'? Seriously, I could care less. They're incredibly over-talented people with bad ass jobs but can we not flood my inboxes with worthless info I'll never use? My brain needs knowledge not gossip. Seriously I didn't even know David Tennant was married until a week ago. Yeah, definitely a bad fangirl...)
So I hope in the future before anyone sends me emails or notes asking if I could branch out and do something 'new' or 'fresh' that you take the time to think of this first. Because without Doctor Who... my paintings would never have existed at all. And to everyone who has supported me, supported my decision to do Doctor Who art... Thank you. You are all the very, very best. And while I can't always thank each and every individual person who favorites my work each one keeps me going.
Thank you everyone,