Connie’s Story

Writing and drawing began by age six; as confidantes.
Middle and High School art class were safe-secret harbors.

In College home was where she had always been; in art.
Today, art is living experience.

I wrote in order to breath.  Writing letters to myself,  I taped them underneath my clothes; next to my body.  I then tore them to bits and dumped them in alleyways.

I lived with the aftermath of rape, molestation, psychological torture and abuse; believing I was nothing more than property. Writing and drawing held my dreams as well as my terror; my survival.

At 33 I found my person! I say I was born in my 30’s. Leaving the idea that I was property behind.

“When did you become a real person!” she exclaimed clenching my artist statement with her fist.  With tears in both our eyes, we hugged, and then she went about her way.

In 2008, two weeks after becoming officially engaged, I was diagnosed with cancer.  My doctor stared at me with tears as she said, “Connie, you are the last person I want to have to say this too; after what you have been through. . . you have cancer.”  Well, I beat cancer.

In 2014, a mass discovered.  Thankfully, a benign tumor the size of a large orange impinging on my kidney and intestine.

September 2015 I was completely paralyzed and found myself in the middle of a new norm of a then otherwise idiopathic auto-immune, neuromuscular disease, now NMO. With rehabilitation, I regained only to lose again in a cycle of hope and grief.

Today, after relocating to North Carolina, I have a most awesome medical team. The progression of my disease is stabilizing, and I continue to adapt this beautiful life I get to live.

It has been quite a journey learning to speak up and advocate for my needs. Like others, over the years, I found myself dismissed medically because of my past experience of abuse and violence.

I didn’t understand. I was proud of my life. Where they saw weakness, I saw strength. It took a couple of years to find that tumor. Why? Because I was told things like, “you must not realize you are constipated. . . . you know people with trauma have phantom pains. . . . ” All the while a tumor was growing.

What I know, is that I just kept going. I kept asking God to walk with me, and leaning on my friends and family; getting to practice asking for help; owning my anger, fear, frustrations, and triumphs.

Choosing to see the gift in adaptation of process and life. Wheelchairs walk; utensils write and draw; friends and family share the load; husband sands and builds.

At any given moment you will find me either in the the studio or out in the landscape.  I find no safer place than immersed in my work.  My goals remain the same; only the mechanics and tools I use have changed.

I stand before you naked, for it is there I can be most useful. There is no, one story within my work.  Line quality is created out of experience. Composition emerges as the woven motions of a heart’s beat.

There is always more to tell. . .
We each are rich in story. . .
We are more alike than we are different

Through art and poetry, I educate and speak publicly on topics relating to art as vocation, rape/abuse/violence, adapting/disability advocacy, and the practice Lectio/Visio Divina Meditation; all through the sense-lens of image and word. My goal, to empower and connect people through art and the creative process.

Paint much love, always,
Connie Karleta Sales
a.k.a. This Crooked Little Flower

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. – Hafiz

Art ~ Poetry ~ Life
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