I spend an awful lot of time in my head. This is probably why I struggle with my own mental health so much but it leads me to question how my mind works. Recently I have wanted to discuss a range of things that have been on my mind because discussing mental health is the first step to helping yourself while sometimes showing others they are not alone. I have wanted to be open and honest not only to myself but those who see me as an individual and an artist.
My latest art project is still in the stages of being planned but the message behind that project has become even more relevant in my day to day life. I refer to this problem as my minds ammunition. I have a problem where I seek negative comments and articles that may have some relation to me. I digest those comments and words and then apply them to my own situation.
This is incredibly self destructive behaviour but by acknowledging it I can try and prevent it. This speaks to as why this art project is important which leads me onto the first topic of conversation.
I built up Messy Miscreation in 2016 with the help of the Princes Trust and during this time you are taught as much business as you can take in. My goal with Messy Miscreation has always been to make enough money to support myself so that I can continue to create even more. Since starting my business I have been bombarded with advice from emotional spending triggers and how to convince someone to buy something they don’t want or need. That’s business right? For me? No.
I consider art to be inaccessible to a majority of the public. The communication between the public and the artist often lies in the artwork itself. Throughout this past year I have pushed to be more open and active on social media about my work and myself. In turn I have got exhibitions, shows, talks and I strongly believe by being open I have created these opportunities. I want to break that barrier between artist and the viewer and I will continue to combine my art accounts with my personal life because they are the same thing.
I bring this up because it has been questioned multiple times to wouldn’t my business be more successful if I didn’t tell people about how I was feeling. It probably would but by lying about it I completely disregard what my work stands for. Comments like these add to a already heaving pile of ammunition I can use against myself from the moment I wake up to when I go to sleep.
This leads me to my final topic of discussion. At the time of writing this I am a 25 year old autistic man and I have never been employed long term. This stems from a background of mental health issues, self doubt and many other things. I started my own business once I pulled myself together but my autism diagnosis unearthed new challenges. This has become relevant as during the summer I made a leap of faith.
Since July I have moved away from home for the first time in my life. I have the love and support of my girlfriend behind me here in Manchester but the plan was to get part time work to help support us while being able to continue working on my artist career. Now in October I’m seeing the scale of this endeavour is becoming increasingly heavy on both of us. Three years of volunteering at Oxfam and a range of experience has proven not to be enough to help me secure work. I even question if being autistic is part of the problem.
Now I’m in this situation it is apparent why so many in my position struggle, especially those on the spectrum. You can’t be honest with your employer that you are autistic. You have to leave that one quietly to the side until you get the job. Don’t read this as me complaining that I’m entitled to a job. I understand I have to work to get what I want but I what I want to highlight is that its tough to even get to the first stage of an interview when you have to explain yourself.
I have to tell employers what I have been doing with my life as I’m 25 and jobless. That has been part of my minds ammunition but its a massive cannon loaded straight at my self worth. Depression is incredibly easy to sink into during these times and I’m aware that its happening around me. All I can do is my best to stay afloat and to keep going. All I have ever done is tried my best and that won’t always be enough, I’m aware of that fact.
This isn’t a rant of a defeated man but a man who wants to take some weight off his shoulders and be honest. I’m having a hard time currently and I’m not afraid to say it. Things will work out eventually and the only way it can happen is if I keep pushing. This upcoming project becomes more important to me as each day passes and I can feel the statements I hold dear getting to me.
I’m in the best possible position I could be right now with my girlfriends support and it keeps me going. I have the support of all of you out there in the world of social media wishing me the best and supporting the crazy creations I share with the world. It’s truly a bizarre feeling.
Hopefully next time we speak things will be better. If you read all the way to the bottom of this, thank you kindly. It’s people like you who keep me going and keep this dream alive. I’m excited to share my future art plans with you all really soon.