When I met John, I was working as a medical social worker in an Infectious Disease unit at a large hospital. I was meeting patients who were learning of their HIV positive status for the first time, running support groups, connecting them with resources, agencies, medications. It was intense, and I loved it. And it weighed heavy on my heart.
I was learning how to set boundaries, to leave work on time, and to not take the anxiety, the questions, and the heartbreak home with me. As I fell in love with John, my heart relaxed as did the burdens I was holding close. I have clear memories of walking the halls of the hospital, responding to the latest emergency, but instead of feeling anxious, I felt light and free. True Love gave me a greater sense of appreciation and perspective and joy and release. I like to think I was a better practitioner (and person) because of it, too.
The same thing happened when I discovered art. I fell in love. And like those early days with John, the feeling of inspiration gave me perspective, clarity, and the feeling of lightness. The cluttered house didn’t make me cringe anymore. The intense relationships I was navigating in the world seemed easier. My job wasn’t as unfulfilling. Traffic didn’t bother me as much. There was a harmony that was able to bridge the divide of everyday ordinariness and Joy. Life was just….more glowy.
Like any love that continues for long periods of time, both my Love for John and my Love for art take work. The hot spark that started it all still burns, but the intensity of the flames ebb and flow. There are quiet, reflective times. Hot and heavy inspired times. Sometimes we’re in conflict. Sometimes we’re floating along. Sometimes we’re navigating great transition. But I am so very grateful for the fire and all the ways it lights, sparks, warms, and burns in my heart.
Hi, I’m Kelly Rae Roberts! Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my whispers and started playing with paint, and everything changed.