What's my Story?
I have always had a passion for capturing moments on film. With more than 10 years of experience, I have the skill and trained eye to make your project come to life.
BOY!! DO I HAVE A STORY TO TELL!!!
1/9-12/12 -Photography Teacher, Modesto Junior College
This is truly a life changer for me, physically and emotionally. RA is an invisible disease, and most cannot tell what I'm feeling. That, and the fear of having to simply shake someone's hand, can drain a person emotionally, and depression is always an issue. Without RA meds, and a proper Rheumatoid Dr., my pain level is about an 8 - 9, on a 10 point scale. With meds, and proper care, my pain level remains at around a 5. This is still a high pain level, one may think. It is. But, I'll take a 5, considering what it feels like without proper medications. The pain is always in my hands, feet, knees, shoulders, elbows, ankles, hips, and back. I still go through flare ups, which are basically more pain, and a lot of swelling in the joints, especially the hands, ankles and feet. It makes it hard to stand, sit, or even lay down for even an hour at a time. Combine all this, with constant fatigue, and you're getting the idea. My mobility is tested at every turn, and it takes a committment to continue trying. God bless art, and God bless us all that get a chance to make an effort to give back. If you'd like to donate to RA, simply click a link below. And thanks for listening, and thank you mostly for understanding.
So what's RA feel like?
"Chris, you may only have 6 months to live at this rate". Those are not the words a person wants to hear. After I graduated from Indiana University, with a Degree in Telecomm, and a minor in Fine Arts, I chose the corporate life. I worked on a career in making money, and climbing a corporate ladder. With that, came stress, but I continued to study and practice my painting, and jumped into Improvisational Comedy "on the side". I did well at both. But with both, came a level of self serving selfishness. I was a party animal. I was a "rock star" at drinking, and was always the life of the party. I continued my "college days" for years, and along the way, chased away my memories, and a family. It was more important to be able to drink and party, and keep making great money, than it was to work on my marriage, which eventually came to an end in 2013. I had tunnel vision all this time, but, it would eventually come back to me, in a way in which I was never prepared. I was invincible. When I continued to suffer severe stomach issues for years, I sought medical attention. The early diagnosis were either Pancreatitis, or Colitis, but never what I was finally told. I exhausted my liver, causing severe damage, and would now need to be on a transplant list. I was probably going to die from drinking. Unfortunately, a person doesn't always have the ability to recognize his/her mistakes, until it is too late. So, now I'm thinking, "I'm going to die". What have I done for this world? What can I do now, in this short period of time I have left? Well, a decision was made on that day, and it was a good one. I decided I wanted to live. So, just like that, I said "no more". I quit drinking, and started to work on my health. But something was still wrong. I was in severe pain, every day, in every part of my body. What's this have to do with my liver? Well, nothing. It was another diagnosis. In 2015, after years of pain, and suffering, I was diagnosed with Advanced Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Although I knew that I had issues, at least I now had an explanation. But, what was I going to do now? Now, I have 2 health issues to work on. I could just give up, and bide my time, or I could do my very best to live life to the fullest! I didn't know what that meant, but I knew I was here for some purpose. And I knew what it was. Ask forgiveness for my past discretions, and start giving back. So I did. I jumped right in on my liver, and did my best to get better. I went past the 6 months diagnosis I was given, and continued to treat my body better. I've not had 1 drink since February 2015. But, now, what about this RA? Well, for those that don't know, it hurts. A lot. It is not arthritis that most think of having in a finger, or in a toe. It's every joint in my body. My hands, feet, knees, shoulders, hips. All of them are affected, and all are causing me pain, every day. I often even try to avoid a handshake, because I know it's going to hurt. A lot. Unfortunately, all the things I did with my "arts", left me unable to do them, as I was accustomed. So, I took a new approach to them all. I changed my entire lifestyle. I stopped drinking. I started eating healthier. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and decided to be proud of myself again....Then, I found new methods and techniques to continue, albeit, on a different scale. Although, I could no longer stand for long periods of time to finish a painting, and I could no longer be so active as a performer, I still had it in me. I had been painting for years without spirit. I have studied and performed, professionally as an Emcee, Host, Comedian, and an Improviser, all over the country for 20+ years. I was great at it. But, I was not physically able to do them any longer, as my heart desired. So, I made it a mission to give back to my community. I decided to teach these things. A reboot of my comedy career, and a reboot of my arts. I knew just sitting around and biding time was not an option. Thankfully, I discovered that I did not have to be Pablo Picasso, or Jim Carrey. I just needed to be me. I started to share. I started to help where I could. I couldn't fathom my life as simply existing. So, what was missing this whole time? My love for the world in which I live, and had taken for granted for so long.
Now, I just want to leave the world a better place, because I was here. I am an artist. I am creating every day. Whether it be in painting, crafts, or performance, I just wish that others could see the simple beauty in things, the way I see them, FINALLY. To truly see the world in it's wonder is a powerful thing. To muddle through, as fast as possible, and not enjoy the beauty that the world has to offer saddens me. Sometimes life has to remind us to stop and appreciate what we already have here. I am blessed to have had this moment. And now is my time. It is my time to shine, and my time to share. I hope you like the things I am creating. Contact me if you would like to talk, share, or buy. I'm here. I'll just be "creating". And by the way, nothing made my GI Dr. more pleased than making it past the 6 months I was given. I'm now at 1 year past that date. And RA isn't going to stop my creative process. It may keep me from being able to do the things I used to enjoy, the way I used to be able to do them, but maybe now it serves as a reminder to me that I have choices to make, and to choose wisely. And there is a great calming of the soul, knowing that there is always, always, a way to give back, and share with the community. That's now my mission. And I will celebrate with a bottle of sparkling grape juice, every year that I go past my 6 month expiration date.