A Re-Defining Moment

Reader Response: From an artist, a cancer survivor, and an activist.

“Broken for the Better” mixed media, 16″ X 20″, 2018, by Emily Forbes

Art as Healing

Art has become a huge source of healing for me, following an accident resulting in disability. It helps me uncover emotions and be more mindful, which has yielded some interesting creations.

For the artwork I submitted, there was a spot I felt needed to be filled. It ended up a broken heart shape. I didn’t like the sad way it made me feel, however. I have gone through a lot in the past five years — with my own broken heart and body — and while it does have its sad moments, I feel it has made me a better person and I am grateful for that. Showing the good that can come from breaking is what I wanted to get across in this piece.

— Emily Forbes

Lesson From Cancer

I’ve redefined myself many times in my 63 years. My most recent “new me” is a cancer survivor. I have multiple myeloma — a rare incurable blood cancer. It is, however, treatable. I have learned a lot about myself as a woman living with cancer. My greatest lesson is that I am still beautiful, uniquely me.

— Gwen Ghess

Learning How to Argue for Belief

I transferred from a college in California to Minnesota. I found the me I prefer and still claim, even as I approach the age of 75. My conservative, Catholic-guilt-ridden self became a liberal. In 1964, I found two teachers and friends. They invited me to question and to argue for a belief, for the first time in my life. Vietnam was happening then, taking me to protest marches and a few arrests. I never wavered in my belief that I can make a difference by demonstrating and speaking up, even if I get in trouble.

— Rita Speltz