Author Topic: Cambridge, Vermont artist challenges society's view of disability  (Read 1100 times)


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Authentic expression. A loaded phrase in a world dominated by highly calculated Facebook profiles and Twitter updates. Is there such a thing as authentic expression when even the word “authentic” seems to have lost its meaning from over use?

For poet, mystic, artist, and model Jocelyn Woods, 27, of Cambridge, authentic expression is the heart of the artistic process. Woods is a model working on her second collection of erotic art, work that is very personal and inspired by her desire to express her mystic experiences. Authentic expression also serves another purpose in Woods’ life: as a cure to the disability that has severely limited her body’s ability to express itself physically.

Woods was born with a rare and atypical neuromuscular disorder. Despite extensive testing, Woods said doctors have not been able to definitively diagnose her condition. Her physical symptoms most resemble a neuron disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA attacks motor neurons in the spinal cord that would normally communicate with voluntary muscles. As the neurons are lost or damaged, muscles weaken and become hard, if not impossible, to use.

The language of the article isn't great (it is US so some of that is US terminology), but I think it's interesting how she keeps referring to the art she does as curing or healing disability. It's refreshing to see her talk about healing in a way that is far more about being able to cope and accept rather than physically healing because she's miserable. She doesn't particularly sound unhappy at all. I also think many people (whether disabled or not) find the arts as healing.

I've forgotten the rest of what I wanted to say, but I'll try to come back later and remember it!


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That is good. There is a lot that is healing for all of us. For some it it faith, for others it's being creative. Others it's campaigning. We all differ. But what it all does is to help us see ourselves as contributing to life.

I stitch. Cross stitch. And decoupage. I like the creativity. The finished item has nothing todo with my illness (though the distraction is very useful) and I can show it off without my illness being a factor. But it also frees me to create, to make something beautiful, to make someone's day a bit brighter because they've seen it. I try to do that as a person as well.

I think things like creativity, music, art, design, anything that removes a person from the pain of their disability or illness is very important and heals us in many ways.



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Me too Fiz, I love all crafts, decoupage, cross stitch, crochet, making anything, and music is soothing. Im hoping to get a lap harp sometime and learn to play it. I hope it will be a distraction for pain, I will have to try and pace myself learning it,or be stuck and not be able to move if I sit too long lol