I was preparing for my second solo exhibition, Winter Light, consisting of oil paintings and prints of Parisian facades when my fitball went pop and I entered the PN world. The exhibition was moved to the end of the year [...]
Excerpt from soula.com.au/blog September 22nd, 2013I’m having a great and most satisfying time with this self-portrait. From scouring for different pieces of paper, to painting my own, to writing on the portrait, every experimental and contributing part has hit my [...]
(Article from Desktop Magazine’s feature article: Creative Practice and Pain Management)Written by Soula MantalvanosOrigin of Image is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Collingwood that is managed by professional and personal partners, Soula and Theo Mantalvanos. Soula has a rare [...]
...I'll clarify now, this post is a very positive one. It's about standing up, facing the world which requires courage, strength, being understood, supported, alot of struggle, and a damn load of management skills. ... not only did Lucy Feagins share our creativity on her brilliant blog, but her address and understanding of our space and lives couldn't have been more spot on or more supportive of PN. It puzzled me that Lucy could understand it when others struggle so much. ... I want judgement to stop. People in pain shouldn't have to say more than 'I suffer chronic pain'. It's harmful and prevents people in pain from going out when they're feeling ok, or rather when they can withstand their pain. If their houses are really tidy, that means they have help. If you see them socialising in one place, doesn't mean they can make it to the next. We are able to smile, we can move, we can walk, we can stand, just not alot. We don't hunch, in fact our practitioners teach us to have great posture, we might sit funny, walk slow, not carry much, and stare as you may you won't see our pain. If we appear somewhere and look great, we planned for that and it took alot of sacrifice and help. If you have doubts, keep them to yourself please because there's no doubt in our mind we're in pain.
We don't usually love media, but a little attention after some lengthy hibernation from work was bound to be very valuable for our (Theo's and my) 12 or so year old business, Origin of Image. The lovely Sunday Style (Herald Sun) offered an interview in their 'My_Space' feature... hmmm, quite funny for us as there's nothing 'my' about 'our' life. We share work, living, we even share Pudendal Neuralgia (PN). However this media attention and the snap of me in Sunday's weekend paper had me staring at my portrait (thank you Marija Ivkovic) with curiousity at that captured second of my able life. I looked incredibly independent, active, like I was working full-time and like the issue I confessed to was clearly easy to live with. We are all judged on our facade... and although it was stated in the article that I have PN, I often wonder: can it (or any other invisible issue) ever be understood by my friends, family or community at a glance? The answer is obviously 'no'. I myself battle to understand this conflicting issue with its high sensitivity, on/off maddening, screaming and confusing signals and failing functions, and that's no surprise because even I can't see it! Theo puts it well, "I can't understand Pudendal Neuralgia but I believe Soula".
I had tried to paint myself in pain but it was deeply upsetting. It would have also been concrete documentation - forever - and that's the last thing I wanted to do with this pain. Immortalise it. The pain wasn't staying. It wasn't forever, and there was no way I was going to make it mine. My artwork takes me to happy places, but of course I couldn't ignore these years of my life.
An incredibly effective form of communication for Internal Cystitis (IC) and Pelvic Chronic Pain. Certainly captures everything I’ve felt and everything I hope; release those chains! And how true that they are depicted with such weight. Absolutely loved this. Donna [...]
I struggle hearing about people’s pain since my own experience with it. In trying to do my bit to help, I’ve found the world of pain provides endless gifts of empathy, understanding, love and compassion. And the gifts don’t stop [...]
...please gear up with me, imagine the drum rolls and the biggest mountain you can imagine with me standing on the tippy top yelling because this IS real, IT'S true, IT'S official: I'M BACK AT WORK!!!!!!!" No, I've not overdosed on my medication and the stress of a chronic pain issue has not damaged me enough to be hallucinating.., I. AM (wiggling heaps but all the same). SITTING. IN. A (very nice ergonomic). CHAIR. TYPING. THIS. POST!!!!
Oh happy day! Yes this website has been nominated for an Awwwards 'Site of the Day' with an Honorable Mention. Please help me say, 'thank you' to the wonderful team at Origin of Image who helped me put this pelvic pain resource together and in turn gain more awareness for pudendal neuralgia. All you need to do is visit this awwardswebsite link, log in with your facebook or twitter account (or register) and rate us from 1-10. To date, pudendalnerve.com.au has had almost 10,000 visitors. It certainly isn't anything to be happy about, that's alot of people in pain, but if thats an indication the website is indeed becoming a resource, creating awareness and helping with the frustration of chronic pain, which in turn gives great relief and direction, then I'll be very happy. My chronic pain at least served a purpose.