I think of all of the web pages I have created this one is the most awkward!
I am very humble about my art, so talking about myself as an artist is weird for me. I never considered myself an artist. I always envied people that could draw. I always wanted to be able to draw, but always lacked the skill. I am a doodler, I constantly doodle! When I was 19 my mother bought me a cheep henna kit from a book store. Now I know the henna was problem just chemicals... the paste smelled horrible, the bottle applicator it came with made huge horrible lines. Like many, I dismissed Henna as lame and went on.... When I was 24 I had the good fortune to have someone see my doodles and turn me back on to Henna. They sent me a tube of commercially prepared Henna from Pakistan. I still have that tube. I had the good sense to never use it. Instead of using that "henna" I turned to the Internet and found the hennapage.com I bought a beginner kit from Henna Caravan and have been hooked since. My very first class was taught by Sheryl from the Embellished Body. She gave me the encouragement to keep moving forward. Through the Henna Page I found a community of supportive artists that helped me grow. For the first time I felt like I belonged and had a future in something. When I say Henna is a very personal journey for me, I am not expanding the truth in any way. When I first started Henna it was my saving grace. I had just become a single mother & I had just moved back in with my parents. I shared a bedroom and bed with my four year old son. When he went to bed I would go into the closet and practice Henna. It was me in a 3x2 room with a splintery wooden floor and a bare light bulb for hours on end doing some of the worst Henna you could possibly imagine. Humble beginning? I think so. This was eight years ago, back when Henna was practically unheard of in Kansas City. I did it simply because it allowed me to focus on something other than my life. I never had any inclination of becoming a professional Henna artist.
In 2005 Henna gave me the strength to go to Vegas to attend my first conference. Until that point I had never left my home town! I had never done anything at all. Henna gave me the gall to board a plane and fly alone to Vegas to room with 60 other people who loved henna. The world's best artists were there! I was there with Catherine Cartwrite-Jones, the nana of modern Henna and the owner of Henna Page. All of the Henna Caravan Girls were there, the makers of my first Henna Kit. So many of the Henna greats were there!I got to spend time with Kim Brennan & Neeta Sharma. I got to meet some of my very best loved people in the world. The Henna grrrls Malynda and Amanda, Paul Hernandez, Anita from Humming Bird Henna, Gwen and Roy Jones, Justine and Robin, and Kim and Neeta... so many wonderful people. Kim Brennan took us to Mandala Bay to eat crab, one of my biggest moments in life. Kim told me a piece of life advice I remember everyday like a mantra. " you need to grow a pair of balls." Until that point I was a shy scarred mousy lady, I never looked up, I hardly spoke. I found that when I was talking about Henna I had no issues with speaking. Henna gave me the balls to be social. I started to teach Henna at the local libraries. I continued to learn, grow and progress with Henna.
In 2009 I was diagnosed with Aspberger's Disorder. It was a defining moment in my life. Everything finally clicked and made sense. I had my golden key to understanding why socially it was harder for me to fit in. It also explained the social anxieties and panic attacks that had plagued me since I was a child. Using that diagnoses I was able to analyze and adjust my actions to closer mimic the people around me in social situations. Henna makes it much easier to blend in, it sounds counter intuitive but it is easy to fit in when your head is down working. You are included by proxy and the art is the star. People do not ask about me as a person, they only ask about Henna. If I am having an "aspie day" I might reveal to a person that I have Aspberger's. Mostly I just explain the Henna and try to come up with the appropriate answers when people compliment me. ( I still have problems taking compliments, that is a social mine field!) Why do I share this? One: It helps to explain my actions. Social faux pas and nuances. For all of my social training I still slip up. Two; when you are a parent and your child is diagnosed with Autism it is easy to dismiss their future. Autism becomes a brick wall that cuts off that person's capabilities at age 18. How do I know this? Because at the same time I was diagnosed with Autism, my son was too. I was a difficult child, ask my parents. I was not an easy Adult to push out of the nest. But here I am, succeeding! I have two amazing kids I am able to show affection for. I have a wonderful husband and we maintain a good relationship. Through my art I am able to be a contributing member of society. Hope is not lost on us. ~ If I seem rigid in my views on Henna, it is because Henna really was and is a life changing art form for me. I am very serious about it and about doing it good enough to show honor to all of the people that took time out of their lives to help teach me and for all of the thousands of people in antiquity that had the same reverence for Henna I do.