A thing means something to one person because of their past, their experience, their beliefs. That same thing means something completely different to someone else for the same reasons. Yes, context is everything.
Way before blogs existed, I'd channel my feelings about diabetes into an ongoing art project I started years ago. I took an old book and began to alter the pages with collages. Small, little vignettes about a feeling, or experience, or idea about my life with diabetes. Unlike blogging, these "posts" would be visual and non-verbal. Collages that were singular in their execution, but over time, also becoming pieces to a larger whole. What I discovered as I did more and more small collages, was the emergence of a powerful motif that deeply resonated for me. It was the repeat of dots, marks of blood, symbols of every needle stick, finger prick, pump set insertion. My life was full of tiny red dots. My body was covered with them. Self inflicted, "for the health of it", marks. I imagined my body becoming a graphic record of all the times I drew blood as I was being a "good" diabetic. Tiny, red dots all over my body.
I'm reminded of this because of the dress I bought yesterday at anthropologie. I was so excited that I'd found a dress that actually covered my pump. It's not so easy to find one that does this, so I was pretty happy. This morning I went to hang the dress up and found that it was wrapped in tissue paper in the bag. Pretty tissue paper. I unwrapped the dress, thinking I'd save the paper, to wrap up another gift later. As I was folding the paper to put it away, it slowly hit me how the pattern on it reminded me of the one I've painted and drawn and imagined for so many years. I'm sure the designer would have never known that this pretty pattern would have such meaning to someone like me. But there it was. The picture of my life with this disease. One red dot after another, some bigger, some smaller, tracing their way across the page, never ending, over and over again. It took my breath away for a moment because, you see, there it simply was. My life with diabetes.
Yes, context is everything.