Author Archive | Emma Gazley

A Palatable Passion Rediscovered by Emma Gazley

As the air turns a little cooler and loved ones gather I’m finding myself returning to a creative task I have long enjoyed; baking.  The joy of mixing together ingredients and seeing them transform into something beautiful, delicious and warm is something I can remember from as far back as seven years of age. My mother had been sharing some of her recipes with me, showing me how our creations developed in the oven, and she told me that just this once I could “make up” my own recipe. I didn’t understand the science behind it at all, but I knew I needed an egg or two and some flour and something sweet and as I told her what I wanted in my recipe my mother mixed and helped me and I made my first very own… cake-bread. It was kind of a cake, round and small, but the consistency was terrible. I think I can still imagine the flavor of it; bad, but intensely satisfying to me.

I offered a slice of my cake-bread to everyone who dropped by our house for the next two days, and they politely accepted while it hardened throughout and became completely inedible.

A few years later I was gifted an Easy-bake oven for Christmas, and this was satisfying in an all new way, as I was old enough to play with it without supervision, and my creations came to life far quicker than conventional baking. My affair with the Easy-bake was short lived, however. Somehow it never felt exactly like the real thing.

I wouldn’t say I baked constantly, or even consistently in high-school. I would get the itch, or a craving, and I’d wake up one day determined to make x—. Pumpkin bread with chocolate chunks. Sugar cookies that didn’t taste like they had come from a box. Fresh bread. There are many, many books written on the topic of bread alone, and for good reason as far as I’m concerned . What could be more satisfying than that tap of your loaf, the crunch of crust and the steam rising from the crumb while you spread a little butter and take a bite?

I was never very good at bread. I made some decent small loaves, and my mother and I would enjoy them with a homemade foamy caramel macchiato in the mornings on foggy days when we could barely see the valley across the hills from the back porch. My mother was always more gifted than I, though she told me repeatedly that I only needed practice.

After I had graduated, when I️ first started encountering health problems that my doctor thought would be helped by changing my nutrition, I stopped eating sugar, gluten and carbohydrates in general. Having no reason to eat what I might bake, and not being disciplined enough to see the value of  the practice of baking for the sake of other’s enjoyment, I quit.

And I’m sad to say, I barely realized that something I had enjoyed so much was gone from my life. Preoccupied with other creative pursuits (painting, music, writing) and focused on healing my body, baking was an absurd luxury that would effectively poison me if it contained the ingredients I had used for years.

Several years have gone by, and just as this season is unfolding, I feel a new season approaching for myself. Though it’s hardly cold in Los Angeles, it has cooled somewhat and the air has a new flavor to it. Outside in the mornings before work, the people taking their dogs for a walk have all got sweaters and hoodies on. I’ve been craving something hot during my commute instead of my normal iced rooibos honey tea. Thanksgiving and Christmas plans are flying back and forth between relatives, and the excitement on friend’s faces as they discuss how they plan to spend the holidays is contagious.

I’ve been finding myself reminiscing lately. Nostalgia will pour over me from the smells of the Korean-Parisian bakery around the corner. I’ve caught myself in a reverie of Christmas and Thanksgiving; pecan pie and yams with crispy brown sugar crumble on top.

 

Meanwhile, for the past few weeks, I have become practically obsessed with watching cake decorating videos. Frosting cupcakes, fondant and decoration on a three-tier cake, special frosting tips, food color without corn syrup- these are all things in my recent search history. I’ve found certain artists (there’s just no other word for these master cake decorators) who I especially love to watch as they explain something extremely complicated and make it look very easy.

Aside from a few mild attempts at recipes that were gluten-free, paleo, sugar-free, etc, I haven’t truly rediscovered this passion for baking until now.

As I write this I have the ingredients for a cheesecake in my kitchen, ready to be mixed for my coworker’s birthday. I made carrot cake cupcakes with a cream cheese coconut sugar frosting last week, as well as white chocolate chip cookies and banana cupcakes with buttercream. Due to my health constraints I am trying to learn or create alternative solutions to some of the trickier ingredients. But I am also quite happy to make these treats for my loved ones and see their faces light up.

I am, by no means, a talented person in the kitchen. My husband has so frequently had to explain to me how not to burn toast that it’s become a household joke. Aside from quiche, chicken soup, french toast, and sweet potato fries, my repertoire is sorrowfully lean. He can throw some shrimp in a pan with some green onions and end up somehow with a delicious curry over brown rice, while I have learned the art of the sausage. In truth, I wouldn’t say I’m anything special in the baking department either.

Yet I have been finding lately that one doesn’t need to be established as good at something before trying to be better at it, and as long as my enjoyment is equal to my effort, I find immense satisfaction in leaning down over a hot oven and feeling the makeup on my face melt as I check if the muffins need any more time.

If you’ve been considering tackling a new recipe, or trying to bake something from scratch for the first time, I encourage you to give it a shot. There have been times in the past week and a half when I can safely say that using a hand mixer has saved my sanity. Coming home exhausted and still getting excited to spend some time in the kitchen is a thrill I thought I’d left behind, but coming up on the cookie season of the year my recipe list is starting to grow long.

It’s transformative to the mood. Maybe it’s the analogy of seeing ourselves churned up inside until something beautiful is created through our chaos. Or maybe it’s just because nothing is as comforting at the end of the day as a cool glass of milk and a cookie stuffed with chocolate chips.

About the Author: Emma Gazley

Emma Gazley is an artist, musician, writer, adventurer and teacher. Born to two adventurous parents, Emma was destined to be an explorer of the world, and from her earliest moments displayed signs of creativity and curiosity. She has spent time in Europe, Asia, Canada, and currently resides in the U.S. She began her journey of discovering her identity as an artist in 2012, after encountering critical health problems that caused her to lose her job and the ability to do most everyday activities. Many of her projects have, as a result of this event and others, a twinge of the painful and tragic aspects of life.

Emma is interested in learning about grief and how to cope with it, as well as passionate about finding joy in the day to day.

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The Making of Ourselves by Emma Gazley

On the way to work this morning I drove by a hundred advertisements and flashing lights, dozens of billboards covered with intriguing colors and bare figures. I passed men and women walking, driving, on their phones, listening to music. I usually enjoy music or a podcast during my commute, but some mornings lately I’ve been leaving in silence and trying to soak it all in, to remind myself in the midst of those lights and colors that that message of “You should have this or do this or be this” isn’t going to bring the happiness it guarantees.

I arrived earlier than I expected and decided to practice a meditation in the car. I know in my head that intention breeds contentment; but there are times, especially recently, when I’ve been at such a loss for energy that I’ve gone through the motions and lacked intention in the day.

For several years I’ve struggled with various health issues, beginning with a hormonal problem that’s affected my organs, muscles, skeleton. When I first felt something going wrong in my body, I ignored the symptoms. I can’t pinpoint the original moment, but I remember fragments tied together that make a messy mosaic of pain and discomfort. Losing sleep at night, losing the ability to carry anything remotely heavy, losing mobility. I remember trying to shift a backpack onto my shoulders and my arm going out of alignment. I remember the misery of going to work, being in the car, doing dishes. I lost the ability to drive, to pour water, to hold a dinner plate.

My mom had driven me to a healthcare professional for a regular treatment and the next day I could tell I needed another treatment. After scrambling to make another appointment, then rushing to the next city, we sat in the car together. I was reclining in the passenger seat, wearing a pink shirt-dress my cousin had given me looking at the cloudy sky; my mother hadn’t turned the key in the ignition yet, her eyes filling with tears.

She turned to me and said, “It’s worse than we thought, isn’t it?”

In my mind I could see myself smiling and riding horseback, standing in line for a roller-coaster on a hot sunny day, running on a treadmill with energy and confidence. Those images were wiped clean and replaced with a picture of myself laying in bed, crouched over on a couch, limping to and from the car.

I know my imagination can be a drama factory, which is part of why I had spent years ignoring myself, denying the reality of the pain I was in.

Something about those pictures in my mind rang true to me in a way that my imagination’s reel rarely does. I felt it- I felt the loss of the person I had been and I felt a pricking in my fingers that told me that there was a new person I was becoming, and I couldn’t control the body that person lived in. It was a bizarre and palpable feeling. I could feel myself changing, as not even adolescence had changed me.

My illness reached the point where I had to call all my clients and tell them I was unable to continue my work. I changed doctors, as mine wasn’t providing the care I needed. And I started to make a plan for my new life.

I’ve had to rework my plan several times, as my health has improved and weakened over the years. Coming up on the anniversary of when I was first diagnosed, I am trying to regain intention.

Everywhere throughout our winding life-paths we encounter those blinding lights, flashing signs telling us which way to go, what we should desire. Who we should be. I am trying to ignore the distractions, the alluring siren cries of what society and my own brokenness tell me I should be.

There’s a new image I’ve had in my mind this week. I’ve seen a version of myself who is strong, and gentle.

Someone who takes sadness and turns it into pure gold, who can work harder every day and burn through the bar that I had set so low for my body. I’m trying to reshape my expectations to fuel the goal of who I want to be, instead of allowing pessimism to predict a mundane version of myself.

This is a whole area of creativity that those of us who are “makers” can sometimes neglect; the making of ourselves.

In a podcast I listened to recently the speaker talked about people who have suffered from chronic pain, how they begin to own their pain and make it a part of their identity. With the history of mankind and the way current events are trending, we can absolutely guarantee that all of us will at some time feel pain and suffer. The heroes we admire in folklore, on the silver screen and in real life are people who overcome their disadvantages, their pain, and make something of their situations, in spite of fear or obstacles.

As I listened to this podcast I realized that I didn’t want the pain I have experienced for so many years, the weakness, or the fear of it to be “my pain”. I don’t want to be victimized by any of the health issues I’ve experienced. I don’t want my identity to be what’s wrong with me.

Last night I turned on the ceiling fan, shifted some new furniture out of my way, and fell onto the couch, brushing my bangs aside. I felt strong in a way that I never thought I would again. I’ve been managing stress better, exercising more, eating nutritiously; when I eat junk food my body’s been keeping pace better.

Then I stood up to open the window and pulled a muscle in my neck.

All that confidence was shattered as I sat stiff and crying on the couch, waiting for the waves of fear and disappointment to roll over me. They came; but the waters stilled sooner than before. I kept picturing in my mind the person that I want to be, but I didn’t let myself grieve over that image this time. I chose to believe she was in my reach.

Someone with strength, with endurance and stability, who might one day ride a horse or even a roller coaster.

I see those billboards every day, I hear in our music that alluring idea of hypersexuality, affluent lifestyle standards, drinking till you drop, and I see how all of these ideas call us to indulgence. Online I read articles that tout self-care while encouraging lavish living. Treating yourself is, in my opinion, a necessity in life and taking care of yourself of utmost importance.

Yet in my short life, I’ve experienced far more satisfaction from discipline and self control than from indulgence.

Indulgence led me down a path that said I was as strong as I pretended to be, that my behavior wouldn’t have any affect on my well-being. It was through the constant practice of disciplines, emotional and physical, that I was able to get to where I am now, and I don’t want to jeopardize that by falling for the lies that leave their seeds everywhere waiting to take root in our minds.

I don’t want an ideal body, I want a strong one.

I don’t want to be able to drink as much coffee or alcohol as I used to. I want to be able to eat food that gives me life and energy and confidence. And I don’t want to be surrounded by excess, or fueled by a desire for material gain. I want contentment, joy, and acceptance that strives for excellence.

In the lifelong ambition of creating myself, I want to be able to remember, when I fail, how to go back to intention, to that strength that I know I could have; that perhaps I have had all along.

About the Author: Emma Gazley

Emma Gazley is an artist, musician, writer, adventurer and teacher. Born to two adventurous parents, Emma was destined to be an explorer of the world, and from her earliest moments displayed signs of creativity and curiosity. She has spent time in Europe, Asia, Canada, and currently resides in the U.S. She began her journey of discovering her identity as an artist in 2012, after encountering critical health problems that caused her to lose her job and the ability to do most everyday activities. Many of her projects have, as a result of this event and others, a twinge of the painful and tragic aspects of life.

Emma is interested in learning about grief and how to cope with it, as well as passionate about finding joy in the day to day.

Overnight by Emma Gazley

When I was a little girl, I believed in good and evil.

I watched movies about wide-eyed heroes overcoming villains with pronounced mustaches. Just like all of us, I believed I was one of the “good guys” and played with my friends that there was an unnamed, faceless enemy out there who would do anything in his power to destroy us. Like young children do, I believed unquestioningly that I would always triumph over that evil.

That good was stronger than bad.

Pondering how my life experiences began to forge cracks in that dogma, I recall a friend from Sunday School (let’s call her Heather). She had invited me over to her house for a sleepover. I say friend, but we were really more acquaintances. We’d been in the same group for a couple of years and in hindsight I almost wonder if the sleepover was her idea or her mom’s.

She spent the first part of the evening showing me around her room and some of her dolls, which were beautiful and dressed in what seemed to me at the time to be lush and extravagant outfits. She had her own dog, a lot of toys, and her own computer, which impressed me.

“Wow, your parents let you have a computer in your room?”

“Yeah.” She said it in a way that implied the word, “obviously” would follow.

“That’s cool,” I said, thinking that my parents would have laughed in my face if I asked for a computer in my room at that age.

Heather laughed. “You don’t have your own computer? I’ve had one for a while.” She was sitting on an exercise ball, wiggling around and watching me watch her. “I use it for school and other stuff. I play games on it. We can play a game if you want.” She turned to the monitor and turned it on, and while we waited (remember those days? When you had to wait forever for the computer to turn on, and then for the browser and then dial up?) she stared at me and said, “How old are you again?”

“Ten,” I said. “My birthday’s in April.”

Heather smirked. “I’m older than you.” She turned around again and we waited in silence for a few seconds.

“I’m bored. And hungry. Do you want some ice cream?” She turned back to me.

I smiled, “Sure. I’m kind of not supposed to have it because I’m lactose intolerant but-“

“You’re what?” she made a face.

This was during the era where I still got weird looks and a lot of questions every time I mentioned having dietary restrictions. And became used to explaining to hosts what soy and rice milk are. Or the looks of incredulity when I shared that I went to school at home due to how much my family traveled from work. I grew accustomed to having people stop my brother and I at the grocery store and ask us why we weren’t at school.

“It’s not a big deal, I just usually don’t eat dairy.”

“That’s weird,” Heather stated happily and led me towards the hallway and to the stairs. “Come on, let’s get some ice cream. What’s your favorite flavor? Mine’s chocolate chip cookie dough.”

“Whoa, they put cookie dough in ice cream?” I followed her down the stairs, eyes wide.

“You’ve never tried it? It’s the best!”

We reached the den, where her parents were watching TV. Although they were reluctant to leave the house, she convinced them with some persuasion to take us to Baskin Robbins, and I had the best ice cream of my young life. I told Heather that it was my new favorite flavor and in their car on the way back she gave me one of the many friendship bracelets on her wrists and said, “Here. Now if anyone asks you can tell them we’re friends.”

The next day when I went home I was playing with the beads on the bracelet and my mom asked me how the sleepover went and I told her all about the ice cream and the bracelet and Heather’s computer.

But I felt something in my gut that I didn’t know how to explain.

When I saw Heather at Sunday school next, she didn’t come up to me or say hi. A few weeks later a bunch of us were playing and waiting for our parents to stop talking so we could go home and have lunch, and she came over with her notorious best friend and they played a little joke on me that I wouldn’t recognize as an innuendo for years. The other kids laughed and Heather never made eye contact with me.

She didn’t invite me for another sleepover, and somehow, I knew she would have as much fun at my house, where there were no computers, pets, or ice cream.

Over time, I had forgotten about that sleepover. But it came to mind recently, maybe because  Heather was the first person in my life who made me feel like I was less important than her, and like I wasn’t really worth much. I don’t think she meant to do that, and I wouldn’t want her to think that I hold that against her.

Looking back, I understand the myriad of differences between us, especially in the ways in which our families were structured. And, as sorry as I feel for her, she wasn’t really the kind of kid I needed for a close friend.

Over the years, I made many other friends, from walks of life and experiences more varied than I could recount. We taught each other respect, dignity, forgiveness and love through the accidents as well as the gifts of our friendship.

I learned how easy it is to make mistakes, or to come at life with a point of view that puts you in the position of the protagonist or antagonist.

But I don’t have a curled mustache, and my eyes are a little less wide.

As I write this now, I’m in the passenger seat of our car making the drive from Chicago to Los Angeles. My husband and I are moving back home, and our time in Chicago has been (to avoid using a more colorful expletive) a crapfest in more ways than one.

I look out my window and see the desert; such a cracked, almost flaky terrain. The sparse brush, the miles and miles of uninhabited land, the sheer space. I think of the last year and feel like we’ve been in a desert.

This is one of my favorite journeys to make. My father was a speaker, educator, and social justice advocate and we used to spend months on the road as a family traveling all over the states.

When we were driving out of the Lower West Side, I looked over at Shane and said, “You know, the longer I live in the USA the more I dislike it as a nation and love it as a country.”

It’s true.

Whenever the political climate has been dismal, the arguments on social media vicious, and my own heart is broken over the hatred, rage and brokenness I see in us as a people, I have thought about the Grand Canyon. The Rockies. Yellowstone.

I’m grateful for that evening at Heather’s house, because it was the beginning of a greater understanding of the world for me.

I still believe in good and evil, but I needed experiences in my life to acquaint me with the shadowy unknown areas, the mysteries that so often go unnamed or unrecognized for what they are. People are more complicated and have more sides to them than just “good” or “evil”, and those phrases themselves are so convex and show only a portion of what is present in our motives. Real human beings don’t fall neatly into categories of “us and them”.

If I’ve learned anything from the last year and from revisiting that story from my childhood as I drive through this desert hoping to reach the ocean, it’s this: life, though far more complicated than our limited understanding can comprehend, is to be lived to the utmost.

I think of every hellish experience I had in Chicago, about every person over the years who would inadvertently or intentionally make me feel small or worthless, and I weigh that against those who loved me, and every sweet bowl of cookie dough ice cream.

With years, and perspective, you come to see evil as weakness.

I look at our world and see war, terror, hatred, bigotry. Those things cry out loudly, but more quietly, more calmly, and with ever increasing voice, we continue to make choices to love one another and care. Every evil thing that happened in my life, including violence, terror, grief- has been washed clean by the love that followed it.

I think as creative people we long to heal the harms we see done in our world, or to feel a relief from the pain every individual encounter on earth.

In some ways, I still want to wear the cape, flex my muscles and be the “good guy”. I see the complications and disparages, the way we attack each other with differences like weapons armed, and I just want to say that we’re all important. That none of us are worthless.

That the light always ends up outshining everything else.

About the Author: Emma Gazley

Emma Gazley is an artist, musician, writer, adventurer and teacher. Born to two adventurous parents, Emma was destined to be an explorer of the world, and from her earliest moments displayed signs of creativity and curiosity. She has spent time in Europe, Asia, Canada, and currently resides in the U.S. She began her journey of discovering her identity as an artist in 2012, after encountering critical health problems that caused her to lose her job and the ability to do most everyday activities. Many of her projects have, as a result of this event and others, a twinge of the painful and tragic aspects of life.

Emma is interested in learning about grief and how to cope with it, as well as passionate about finding joy in the day to day.

Reflections of Me by Emma Gazley

While violently scrubbing the bathroom sink, a reflection in the small medicine cabinet mirror caught my eye. I made eye contact with that mysterious person, and watched for a moment, almost unsure. Unsettled. A year ago, his person I was seeing had gotten engaged  and moved to Chicago. She joyfully married her best friend a couple months later and since then had found herself out of work.

How was it possible that after so much movement, this woman seemed so stuck – so frozen in place.

The woman in the mirror was me.

I’d been applying to various jobs for months and despite multiple interviews, I hadn’t managed to secure a steady job. Not even “low-on-the-totem-pole ones.  With a limp, tepid resume and long stretches of unemployment due to a myriad of health issues, the reasons as to why I was so “un-hirable” abounded.

Staring myself down, I ran through the list, listening to all of those voices that were quick to convince me that I was not good enough.

I pulled all my cleaning supplies together, shoved them back underneath the kitchen cupboard and moved on to my next project.

My husband reassures me, saying, “Looking for a job is a full time job, without the satisfaction of being paid. I know it’s difficult but thanks for working so hard.”

After filling out applications, making some calls, and printing resumes, it was time to go shake some hands. As I hustled by the windows of bakeries, electronics stores, and corner grocers, I repeated a mantra of self-love to myself.  I entered each place with a smile, struck up a friendly conversation, handed over my resume, and upon leaving, did my best to squash down social anxiety. Then, brace myself for the next round.

After several train stops and miles of walking, I turned to go home with an empty stomach and emptying bank account.

When I arrived home later that day I turned the oven up high and roasted a chicken for dinner, seeing that same woman in the glass as I peeked in to see if the skin was beginning to crisp.

I didn’t make eye contact this time.

To let go of the emotions of shame and helplessness, I turned to painting. Painting has always empowered me, just as writing and music always have, but somehow the projects on my kitchen table felt uninspired.

The almost comic melodrama of depression was starting to play out in my kitchen as it occurred to me that even if they amounted to much, I was unlikely to have a career doing what I love. Proven, of course, since I couldn’t manage to land a job doing something I would hate.

I was able to laugh at myself a little; how could I do so much and feel so pathetic at the end of the day?

Several weeks later, Sara, my best friend from middle school, flew in from Alaska. Our friendship has soldiered on through the pains of adolescence, loss of loved ones, moves from state to state, and the breaking and mending of many relationships.

I received her text reporting she had landed as the Blue Line train doors slid open at the O’Hare stop, showing me a rippling vision of myself in the darkened windows. A version of myself in constant motion, a transient visage.

As everyone disembarked to find their airline, the frenetic energy jostled me out and onto an escalator. I didn’t have time to catch her eyes this time.

When I saw Sara, I felt instantly home again. That deep, comfortable love of being accepted and admired exactly as I am surrounded me. I floated through the next several days on a high. I tried to shower her with love and rest, knowing that her life as a Special-Ed teacher is rarely easy.

Yet, the excitement of being together in Chicago meant we found ourselves exhausted at the end of every day. We bustled from the Lincoln Park Zoo’s gorilla enclosure to the Chicago Theater. No, it wasn’t restful, but we were both buoyed by our activities and the company.

A few weeks after Sara’s visit, my brother Al came into town. He’s my only sibling, and we spent the train ride to Clark and Lake catching up on his life in Hawaii and mine in Chicago. We talked about how busy we’ve been and what shows have excited us the most.

The next day we went to Millennium Park and I showed him Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, which everyone knows as “The Bean”. Its shining surface showed us distorted versions of ourselves that swayed and morphed into new images with every step. My brother’s warped expression smiled next to mine.

We had a full day: pictures with his new camera, shopping, and visiting Navy Pier. By happy circumstance, the Ferris wheel was free that hour.

As Al and I walked across Michigan Avenue, with a hundred bodies marching purposefully towards their destinations, I caught a glimpse of our reflections as we passed a shop window. We look always younger in my mind’s eye than we did in that reflection .

“It’s weird, isn’t it? Being adults visiting each other?”

“Yeah, it’s weird.” He laughed. “You’ve got to come out to Maui, even if it’s just for a few days. There’s so much to see.”

I smirked and shook my head when I saw he’d fallen asleep on the train ride home. I’ve always envied him the ability to let everything go and fall asleep wherever he was sitting or standing. What would it be like to be that free for a few moments when exhausted or stressed?

That evening, we hosted a gathering to introduce my brother to friends and after goodbyes were said, I  curled up next to my husband, Shane. He was reading a graphic novel, and both of us were trying to ignore our chronic back pain. I looked at Shane while he read, and for a moment, I saw myself again. I saw a flash of whoever I am meant to be, whoever I was in the beginning.

The gap between waking and sleeping brought me close to a reality that we block ourselves from so much as we chase the light, or the money, or the power.

I saw a reflection of myself in Sara, truest of friends, filled with devotion and affection. In my only brother, who has known me longer than almost anyone, who knows all of my very real flaws and shortcomings, but loves me despite our differences. I saw myself in Shane, who has sacrificed, changed and created all this space and love in his life to include me in all its steps.

I decided to see myself a little kinder. To stop once in a while and rest in this knowledge: that it’s how I am seen by those who love me that matters.

Thankfully the measure of success doesn’t rely merely on my warped opinion of myself (or the opinion of society at large). The love of others, and indeed love of my true self, is what gives me sanctuary. It gives me purpose. It is what makes me sing a new song, paint a blank canvas, and write another story.

I breathed in deep and let it flood over me, and fell asleep with peace in my heart.

About the Author: Emma Gazley

Emma Gazley is an artist, musician, writer, adventurer and teacher. Born to two adventurous parents, Emma was destined to be an explorer of the world, and from her earliest moments displayed signs of creativity and curiosity. She has spent time in Europe, Asia, Canada, and currently resides in the U.S. She began her journey of discovering her identity as an artist in 2012, after encountering critical health problems that caused her to lose her job and the ability to do most everyday activities. Many of her projects have, as a result of this event and others, a twinge of the painful and tragic aspects of life. Emma is interested in learning about grief and how to cope with it, as well as passionate about finding joy in the day to day.

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