BAD ASS OF THE WEEK: SIOBAIN WRIGHT (Pronounced: Sha-von…haha 😉
This woman has been through hell and back. The following is an honest sharing of heavy life experiences and injustices. Her story has a happy ending and inspires a new perspective on survivors of mental illness that so many are lucky to only read about. Surviving and succeeding with Bipolar 1 disorder, anxiety and major depressive disorder. (Or MDD according to CSM2) *Those of you who have had pysch evals you know what I’m talking about.
Awkward question; how would you describe your current career qualifications?
“I’m a jack of all trades, man. Wearer of all hats! I can fix your toilet, paint you a pretty picture and make you dinner, damnit! I’m a gypsy, photographer, weirdo.” (She’s also an aspiring chef and let me tell you what, this lady knows how to cook!)
If you had to start somewhere; how would you describe finding your creative interest and ultimately the punk/metal community you’ve been family to for so long…
“Creating art that expresses who you are and where you’ve been helps heal and bring perspective. Sometimes you feel like you have to fight yourself to discover who and what you REALLY are and what you stand for when you can see through the clouds of depression, anxiety and Bi-Polar pollution. I was originally influenced by rap and hip hop and shortly thereafter fell into the punk community. The Oakland punk/metal scene was unlike anything I’d ever been exposed to; we were all young and fucked-up but together we all stood for a greater good between jobs and shows. Throwing benefits and supporting each other as a family and community. (This was back in 2004) since then the “family” has splintered and become a scene. I’ve been coming out here since I was 14 just to escape and get away. There was always a show or a friend’s place to crash at. I’m so thankful to have grown up in the bay area and have to credit my mom for exposing me to bands like NIN, DM, The Smiths, Sisters of Mercy, ect. at a young age. I’ve been fortunate enough to always be surrounded by music; despite whatever else may have been going on.”
That’s real dude. While we may not all suffer from mental illness that affects our daily lives and creates a constant struggle, we can all relate to music providing a much needed form of escape, positive nostalgia and sometimes that needed dark place to safely cry in. With all due respect and compassion; I know It’s hard to simplify and give some kind of “Reader’s Digest” summary of what childhood medication and diagnosis was like but give me your best:
“I was on Lithium from age 4-15. After my grandma died I realized I didn’t need it. Some kind of light bulb went off somewhere and I realized I had to face my demons and figure things out without the lithium I had been fed all my life. I fell into the whole “Drugs Sex and Rock and Roll” bullshit. Ended up meeting my boyfriend of a year, made money, got robbed and then got pregnant. Knowing that I was too young to give her a life better than I had or was capable of giving, we decided the best thing for her was to give her away. To hope for her to find a better life with people who could give her what she needs. I couldn’t have an abortion. Personally it just wasn’t an option or even a consideration at the time. I was going to have her but I knew it wasn’t fair to deny her the chance of a better life than I could give. I felt it was the most selfless thing I could do for her well-being. Shortly thereafter I found heroin like so many other lost, sad and seemingly broken souls. I quit heroin cold turkey when I reached my depths of shit and bounced back through all that, using photography as my outlet and through the support of the best friends I could ask for. By “shit” I mean that I came to these conclusions after my first suicide attempt and was no longer interested in false feelings and the chasing of dragons. I had to TRULY face myself and I did. I had the gift of friends closer than family to support me. It sure as shit wasn’t easy, but I’m proud to say out loud that I’ve done it and continue to strive for a better, healthier tomorrow. Growth knows no bounds. I went to college for 2 years, trying to figure out what I wanted to really pursue but found more success independently pursuing my passions when I’m not at my 9-5.”
I can’t believe your only 23 and have such self-awareness. I realize I say this only being 27 but I’ve definitely visited many of the same rodeos and been exposed to many cruelties in life at an early age. To find the answer to survival in yourself and realize you ultimately have control over your life and surroundings is a conclusion many twice our age will never come to. Good for you, man.
What inspires your creativity when painting, drawing or taking epic photos?
“My grandma was a photographer for “National Geographic” and showed me the ropes at an early age. She was and still is one of my greatest inspirations to this day. I started getting serious in 2009 and was inspired again by “Jelly Fish Jones”. Once I discovered “model photography” it changed everything. I dig dark, witchy shit, black and white, generally darker themes that admittedly don’t sit well with everyone. I’m creatively blessed (once again) to be in the bay and working with eccentric models and people. Death and re-birth is a re-curing theme in my life and represented in my art. I find comfort in its familiarity. Some people may not understand that, but I find beauty in the pain and glory each represents”
How do you deal day to day?
“When I’m having anxiety or start panicking I “go inside myself” and remind myself that “This moment is nothing but we are eternal”. The personal mantra of my best friend that passed at 16. Triggers are still a learning curve. I think that will always be a present part of life. As unpredictable as triggers may be, I try to remind myself that the things that I’ve been through do not reflect who I am.
I can only hope that I might reach my educational goals and start programs that help “at risk youth” in a supportive and nurturing environment that encourages creativity and finding happy moments through healthy outlets such as music, painting, drawing, ect. I am currently working on a personal project, attempting to promote positive awareness of mental illness and the very human side of it all. I want to show how beautiful we can be despite how broken we may feel. I want to photograph the extremes of manic and depressive states, showing the full spectrum of emotion we all feel when suffering as we do. Again, focusing on the positive as much as the sad and troubled. I want to help empower the misunderstood people out there who silently struggle with behavior extremes that most could never understand.”
I really admire your brutal honesty. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us out there reading. I wish you nothing but unicorns and rainbows for all your days ahead. LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!