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Name: Justice Edens

Pronouns: She/her

Location: Jamestown, New York

Instagram: @_Swesters_  

Artist Title:
Justice Edens was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 2001. Still a baby, her family moved back to Jamestown, New York, where they lived prior. Jamestown is a very small, quite boring town. Growing up with little to do she had an early fascination with creativity, stories and characters created from one’s mind. Entire worlds existing inside the minds of otherwise average people was fascinating to her. As a child she loved art but began to take it more seriously around the age of 12, she found her love for creativity went much farther and had a need to express herself. 

She is a self taught artist, she loves to create stories and characters and often uses art as a form of escapism. Her main goal as an artist is to provide escapism and a place of understanding and comfort for those going through hard times. One of her greatest dreams is to be a master of many trades, sometimes to her own detriment. She loves to explore where she can go with new experimental projects and has learned to accept the failures so that she can better accept the successes. 

She’ll takes things slow and sometimes will let time tell where things will go, with ideas seemingly coming into her head during daydreams, and it all fits into place. As a creator she takes pride in her creativity and has hopes of one day sharing this with the world.
Sleepless Nights
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Sleepless Nights - Justice Edens.png
Sleepless Nights is a piece to represent insomnia or other difficulties sleeping. The dread of sleep and getting into bed knowing that it feels like an endless struggle until your body decides to let you rest. Through entire days of immense stress and feeling overwhelmed at the end of the day, you can never sleep. Each event that day and even that week will stick into you like spikes of an iron maiden. Your body aches and your heart is pounding but never stops. You can never feel comfortable and you can never rest. It feels like torture, sleep is the most essential part of life and yet when it is taken away from you it feels needlessly cruel. Many people will always know that at the end of the day you have a bed to turn to, that you can find comfort and peace in sleep, but for many difficulty sleeping can destroy your entire life, it sucks your energy and it sucks your soul.

For many months of my life my insomnia came to me suddenly, the stress continued to build until the point my body cannot handle it. My entire chest became inflamed and my heart became irritated. I was terrified to fall asleep, I was terrified to die. Every night was the same, my heart pounding and in pain, I became extremely sleep deprived and lost a part of myself along the way. The sleep deprivation disconnected me from reality to the point that I absolutely needed to sleep. I would lay in bed for hours until my body gave in and finally allowed me to sleep. Dozens of doctor's visits, hundreds of dollars in bills, and receiving no answers. I still struggle to sleep but over time I have had to get used to it. This has become a part of life for me.
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Ayame - Justice Edens.jpg
This piece features a character I've created, Ayame. Ayame is a 10 year old girl with autism and selective mutism. She is also dead. Ayame was created around the time I found out my childhood cat, Patches, was going to die of an incredibly cruel form of feline cancer. Ayame was a way for me to cope with loss. Months down the line as Patches had tragically passed, the trauma caused my mind to shut down. Ayame was the only thing I had and knowing how much she helped me accept death as part of life, I decided I wanted to share her with the world. She is an angel who has the power to heal and help lost souls come to accept death, merely by lending an ear to listen. She represents the power and importance of reaching out to the ones we love and what that can mean to a person. To me, she is incredibly important in ways I can't explain. 
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Bitterness - Justice Edens.png
This is a poem I wrote around two years ago, after I had graduated High School. By this time I was struggling with feelings of bitterness and angst for old peers moving on with their lives. I felt I was not going anywhere, I was almost desperate for any kind of accomplishment. I felt I needed something to prove that I had worth, that I was making strides as well. I had chosen not to go to college for my own mental health and had constantly felt below everyone around me. Dealing with feelings of social rejection while freshly graduated is something I feel many artists understand, the internal struggle of not wanting to let anyone down with the bitterness of knowing that you're being left behind. Many people have emotional and mental struggles which feel like trotting through mud, even with encouraging words you still feel helpless, but you can't help but feel bitter and ungrateful for not being able to let kind words reach you in ways that you truly appreciate them. 
Mental Health Questions
How had the pandemic affected your mental health as a woman/femme creative? Have certain things improved for you or have gotten worse?

The pandemic has negatively affected my mental health, so far as to make me physically sick. 2020 is a very traumatic that I have a hard time remembering much of it.

What is your power word or phrase that helps you overcome mental struggles?

I don't necessarily have a phrase or word, but when I'm dealing with mental struggles I tend to surround myself by the things I love and think of how happy I am to experience it.

How do you think mental health/mental illness has affect you as a girl/woman/femme and how you’re perceived? How do your creative outlets help you manage your mental health? 

I often times feel my mental illness stole my childhood and especially my teens. From a young age I started having mental breakdowns and was sent to the principal quite often for emotional outbursts. To this day I still cannot be in touch my emotions, I have always been laughed at or belittled for expressing my emotions and so I chose to express myself through art instead. Art has become a form of escapism for me.

What is something you wish people were more aware of that disproportionately affects women’s mental wellbeing? Do you use your art to raise awareness about this issue? If you have statistics/resources for this issue please share any!

From a young age many women were forced to confront their identity, particularly for girls who's bodies developed early. When schools, teachers, and family begin to see a young girl is developing they will ridicule her, and tell her things she doesn't understand. Their bodies become "too sexual". In many ways this leads girls to mature faster, to lose years of childhood that their male peers otherwise do not have to. This has given so many girls an early identity crisis while struggling to let go of their youth as they get older, as I did and many of my friends. When you go to school wearing shorts and being told that you are indecent at the age of 14, that stays with you for life. This idea that girls are just so much more mature than boys of the same age is cruel and we must allow our girls to own their childhood.