Meet Ellie Prorok
Painter and illustrator
Ellie, how are you?
Im actually really good at the moment!
I didn’t have work today so I got to do some of my own artwork which is always really freeing. That and I actually had been doing some reflecting and celebrating this morning after realizing at my doctors appointment that this is the first winter in 5 years that I haven’t been in treatment. Which was pretty cool. Felt a lot of hope in that today.
That’s amazing. What a day today was for you! You must’ve felt all types of emotions during the reflection and realizing today was the 1st in 5 years. That’s incredible. You are an example of what happens when someone keeps on fighting. That eventually hope meets them where they are at.
Recovery won’t be linear.
For anyone reading this - You’re going to have many days of falling down. Feeling broken and drowning with your demons wondering if you’ll truly ever taste hope again, maybe see the light and have a victory under your belt. Even if it’s small. Any victory matters. Remember that.
Ellie I love that today was a really good day for you! And that you felt hope.
What were you going to treatment for?
Anorexia and co-occurring disorders
What age did it all begin?
I was about 7 years old when my struggles with food began but I wasn’t diagnosed until age 13
That’s so young. I can’t imagine how heavy things must’ve felt at the age 13, especially at 7. And now you’re 19 or 20?
Yes ill be 20 in may
Do you feel like now that you’re older and all of this has been going on since 7 that things are finally coming around and you’re now beginning to not only see the light but be in it? Or do you feel like you have some ways to go?
In some ways yes I definitely feel that things are finally coming around. It’s taken a great deal of hard work and commitment and often just endurance of pain. It’s something that I had to choose and at the same time it could not be forced at a time when I wasn’t ready for it. I definitely still have some ways to go but it really is just step by step and day by day. Some days are harder than others and I definitely still have to be very aware of my thinking patterns and decision making. It has been an unlearning process of the life that I’ve been living for the past 12 years. I have a ways to go yes and at the same time I am so far from the empty deathbed state I was in at this time last year. There’s so much more light now than there ever has been before and that fact in itself is so incredible and motivating.
Progress is a process and slowly you’re getting to see how far you’ve come because of the progress made from then to now. And you’re still in the process but looks like you’re on the climb now and you’re in the mode of being motivated. Which is awesome. Motivation lacks for a lot of people going through what you are dealing with. The fact you’re able to have that is great.
So we’ve gotten to collaborate. Which I want to say has been a blast for myself. You’re quite talented, like super talented but I feel like for someone talented as you - your work should be displayed at art gallery or something from time to time. It’s amazing. Supporters of Free And Above have fell in love with the designs you’ve created for the movement. People were touched by your art. I’m such a believer that art has the power to make an impact. You were one of the people who made me realize that.
At what age did you realized you possessed such a gift? Did it all come natural to you?
I do want to respond a bit to that motivation part because so many times before it’s been something that has held me back until I reached a point at which it finally processed in my mind that continuing to live how I was living was simply not an option. The motivation came greatly through this sort of surrender to the path of healing.
And thank you! I really appreciate your support and kind words. Art has always been something I’ve found myself drawn to- the foundation of it is really just a love for all these different methods of creating and at the same time it’s been such a vessel of healing for me. It has definitely taken a great deal of practice and criticism and growth but I’ve always held art as such a valuable practice. I wouldn’t say the quality of work has necessarily come naturally but the drive to make art always has.
Love the drive you have. It for sure shows in your art! And surrendering to the path of healing. That’s never an easy thing. But it’s something that has to be done. Glad you did it.
Last I want to talk about our collaboration last year. I’m glad it happened. Everyone loved the designs. The worthy of love + life is worth living designs.
What was your favorite thing about collaborating or did you realize anything after or during creating the designs?
My favorite thing about collaborating has been watching my work resonate with people whom I may not have otherwise reached. The opportunity to reach out to people with my art and nurture this sort of sense of greater human connection has been really incredible. A major part of my healing work has been reclaiming and recognizing my individual power, and to see the impact my work is capable of having has really supported that introspection. In working with you I am reminded that healing is not an isolated act: when we work to heal ourselves we help those around us do the same.
Yes! I love what you said at the end “When we work to heal ourselves we help those around us do the same.” That’s a part of how Free And Above was born. Through myself trying to heal. Ellie I’m so happy you’ve been able to recognize and reclaim your power. Amazing. Thank you for collaborating, but also thank you for being kind and loving.
That’s absolutely been something i’ve admired so greatly about free and above- you are creating this really beautiful example of how vulnerability is strength and im really grateful for this and you. so thank you tony for being a part of mine and so many others healings.
Thank you for your words Ellie. And we’re all in this together. Super grateful for you. Loved this Q&A with you.
(Q&A done by Tony Cox II)