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Posts Tagged ‘life stuff’

 …When I Needed It.

The internet gave me a gift today, for all it’s faults it houses some real gems and today it was this quote. I’ve been writing a lot about change and transformation over the last few months because it has been so very prevalent in my life this year. I have been going through, what I described to my friend the other day as, a life overhaul.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome. It didn’t feel awesome for ages, it felt terrible while I was going through the changes and uncertainty itself but like the butterfly that emerges from it’s cocoon, I’ve finally emerged from the other side feeling more able, strong, balanced and beautiful in and of myself.

My friend told me that she felt that was a huge sign of my growth during this period and I think she’s right about that. I’m still me but a lot has changed about me at the same time. I have a whole new perspective on my life and what I want and need in it to the point that it has, at times, become clear that it’s something that hasn’t been welcomed by some of the people around me. I think that when you grow and change and begin getting things in order it can be scary and unsettling for the people around you if they’re not ready for change to happen to them as well. It’s a personal thing, it happens on our own timeline when it’s necessary for us and our lives individually.

I catch myself when I’m talking to people to remind myself to be honest and not play down my situation to fulfil everyone’s thoughts of where in life they think I should be and frankly, it’s hurtful when a friend asks me why I’m not in a relationship with someone as if I should be aiming for that or why I have chosen to live and work creatively as an artist as though it’s never going to get me anywhere and never going to bring me success. I don’t believe that and most of all it does bring me success. Success to me is making it through the day happy and grateful for what I have and what I do. Having spent so long struggling with depression and being so close to giving up on life completely, doing something I love and that brings me so much happiness is a far greater success than trying to force myself to live a way that’s not right for me.

People may not like the changes in my life, they might think that they have the right to look down on me for them or consider me an oddity for my choices but you know what? I’ve embraced them, accepted them and made them my own. I’ve made it through a difficult time and found my wings after the stifling stress, darkness and uncertainty of change in my very own cocoon. Be happy for me, now I can fly.

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I find that one of the hardest things to do is put myself out there, in any form I feel it makes me vulnerable and my fear of being disliked or ridiculed or looked down on has stopped me doing a lot that I’ve wanted to do. I’ve grown a lot in the last five years or so, since I discovered my independence and strength as a single mum, but breaking through those fears and barriers has been and still is very hard. This blog is ‘safe’ for me. I can express myself and share a bit of myself without worrying about the reaction I will get or having to deal face to face with anyone which is where most of my bad experiences have stemmed from. Starting making a few youtube videos was a massive step for me as I’m incredibly nervous about sharing my voice and my face with the world (ok, so I’m still working up to the latter). Sometimes I wish I didn’t have these anxieties, I wish I didn’t care and I was normal like anyone else. That I didn’t dread making or answering the phone when I don’t know who’s on the other end, that I didn’t feel sick going somewhere new or being around people I don’t know.

And yet, unless we’re brave and put ourselves out there we will never go anywhere. We have to take a chance and hope for the best and try not to berate ourselves too much if it doesn’t go as planned.

I’m not always strong, I don’t think anyone can be all the time and sometimes when we take those brave steps forward it leads to us having to retreat. This last month has been really rough for me, filled with a lot of stress, fear, doubt and frustration and has consisted of me edging forward, not even stepping, but just inching along before running a mile back to hide, lick my wounds and recover from the exhaustion that seems to accompany being brave. Last week in particular was a real low point. I put on a brave face of course, to the outside world I daresay I looked fine but inside and at home when the doors were closed I most definitely was not. I had to do something though, I had to put myself out there and try to inch forward even though it felt like I was waist deep in treacle making progress near impossible while my arms and head flailed and cried and shouted in frustration.

I’m not in such a dark place today, I’m still not feeling like I’m surrounded by rainbows and unicorns but I’m not surrounded by blackness either which means I need to heal a little more and then start the excruciating process of edging forward again. I’m reminded quite well of a line from one of my son’s Thomas The Tank Engine films, funnily enough it’s been replaying through my mind for a while to remind me to be brave and put myself out there. In the film Percy is scared of monsters in the dark when he meets an engine called Gator who he first mistakes for a monster. Gator teaches Percy a thing or two about fear and how running away isn’t brave or going to deal with the problem. It might feel safe but the problem is always going to be there and eventually you have to face it to be free. Percy does manage to face his fears in the end and he realises that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared. Being brave is doing something even though you are scared.

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The short answer is a lot.

The whole last month has been crazy, busy and stressful with a huge amount of scary but also exciting change going on. This week was probably the craziest so far though and I’ve been swinging between high levels of anxiety and fear to joy and anticipation of the possibilities, so much so that I feel like I’m strung on a yo-yo with no way off for the foreseeable future.

My eldest applies for secondary schools at the start of the next school year so we have been signing up for testing and looking at possibilities. There’s been a huge amount of information to take in and think about.

WP_20150627_12_01_28_Pro WP_20150627_10_07_29_Pro

Last weekend I was in London for the Pagan Federation London Conference with my friend and wonderful felt artist Abi from Felt Meets Cloth. While the day wasn’t the busiest and the travelling left me an exhausted shell afterwards it was a wonderful day, full of friendly people, great feedback on my work, wicked humour and a lot of laughs so a big thank you to everyone who came along and made it such a fun and memorable event!

Following this, however, I was ill. I had a migraine with a lot of nausea and dizziness over the first half of the week. In part from over doing things as apparently I really don’t know how to pace myself and in part down to the stress of knowing we have to move house in a few months. Trying to find somewhere has been hard, a month of constant disappointment, being told I’m not suitable and trying to put a brave face on it and stay positive about the whole thing for the kids.

Then -bam- the 1st July came around. Following a frustrated rant and breakdown with my mum the day before I began to calm emotionally and find a couple of properties that were not an outright no from the start. I’ve been looking at them around work for the last couple of days.

I’m trying to stay firm and calm in the belief that if I’m looking and doing all I can the right place for the next part of our journey as a family will find me. It can be hard some days to hold onto that particularly when it feels as if no-one is willing to give me a chance but I do feel it’s necessary. House hunting kinda sucks, particularly as a working single mother but I have to believe that the Universe is looking out for me and as long as I go with the flow and don’t try to fight the way it’s working it will all pan out in the end.

You may wonder why I’m writing this out here. This blog isn’t often a place where I go into my personal situation and rant or rave about things. It’s so that when I have a bad day I can read it back and remind myself of what I am holding onto. I need to see it in black and white so that when I face the possibility of being made homeless in September and it all feels like too much I can read, in my own words, the truth of what I believe in my heart rather than the nigglings of my mind. If it helps someone else as well then that’s even better.

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anger art journal page

…stupid people.

I like to think I’m a patient person and I don’t like to think negatively about others, whether I get on with them or not. I tend to turn my negativity inwards and onto myself which is neither healthy or a good idea. Since making the effort to love myself more and not to do this I have noticed something which worries me a little; there are a lot of ‘stupid people’ around me who I find myself being annoyed, frustrated and even angered by.

Now that I’m not directing all of these feelings inwards I’m finding myself seeing the people around me for the effects they have on my mood, both good and bad. I’ve been getting angry with people, not showing it or being nasty with it but I am recognising it when I interact with people. There are people that bring out these negative feelings with me and while I don’t share them or act negatively back towards them I can feel the effect they have on me.

Last week the feelings were bubbling up. I had a particularly long day of interacting with ‘stupid people’. I’m not talking stupid in an IQ sense. I’m talking about people who either don’t see the negativity they throw around or do it on purpose. To me, that is the essence of stupidity. I’d been stewing in these feelings for a while and finding them difficult to release when I remembered my art journal and poured all of that negativity into a page. It helped.

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It’s that time again folks, the arrival of Spring mean Big Spring Clean in my house. It’s desperately needed it too, for a long time. The house has felt stagnant for a while energetically and I’ve been letting myself wallow in the negativity knowing that in order to really cleanse the place I would need to have a massive clean and declutter.

I may have gone a tad over board but I felt it was time. Time not only to clean but to be ruthless and really clear the place out. I’d been pondering this compulsion I had last week when I went to the library with the little man to kill time before we had to pick the little lady up from her after school club. It was there that I stumbled on the book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston.

I felt that pull and knew I had to read it. I am so glad I did. It’s centered around the absolute need to declutter your home before applying any Feng Shui principles and I have to admit that her writing and enthusiasm for this was completely infectious, so much so that I’m going to order her other book; Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui.

What I found when I began this process of ruthless decluttering (and I can assure you I decluttered everywhere) was that not only did my mood and enthusiasm change but I found myself decluttering more than just the physical objects around my house. My work ethos seemed to change and I realised as I went through some of my creative projects that I’d fallen into the trap of creating for others rather than myself again. I didn’t realise there was so much crap in my house, stuff that I was just holding onto for no reason. I tried to approach the whole exercise by looking at each thing individually and asking myself; When was the last time I used/wore this? Why am I keeping it? Do I like it? Does it bring me happiness?

I was pretty amazed at how much there was in my house that I didn’t use and didn’t even like in some cases. Was it really any wonder that my depression had been fluctuating so much and I tried to avoid being in the house all the time?

So now I’m sitting with mountains of stuff to go to the tip for recycling and disposal along with several big bags of things for the charity shop. It feels good but I know that once it’s all been disposed of tomorrow it will feel even better.

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007

…A Painting Dies?

It’s hard sometimes to get a painting finished. I’m a master at starting and never getting around to finishing paintings, something that I’m working on rectifying by revisiting my old work and finally bringing them one by one to a close.

Even more infuriating though is when I do finish a work to a point where I’m pleased with it and I don’t feel I’ve over worked it only for it to meet an early demise. This morning my son killed one of my paintings. It was an accident, he didn’t mean to do it and yet he still did after I kept telling him not to go near my work. The canvas has two large holes in it now that I doubt I’ll be able to repair. I wonder if I can salvage it by cutting the painting up and using it for other projects, I’ll not let it go to waste and the frame can be reused if I order some new canvas to stretch over it. Thankfully the other two canvases that were involved in the accident seem to have come out of it unscathed…

…I just… it’s hard, surprisingly hard to lose a piece of work that I’ve put a lot of time and energy into. Better that the damage was done to the painting than my son, I suppose, unlike the last time he was doing things I told him not to but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with the loss.

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014

I had a fantastic time on my holiday to New York. We didn’t visit many tourist places mainly because it wasn’t high on my agenda and gives me more things to go to next time I go over to visit. The one place we did go was Times Square though it was terribly humid while I was over there which made the whole experience of being in a super busy place that much more difficult.

Once I have a chance I’ll be posting pictures from the other places we went to, I need to go through them first and do some edits. There are a lot of pictures of flowers from my trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, which I hope to use and work with for some new paintings in the future too.

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