Sometimes Being Interested Is Enough

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Often when people post their art in the communities I’m part of they follow it up with ‘but I’m not a real artist’ or ‘but it’s just my hobby’. As if there is some kind of division between ‘real artists’ who can post their art without caveat and ‘not real artists’ who need to qualify it before posting (because otherwise what..?).

This might have something to do with someone’s personal level of confidence or the way society views art, or a combination of both. I definitely identify with this tendency, this wish to let people know you don’t want them to judge you too harshly or to let them know you’re not full of yourself. This desperate wish to take a bit of that huge vulnerability out of creating or sharing something so personal as your own art.

It also might even stop you from creating in the first place. That feeling of not being good enough or not qualified enough. Why should you do it if there are so many other people who might do it better?

A couple of weeks back I went to NineWorlds (it is an inclusive geek convention, it’s amazing!) and I put myself forward to speak on a panel about problematic issues in the work of Joss Whedon. As a self-professed Whedonite (I wrote my undergrad thesis on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) I’m semi qualified to speak on this subject.

Nineworlds Panel

But I worried. What if I didn’t know enough? What if I wasn’t good enough or couldn’t contribute? What if my knowledge was too niche (e.g. just about BtVS instead of all of Whedon’s work)? What if other people knew way more about the subject? What if people from the audience looked at me and thought ‘pfft what is she doing on that panel’?

I discussed these fears with my therapist and he suggested:

What if simply being interested is enough?

This actually touches on something that I read in Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly (I mentioned this book in my previous post) in which she proposes a culture of ‘enough’. That instead of trying to be perfect, we should simply try to be engaged.

When you feel passionate, interested and excited about what you do, it doesn’t matter whether people like it, because the right people will respond to your engagement. When you downplay something, you are giving people a signal that it’s unlikely to be interesting to them, because they will simply mirror your own (lack of) enthusiasm.

This is what I try to do now with my art. I try and move away from the questions of ‘is it good enough?’ or ‘will people like it?’ and instead I try to move towards ‘is this interesting to me?’ and ‘does this make me feel excited?’.

Practising Self Care

Practising Self Care | iris-impressions.com @rrreow

I want it all and I want it now! For years I was an extremely demotivated individual. Then I had a kid (and then another one) and I had some therapy and those things seemed to light something up in me. All of a sudden I wanted to DO stuff. And I have been doing stuff. Piling it on. I love having a busy life, being accomplished in all the things I decide to pursue, feeling alive and energetic!

I was getting away with this whole lifestyle for a few years. However, for about 2 years I think my body (and sometimes my mind) has been dropping some hints. I’ve been getting every minor illness under the sun (colds, stomach bugs, eye infections). First I blamed pregnancy while having a toddler at nursery, then I blamed lack of quality sleep with a newborn, then I blamed winter. Then I ran out of excuses and had to take a look at my life and think about the whole picture.

So I’m having a stern talk with myself and telling myself that it’s time to practise self-care! “Self-care?? What the hell do you need that for, just GO GO GO, you’re not allowed any rest or care! You need to do it all!” my inner voice goes. Through having this little ‘intervention’ with myself I’ve actually realised how hard I am on myself. How much I heap onto my plate and punish myself mentally when I can’t do it all, or can’t enjoy it all or when my body simply says STOP!

So I’m drawing back on all the peripherals. This has included a difficult decision to stop my violin lessons and to stop some volunteering I was doing. I’m really hoping to add these things back into my life when it is the right time. I’m going to be focussing on the three main areas of my life that are most important:

  • my kids/family (because LOVE!)
  • my art (because SANITY/FULFILLMENT!)
  • my business (because MONEY!)

Everything else is going to take a backseat for a while. I’m also going to try and add a lot more vegetables to our diets (when I’m feeling run down making home cooked healthy food is the first thing that suffers, which is obviously the opposite of what my body needs!) and add a daily walk to my routine. I’m also going to try more mental exercises to help my mind relax and be less GOGOGO all the time (that’s gonna be a toughie! I’ll report back on that one *wink*).

PS Interesting thing happened. I wrote this post a few hours ago and I’d been feeling quite down both physically and emotionally for over a week (ever since I got my latest illness, which was a triple whammy of tonsillitis, eye infection and cold) and ever since writing it I’ve felt SO much more positive! Wow!!

A Difference in Attitude

In my day job we’ve just done a small recruitment drive. As I imagine is the case with any creative industries jobs, we receive a lot (hundreds) of applications and therefore have to disappoint a lot of people.

The day after we received a few emails in response to the ‘rejection letter’ and something really interesting happened. We received one angry indignant email, one sarcastic email and one email “thanking [us] for the kind message”. All these people were sent the same email. It made me marvel that the same message could evoke such different feelings, such a difference in attitude between these people!

Then I recently read this recounting of losing her brother by Leonie Dawson. I marvelled at how she talks about ‘the treasures of the tsunami’. Basically the good things that come out of a painful experience. Similar to the first email we received, my reactions to difficult things in my life have always been on the angry indignant side. I had never considered that a different attitude was even possible, especially not with the most painful and difficult things in life.

I’m trying to insert this new attitude into my life. It’s not simply a question of ‘thinking positively’ (that suggestion can actually really piss my off when I’m in the throes of negativity!) but rather trying not to see things in black and white. Sitting with things a while and considering the whole picture, conflicting feelings and all.

It’s so valuable.

Sorry this post is a bit vague! But the thing that happened with the emails made such an impact on me, I was thinking about it for weeks, so I wanted to share this learning and I hope it resonates with you too.

Taking Time & Enjoying Life

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Phew, February was a whirlwind of fun! We went on our much anticipated trip to the US. In one word it was AWESOME. Probably up there with the best holidays I’ve ever had. We flew to NYC and picked up our RV

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We did a couple of days of the tourist thing in NYC and I met up with two of my highschool friends (bearing in mind we’re all from The Netherlands it was a bit of a coincidence that we were all there at the same time!).

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We met up with Andrew’s family in New Jersey and some art supply shopping was done!

Then we drove south straight into a snowstorm (we knew it was coming, mind you).

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The RV was winterized (which means there is antifreeze in the water system, so you can’t use water), but the heating was working and the toilet was fine, so it was actually fairly comfortable in there despite the weather! Not so much so when we ran out of propane gas in the middle of the night and the heating went off though.. =p

After the snow we headed further south and stopped in Savannah, GA. The weather started to get a lot nicer. I really adored Savannah. The architecture is awesome, it’s got a great vibe and did a spot more art shopping!

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We drove down to Florida (which is where we wanted to spend the bulk of the holiday to take advantage of some warm weather!) and of course had to spend a few days in Disney! Call me crazy but I took my 2-year-old on his first rollercoaster.. and he LOVED it. We went on it 4 times (in the evening, no queues!) and he was so disappointed we couldn’t go on it even more times.

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We spent a lot of time in state/national parks. Our experience from our previous US holiday in California was that when you’re camping the campsites in the parks are much much nicer than commercial RV resorts. Pancakes were had several times (as well as s’mores! Of course!) and we saw lots of wildlife including alligators.

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We made a stop to visit a very special town called Jupiter! I don’t think Jupiter (my eldest son) had any idea he was in a place called Jupiter, but I think he’ll appreciate the knowledge and pics once he’s older. The place has an iconic lighthouse that is pretty much the symbol that represents it, so we had to get a picture of Jupiter with his lighthouse. We had lunch at a place called Dune Dog which I’d highly recommend. It’s like a beach shack (not on the beach though) and it has a great vibe.

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On our final day we went to Miami Beach where I had a cocktail the size of my head and we spent some time on the beach. Jupiter was very taken with the quad bikes that the beach police have. He was very shy but kind of grabbed my hand and sidled up to where they were. I mentioned he really liked the bikes and the police guy let him sit on one! No pic of that unfortunately as I didn’t have my phone on me.

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It’s tough going on holiday with two small kids (Jupiter is 2y9mo and Zephyr 8mo), but as long as you don’t expect to have a relaxing holiday it has the potential to be amazing. Having the RV was great for comfort and keeping busy with a lot to do meant we were always entertained and the kids were nice and tired by the end of the day.

I can’t wait to go back! We’re hoping to do Philadelphia/NY/New England/bit of Canada next time, hopefully around October time for the leaves, in a few years time.

So I hope you enjoyed being photo bombed! In art news, I have just updated the gallery with a lot of new pieces, mostly art journal pages I did in January. Or if you prefer you can view these on Pinterest.

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I am extending the deadline for the giveaway for a bit longer to allow more people to enter. So if you haven’t already go enter the giveaway to win a FREE mixed media painting and tell your friends to enter too.

An Update

If I wait until I have something interesting to say I don’t think I’ll ever write another blog post. I should really set aside some time every week to write something.

Jupiter

He is now about 10.5 months and a real delight! Don’t all parents say that though? I’m not a big fan of other kids (lol I actually feel much more comfortable saying this now than I did in the past) but I absolutely adore Jupiter and could talk about him 24/7.

I’m glad I’m not a full-time mum though (it’s a mixed blessing). Being with a baby all the time is really tough and working full-time (from home though, so I see him a lot, which is great) allows me to have a much better mental balance.

We’re currently introducing a bit more of a routine for him. Mostly focussed around his sleeping at night and napping. He’s really at that point where he needs it (and so do we!).

He’s very chatty, although doesn’t say any specific words yet with any consistency (he may have said ‘dad’ a few times and ‘byebye’). He’s crawling like a trooper, SO FAST. He loves chasing the cat. He’s also pulling himself up to standing along the furniture and ‘cruising’. He can stand by himself for a couple of seconds at a time, so I think he’s well on his way to walking soon!

Violin

My violin playing has really gone up a gear. My friends and I had a little performance before Christmas where we played a few pieces we’d been working on and loads of Christmas carols to which the audience sang along. I was very nervous but it was lots of fun!

We’re currently aiming towards another concert during the Easter weekend and we’re playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D. It’s bloody hard! Having two lessons a week currently, plus trying to get in 30 minutes of practice a day. I’m really excited as I love this piece but also totally feel I don’t have enough time to really get it into shape.

It’s so nice to have a goal to work towards though, it really helps with the motivation.

Misc

Taking Jupiter to visit my aunt in Holland in a few weeks. Very excited about this!

Signed up for horse riding lessons again (I had to stop when I got pregnant). I’m on a waiting list though, so I have no clue when I’ll be able to start.

Playing a bit of Star Wars online. The single player aspect of it is very strong and immersive, which is good as I only have about 2-3 hours a week to play so it’s pretty much a single-player experience for me at the moment. I miss grouping up and raiding from back in the day when I played World of Warcraft a lot but I just don’t feel I have the time needed to invest in this, nor the desire to be honest. The biggest thing I miss is the people I used to play with. My WoW subscription expired a month ago or so and I don’t see myself renewing it. *small tear*

I am learning to drive!! Been taking lessons since September. I passed my theory test the other month and have my practical booked in about a month’s time. I’m nervous, but still have quite a few lessons booked to really brush up on everything and practice lots.

Jupiter

My son Jupiter was born on 8 May 2011! I was induced 2 weeks early due to a pregnancy related medical condition. Apart from the induction I had a natural labour & birth which lasted all of 1.5 hours (I know you’re jealous. Or if you’ve never given birth you probably have no idea what this means).

He is absolutely amazing and I am loving it! I know you’re kind of supposed to say that, and sure there are things that aren’t easy (breastfeeding for one) but overall it’s just so enjoyable. I really feel very fulfilled and like I have a new purpose.

Between taking care of Jupiter and working part time and THE LAUNDRY I have very little time, so rather than writing more I will just say it with pictures!

Iris’ Life Update ca Feb 2011

I find it hard to update regularly. Part of it is laziness, part of it is not knowing what to write about, but I think the biggest part is feeling like I don’t have anything interesting to say, or that people won’t be interested in what I have to say. I guess that’s a problem of self-confidence. So what I’ll do is I’ll make this an Iris’ Life Update ca Feb 2011, because that easily solves the problem of not knowing what to write about. The other ones I’ll have to work on solving.

Pregnancy/Baby

Obviously this is the most dominant feature in my life at the moment. You know how once people get pregnant or have kids that’s the only thing they’ll talk about anymore? Well, it’s true. It completely takes over your life. Especially in the first few months it was all I could think about all day. I would obsessively check how many weeks along I was and how the foetus was developing, not to mention worry about all the things that could go wrong. The obsession is abating a bit now (I am nearly 26 weeks, or 6 months, or roughly two-thirds of the way through) but it gets replaced with more practical concerns like what do we need, how much does it cost, where do we buy it, where do we put it.

So far I would say pregnancy has been a mixed experience. On the positive side, I love being pregnant and knowing that there is a baby growing inside me. I love feeling the baby move, it’s really funny and touching. It’s like I always have company. I also think that because the baby is inside me and moving, I tend to regard it as more mature than an actual baby, it’s kind of hard to explain what I mean. I really like sharing the experience with Andrew and whenever he can feel the baby move it’s so special. I also love it when Andrew talks to my belly! It’s so funny and touching, makes me feel really loved.

The negative aspects of pregnancy are pretty much all physical at this stage and they fluctuate a lot from day to day. In the beginning (first trimester) there was the nausea and the tiredness. They went away around 3 months into the pregnancy and since then until about early January things had been quite comfortable. For the past month or so I’ve been experiencing quite bad back aches and I’m starting to get tired again. The tiredness isn’t so much from the pregnancy itself, but rather because I wake up about every 2 hours during the night, so even if I sleep for a long time, the quality of sleep I’m getting isn’t great. The back aches I’m doing some exercises for and taking paracetamol. The combination of the two seems to help although it fluctuates from day to day. I also asked my midwife to refer me to a physio, for which the waiting list is 6 weeks…. alright then.

From an emotional point of view there are a few things I’ve struggled with. Firstly, my growing belly and weight gain. It’s something I find incredibly hard to reconcile and know how to feel about it. On the one hand it’s awesome and a great source of pride. On the other hand it triggers a lot of negative feelings about my self-image. I’ve always been a fairly slim person (although I had a bit of a pudgy phase when I was a teenager) with stable weight, but at the same time that doesn’t mean I didn’t worry about being fat/gaining weight/the way I looked. Although I have never been either anorexic or overweight physically, emotionally weight has always been an issue for me. So gaining weight due to the pregnancy affects the way I feel about myself and I guess I feel less in control. Currently I eat whatever I want and whenever I’m hungry, and my weight gain is about on par with what is normal. That doesn’t stop me worrying about it though =p

Secondly, the sex of the baby. Andrew and I were in agreement from the beginning that we wanted to know the sex and I never made a secret of the fact that I really wanted a girl, no matter how ‘politically incorrect’ that may sound. As an aside: sure you’re supposed to say ‘as long as it’s healthy’, but I find that a bit of a ruse, because it’s not like there is anyone out there actively hoping their baby isn’t healthy. I think it’s much more healthy from an emotional point of view to be honest about what you’re feeling, because whether you announce them to the world or not, the feelings are there and need to be dealt with.

So, I wanted a girl, which made me quite sure that I was going to have a boy (because that is how the universe works n’est-ce pas?). Andrew was really convinced we were having a girl. Turns out I was right =p So we’re having a boy, which is something I have really had to get used to. I still really want a girl, but I don’t wish this baby was a girl. Having a boy is emotionally complicated for me. Girls are much more firmly in my own comfort zone: I am a girl, I was raised by a single mother, I didn’t have a father figure or much exposure to boys/men. On some level I have probably always been intimidated by boys/men, because they were so very other. And I probably also passively got the message that women don’t need men, and that boys don’t need their mother. Having a boy triggers many more feelings of discomfort and insecurity in me. It is funny, but also reassuring, that all my friends who have had babies in the past 1.5 years (or are expecting now) also had boys.

Thirdly, going through this huge life changing experience without my mother. This is a difficult one, because as of yet I don’t actually really feel the impact of this. Of course it sucks in an ongoing way, but what I am most worried about is the labour and that is a big unknown. Although I’m sure the labour isn’t going to be a picnic physically, that is not what I am worried about (ironically, before I got pregnant it always seemed the biggest obstacle, why would anyone willingly push out a baby through their vagina? Insane – whereas now I’m worried about NOT being able to have a natural birth and needing a caesarean). As of yet, and I imagine until I actually go through it, I do not know what my emotional needs are going to be during labour. Of course I will have Andrew, which is hugely important to me, but he is not a woman, nor is he my mother. I have read Hope Edelman’s Motherless Mothers (a few years back I read Motherless Daughters) which has already been hugely helpful and actually made me more aware of the emotional issues that could come up during the birth (and afterwards, but that’s a whole ‘nother chapter for later).

Art/Craft

Art has taken a little bit of a backseat the past few months. I think I go through phases, ebbs and flows of inspiration and creativity. It’s something I used to berate myself for, like I wasn’t allowed to feel good about the art I create (or wasn’t allowed to create at all) just because I’m not consistent and do it every day. I’m trying to let go of that feeling and just create when I feel like it, and not when I don’t.

I had the idea for Bird in Cage for a while, I did a quick sketch last year in a notebook, but hadn’t sat down to actually create it until this year. I used bits of greeting cards and letters that family & friends sent to me over the years as the background. Then I went over it with gesso and paint until I got the grungy textured background I was aiming for. The bird itself was done with watersoluble oil pastels. The cage was done with gold embossing powder. I love the effect of embossing, but it’s such a time consuming and fiddly job.

I’m currently working on a whimsy portrait on watercolour paper. I’d like to improve my shading techniques and generally get more comfortable at creating faces. I also recently worked a bit on the digital portrait I started last year, but I paid dearly for it the next day as it made the RSI in my elbow very bad.

I’m also working on a soft toy for the baby. It will be crocheted. The colours I picked are grassy green, bright purple and navy. It’s going to be some type of caterpillar-like animal. The yarn I’m using is quite thin and I’m using a 2.5mm hook, but nevertheless progress is quite quick. I just have to be careful I don’t overdo it with my elbow. I have until May to finish it anyway!

Violin

Still enjoying & taking lessons! I meet up with a couple of friends every Wednesday (they come to my place, lucky me!) and we practice together. It’s great, because if we didn’t do that I would probably get very behind. I don’t practice a lot by myself, due to laziness and tiredness. I definitely do want to continue with it though, as far as possible throughout pregnancy and after the baby is born. I think it will be nice (not to mention important) to have a few evenings a week to do stuff just for me. The baby enjoys music too! He tends to move around when I play, or listen to music or when we go to a concert.

World of Warcraft

Ahh the time sink and reason for all my laziness! I’m mostly kidding, I haven’t actually been able to play that much lately, but I have to say I am enjoying the game a lot more again since Cataclysm came out. I first levelled my resto druid who used to be my main during TBC and at the beginning of Wrath. I lost interest in the class during Wrath as the challenge was just gone. It’s slightly more challenging again, but once I hit 85 and was faced with the grind for gear and rep I just didn’t feel like it.

Instead I dusted off my holy priest. Holy priesting is SO MUCH FUN right now! The class really has a lot of abilities to play with. She’s about 20% away from lv85 and I actually look forward to getting geared up for heroics. On the side I’m also playing my prot pally a bit. It’s verrry different from what it was like in Wrath, but nice to have new toys to play with and re-learn things. It keeps things interesting.

In 2009

I update so infrequently that whenever I do, I first have to upgrade WordPress to the latest version. Happens every time! Here a little update with some major things that happened in my life in 2009.

Moving house

Up until February 2009 Andrew and I were living together in one room in a flatshare with two other people (and were also running our business from said room). We’d been there since the beginning of our relationship 4 years previously and needless to say it was cramped and you couldn’t turn your arse cozy. Having got married the previous autumn we’d really hoped to be able to buy by that time, but it didn’t work out. So we decided to at least find our own place to rent. It meant moving slightly further out from the centre of London but the space we got in return for it was definitely worth it. Not having to share the kitchen and bathroom with other people anymore is pure bliss!

Tikka

As a direct consequence of moving into our own place meant I could finally get a cat! I had wanted a cat since I was about 4 years old, but my mum didn’t want cats so I had to make do with first a guinea pig, then several dwarf hamsters and also some mice (none of which I particularly liked as they were poor substitute for a cat). I had been doing research on cats for a while and decided I really wanted a Bengal as the personality of the breed really appealed to me as well as the look. At the beginning of April we picked up our little cat and brought her home! We called her Tikka both because she’s a Bengal and because we live near Brick Lane (curry capital!).

She is everything we expected and then some! I cannot imagine life without her now. She is absolutely INSANE which fits our personalities quite well =p Right now she is asleep on top of a pile of boxes underneath a halogen lamp as it’s nice and warm there.

Playing the Violin

In September I took up playing the violin. When I was little I’d had lessons for maybe 6 months or a year but quit quickly (after hardly practicing) because I felt very disappointed at how hard it was and how horrible it sounded! Nevertheless, it had always been my favourite instrument and continued to be so. Now as an adult I thought it more likely that I’d have the patience and dedication to try again. I’m taking lessons at a local college that specialises in evening education for adults. My class is very big (about 20 people – although in practice not everyone shows up every week) but the teacher is great and I feel like I’m making good progress. I enjoy the lessons and practicing at home and can’t wait to get better!

California

Going to California has always been a dream for both of us. We initially wanted to do this for our honeymoon in 2008, but had next to no money left after getting married! So instead we went this year and I’m definitely glad we waited. It was the holiday of a lifetime and I enjoyed it immensely. We both really want to go back or perhaps try to live there part of the year.

1st Anniversary

31 October 2009 was our first wedding anniversary. I’m just so glad to be spending my life with Andrew! Our relationship grows stronger every year and I definitely think the past year has been exceptional in terms of how much closer we’ve become. In 9 days we celebrate our 5 years together!

Overall

This past year has been really good. I’m almost surprised as I am not used to my life being that enjoyable, always expecting disaster around the corner. I think I updated a while back writing about feeling more content and life being more in balance. I’m hoping this will continue and obviously will work on making it happen! One of the most valuable ‘lessons’ I learned this year is that you create your own destiny and that it’s up to you alone how you approach and interpret what happens.

Current State of Affairs

Yes yes, I know. I am incredibly crap at updating this thing. Sincerest apologies.

In some ways lots has been going on, and in other ways life has been pretty boring. I guess that’s how it always is.

I’m reading the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer at the moment. Wow.. I am so into it. I know I’m supposed to be all apologetic for not reading high-brow literature, but seriously, anyone who writes something so appealing and engaging gets my respect.

Life with our little cat is so lovely. She’s becoming less like a kitten and more like a cat every day. Although she still does silly things. When we were on holiday she stayed with Andrew’s sister and requisitioned a feather duster. It’s about as long as she is, and she will attack it and bite it. The funniest thing she does though is when she picks it up with her teeth (like a dog with a stick, horizontally) and walks around with it.

She’s also obsessed with elastic hair bands. She’s also a master at losing them. I’m going through hair bands really quickly at the moment haha. She can just sniff them out. I’ll see her sticking her head inside my handbag, and after a few seconds she comes out with a hair band in her teeth.

Seriously, I can talk about my cat for hours. I took some videos the other week but haven’t downloaded them yet. If they’re any good I will post them.

Hmm what else.. we went on holiday to California at the end of September. It was absolutely amazing. Complete and utter holiday of a lifetime. We took 900odd pictures so it’ll probably be about a year or five before I actually sort through and post any of them. I can’t really think of specific highlights because the whole experience as a whole was just so impressive. We flew in to LA, spent a few days there, drove north along the coast to Malibu, then Big Sur and up to San Fransisco. Then from SF we spent a few days in the wine country, went to Yosemite, down through Death Valley on our way to Las Vegas and then back to LA. We camped for a third of the time which was nice (but cold! Except in Death Valley) and authentic.

OK here’s a picture. It’s absolutely impossible to choose one picture that sums up the whole journey so I leave you with a token tourist shot.

Iris & Andrew Golden Gate Bridge

Contemplating Life

Earlier when I was walking to the post-box in my flip flops (not only my flip flops, mind) it struck me that I am actually quite happy. This is quite a huge thing coming from me, ever the depressed pessimist.

Life’s thrown some punches at me and I’ve been good at surviving, but lately I’ve felt a bit of a shift. For a few years now I’ve not merely been surviving, but living and lately I’ve been enjoying life with more consistency than ever before.

I just want to mention that although I’ve suffered from depression, I would have never described myself as an unhappy person. The difference I am talking about now though, is something between having happy moments or spells, and a more consistent contentment.

The reasons for this are ample, I think, there isn’t one single thing (I am averse to the whole ‘one single thing’ mindset as a whole, it puts too much pressure and expectation on something that can never deliver). Overall though, I think it can be summed up as ‘life is finally going right for me’.

Sure there are still things I want and would like to achieve, and I don’t want to become complacent, but I feel less like something is missing. That’s quite huge, because my life has been governed by loss a lot (both in the bigger sense from losing my mother, but also in smaller ways, in which I recreate or re-experience loss in almost every situation).

It may sound trite but having a husband who loves me, living in our own place (rented, but not shared with flatmates), having a cat, having a nice bottle of wine every now and again, fiddling with crochet/knitting/art/cooking… it all just fills me with more calm than I’ve ever felt in my life.

It makes me feel like, yes I can have nice things (or rather, a nice life), and no they’re not going to be taken away from me at a moment’s notice for no good reason.