It’s Not Automatic – Deserving To Do Art

deserving-to-do-art

From a young age I feel I have always been given the message that if you’re not good at something, you shouldn’t do it.You are only ‘allowed’ to pursue something if you’re already magically good at it. Kids who are good at drawing should keep drawing. Kids who are not good at drawing shouldn’t bother.

We say things like: “Oh I can’t draw” or “I will never be good at painting” or “So and so is much better than me”. You didn’t wake up one day speaking your native language the way you do today. You learned over time. It was most likely an automatic process that you didn’t notice, but it took TIME and you were LEARNING. However, when it comes to anything creative, it’s as if we feel that the ‘talented’ are deserving of pursuing their art, but the ‘untalented’ are not.

deserving-to-do-art-quoteA friend of mine in primary school loved drawing. She was ‘good at drawing’. I put that in inverted commas, not because she wasn’t, but because it’s a problematic label. She drew a lot and consequently was ‘better at drawing’ than many of the other kids. She got a lot of praise for being good at drawing and I compared my drawings to hers and felt disappointed and why should I bother as I wasn’t as ‘good’ as her.

As an adult she’s a rather accomplished artist now. I love her art. It is very rich and technically detailed. She didn’t wake up as a 28-year-old who could suddenly create amazing art. If she had stopped doing art as a little girl and picked up a pencil now, she wouldn’t be creating what she is right now. She’s had a lifetime of practice.

The above example shows how incredibly logical it is that you need practice to get better, and yet we tell ourselves we are not talented enough or not good enough as a reason not to do it!!

On the parenting forums/blogs I read there definitely seems to be a trend towards praising the effort rather than the result. It’s the approach I cognitively believe in and is how I’m raising my kids. And yet… that message from my childhood runs deep. It runs deep in my thinking, and I can see it runs deep in a lot of other people’s thinking as well. These wounds created in childhood are hard to heal!!

When I think back to my childhood I can think of a handful of things that happened that stopped the creative soul inside me in its tracks. My teacher laughing at a drawing I did. My mother telling me I needed more practice when I showed her a painting I’d done (not a horrible thing to say in itself, but that was the only comment). I think every child encounters these types of moments but the importance lies in how these moments are handled. How can a child be encouraged to move past these painful roadblocks? Hopefully not like me, with the decision that I shouldn’t bother drawing or painting.

I feel resentment because of these things that happened to me as a child. As a child you don’t have the life experience or emotional maturity to put things in perspective, ignore the haters or question the validity of a statement/opinion. Especially when the voices are those we trust (parents, teachers) to tell us ‘the truth’. I feel sadness for my child self and what I went through and the consequences that spill over into my adult life. It is very very hard to unlearn the patterns of thinking we learned as a child.

However, and this is the big turning point, as an adult I now do have the benefit of life experience and emotional maturity (ish *grin*) to start doing something about this. I can’t turn back the clock and undo the scars, but I can think to myself ‘Hey, those people so long ago, they don’t need to dictate my thinking in the present’. I can tell myself this every day, and believe me, I need to, in order to quieten those voices in my head that tell me I don’t deserve to do art because it’s not inherently ‘good enough’ or I’m not inherently ‘talented enough’.

I have the power to choose to do this and I empower myself by deciding to create art despite the emotional obstacles and negative voices in my head. Every time I decide to do something creative I am not just ‘getting better’ in a technical sense (i.e. by practicing), I am also growing as a person. I am recognising that I myself hold the power to start to heal my own wounds.

Journey – My Word Of The Year & Artist Guardian

journey

When I was at university and had to write essays I was the Queen of Procrastination™. Although I always finished things on time, I was emotionally unable to put in the proper time required. I would always do everything last minute, rushing through it, wishing for it to be finished already. I never had anything looked at beforehand by teachers to be critiqued. I would read through it before submitting to spot spelling mistakes, but actual rewriting was too painful. It just had to be done, handed in, away, GONE.

I’m not very good at process. So, in 2014 my word for the year is ‘journey’. I want to try and spend more time experiencing the journey, rather than only focussing on the end result. I want to enjoy the process of whatever it is I decide to engage in. Too often I have started a painting and struggled through it, hating the work and just wanting it to be finished. That way I could feel the satisfaction of completion, but it left me feeling empty.

Most of all I want to allow myself to have a journey. Allow myself the time and space to grow. To stop feeling like I have to be perfect. To stop comparing myself to other people. I want to have my personal journey.

I’ve been working quite hard (in whatever little time my job & raising two kids allows!) to make this happen. I can genuinely say I’ve enjoyed painting more than ever these past few months. Partly because I was painting to paint. Not for the result. Not to share. Not to get recognition or attention. With this post I am tentatively getting back into sharing my work. I love showing what I paint, but I also want to be really careful not to fall into the trap of becoming a ‘share junkie’. Where the sharing becomes more important than the joy of creating.

The following piece is my ‘Inner Artist Guardian’. She’s a welcoming and caring person inside me, who allows me to journey and create freely and tries to protect me from my own nasty critical thoughts.

2014-01-Artist-Guardian-Prog
Progress shots from sketch to painting

2014-01-Artist-Guardian-Det1

2014-01-Artist-Guardian-Det2

2014-01-Artist-Guardian-Det3

2014-01-Artist-Guardian-Det4
Detail shots, yummy texture

2014-01-Artist-Guardian
Finished painting

The work in this post is inspired by a lesson on Life Book 2014, come join us!

New Art Pieces in February and March 2011

I have been busy busy for a change! Usually I am just lazy lazy. I have been cutting down on my World of Warcraft time lately (and unfortunately also violin time, I’d like to play more but am feeling hugely unmotivated currently), not really as a conscious choice but I just find I am busy with other things that I enjoy more.

Saturday just gone marked 30 weeks of my pregnancy! So over the past few months and the coming few weeks I’m seeing a lot of friends to catch up before ‘my life is over’ (as I’ve patronisingly been told by some people). It’s both scary and exciting to think that it’s not much longer to wait now. We’re doing a lot of preparations at the moment, mostly in the form of buying stuff. We still need to get a car seat and the carrycot attachment for our pushchair. Other than that it’s just a ton of small stuff we need. We’re also starting antenatal classes at the end of this month. We’ve signed up for the NCT courses and I look forward to meeting other couples in our area.

I’ve been fairly productive with art lately. I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy that’s inspiring me or maybe the feeling of spring which is always a positive time of year. When it comes to creating art it’s the mental obstacles that stand in my way the most (I am not good enough, my art is not pretty enough, it doesn’t look as good as x/y/z artist’s work, I don’t create as much as others so mine isn’t ‘valid’ somehow etc, the list goes on for a looooong time!). I can’t say I have found a specific way of battling these demons, but I am feeling slightly more confident lately and am really trying to tell myself that doing ANY art is all part of the process, whether I like the piece I end up with or not.

Pregnant Princess – I’d had the idea for doing a whimsy pregnancy painting floating around in my head for a while. After doing Bird in a Cage which had very dark colours, I wanted to do something with light and cheery colours. We’ve been working on our baby’s room and I wanted to make something that could possibly go up on the wall in there. I am quite pleased with how the piece turned out overall. I always find it scary to paint a face because I never feel like I have a lot of fine control over the expression, but it turned out OK (although quite different from the sketch I was working from!). I also like the colours and the textures.

Walking My Elephant – I actually don’t like this one particularly. I felt good about it when it was still a sketch, but then I started with the colour and stuff went wrong (the black outlines smudged around her mouth and I didn’t end up being able to fix it properly). Ironically I’ve had some comments from people that they like it and they think it’s cute. That just goes to show! I guess I like the concept but too much went wrong with the execution so it just left me with a bad feeling that I can’t seem to shake.

I Am Already Authentic – This one I like, both because of what it looks like and what it represents. This is an art journal spread that is the week 1 assignment of Tam’s free Art, Heart & Healing course. The aim of the assignment was to listen to my inner critical voice and write down all my self-criticisms and doubts. Then I gessoed over the words as a symbolic letting go. The next part was to paint a ‘self portrait’ and turn the criticisms into one positive statement (coming from the point of view that the critical self is only trying to protect us, albeit going about it in a negative and self-destructive way!).

For me the main theme that came out of this exercise is around not feeling authentic or special as I am, and always feeling like I have to be more like other people in order to be liked or loved or noticed. It’s a constant struggle as intellectually I know I am authentic and special and have my own unique message to impart, but I find it very hard to really feel and believe that as well. It is one of the many reasons I find it hard to create art and update my blog regularly as well! I often can’t imagine why anyone could possibly be interested in me or what I have to say. I am not saying that in a self-deprecating ‘pity me’ way by the way, I am just trying to illustrate some of my personal struggles around self-worth and authenticity.

Hint Of A Smile – A while back I did a workshop at Blade Rubber Stamps to learn how to make your own Japanese Stab Bound Journal. It was a fun class and at the end we took home our own album that we made during the class. I think it has about 15 pages in it with nice high quality paper (not watercolour paper but it’s fairly thick and very nice for art journalling on). This piece is on the first page of the album. It’s so nice to work in an album I created myself from scratch! Really adds to the feeling of ownership and pride. I am also very pleased with this page. I felt confident and in control about the face and I like the colours and level of complexity in the background.

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.

Art Journalling – A Safe Place

After creating Hetty & Dimitri‘s painting I wanted to do art more regularly, but found doing paintings quite intimidating (especially if they’re just ‘for me’, rather than a present). So I decided to get back into my art journal. I neglected art journalling for over a year due to judgements swirling around in my head. Thoughts about not feeling good enough, or not creating ‘pretty’ pages, or other people out there being better than me.

Then I thought to myself that I should really try to work through those negative thoughts, and not let them control me. An art journal (in theory) is the best place to do that. It’s much more of a ‘safe’ place than for example a canvas which leads me to pressure myself into having to create something ‘good’ (whatever that means, I am hyper critical of my own work, I’m sure other artists can relate). I am definitely learning to be more accepting of what I create and to take pleasure and satisfaction from creating in the first place rather than judging myself for creating something that looks rubbish and then punishing myself by feeling badly and not doing more art.

I especially like the whole ‘creating & moving on’ style of working. It’s all about the process and expressing yourself, not about a perfect finished product with not a hair out of place. It’s such a great platform for experimenting with technique, composition, materials, colours etc. Love!


Permission To Be Me
Aesthetically I don’t love this piece, but it is important to me because I was able to accept it and move on from it. The whole theme of the page is about giving myself permission to do and be, and not punishing myself for whatever arbitrary reason. It’s funny, because I am always so scared of negative comments or feedback, but the most negative and critical person to evaluate my art is me!


Worthy
I started this page back in 2008 (I think ‘worthy’ was a prompt from SuziBlu) when I painted the mice and the house with the girl. There were lots of words scribbled in the empty space and I hated the whole thing! Then the other week I decided to go back to it. I added the background and the stamped words and now I actually really like it. Such a simple addition but it made all the difference to me.


Princess and Her Castle
Not much of a story behind this one. I wanted to draw a whimsical girl and already had the idea in my head for a castle in the background. I initially had a sticker of a rose in the entrance of the castle but I got rid of it because I preferred the darkness/scariness of the black hole. I bought this amazing butterfly stamp which you can see in the background, it’s so pretty.


Doodles
Just some doodles I did for fun while on the train (which is why some of the lines are anything but smooth!). If you want to learn how to doodle I would highly recommend this video by Marieke Blokland. It’s awesome!


Growing, Learning, Loving
I had been thinking of doing a pencil sketch. I wanted to try a 3/4 face according to the things I had learned in Tam’s portrait class. It’s my first attempt at doing a non-front facing portrait and I found it quite difficult. Also I think I got confused and switched light sources about 4 times throughout drawing so the shading doesn’t necessarily make sense lol. Nevertheless I really do love this page as it was fun, good practice and I can see progress in my technique and I also like the composition.

A Short History of Nearly Everything

I bought A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson about 4 or 5 years ago. It has spent a long time sitting on my bookshelf unread because to tell you the truth I was a bit scared of it. I expected it to be full of confusing dates, names & numbers like a dry and boring history book.

Having read a couple of chapters I can let you know it does include a lot of dates, names & numbers. However it is also utterly compelling, interesting and most importantly readable.

The reason I picked it up now of all times, is because Andrew and I were reading some Wikipedia articles about how old the earth is and about when dinosaurs walked the earth (these are the things you do as a married couple, you see). It is so easy to get caught up in your own life and small circle of experiences that it hit me with the force of a meteor (har har): this is the same earth that dinosaurs walked on.

Now you might think “DUHHH”, but I find it seriously mind boggling to wrap my head around the fact that this ball of earth has seen creatures as fantastical as that, all in the same place where we now build our houses and schools and Burger Kings. Moreover, that creatures like that came into existence and evolved in the first place, that then they got wiped out and that then mammals evolved and we became us.. us who compared to the age of the universe have only been alive for a fraction of time.

It made me realise how temporary we are/could be. Not in terms of our individual lives (you are born and hope you live around 80 years and then you die), but the longevity of humans (or mammals and the rest of the animal kingdom in general). Looking at the history of the earth and seeing that all life was annihilated almost in its entirety several times and then started up again in a completely different configuration… It isn’t hard to assume that this will happen again (although on average it only seems to happen every several hundred million years or so.. so for now we’re safe to continue browsing the internet, going to the cinema and eating Ben & Jerry’s).

All of those thoughts came from reading a couple of Wikipedia articles and it made me want to know more, and the why and how of things. Hence I finally picked up the book and started reading. My only criticism so far is that it glances over how people found out about certain things. It will tell you so and so had a theory and it was proven blablabla, but to me, a layperson and certainly not a scientist, it doesn’t really explain those parts enough. What was it that really proved something in such a way that it was adopted as the mainstream scientific explanation of something? I am quite ready to believe scientific explanations ‘because scientist x’s research said so and y number of scientists agreed with the theory’ but I’d like to know how they came to that conclusion without having to learn the discipline.

I am crap at updating so it is safe to assume I will not share any further thoughts on this book or this subject in the future (although I will think about it lots and write numerous draft in my head with a much better style of prose than you’ll ever read from me). See you in 2011.

Ah yes, and in case you are not interested in reading my random philosophical musings, here, have some videos of my cat:

(If you are reading this post through RSS you will probably have to go to my actual site to see these)

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.

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.

Procrastination Across The Nation

Someone kick me and make me update already! I’ve been toying with the idea of updating my blog for about a month but I keep putting it off. So voila, an impromptu update with no topic or meaningful content whatsoever!

I just bought a Nintendo DS Lite off ebay, so I’m pretty excited about that! I got it because I’m going to Holland in a few weeks BY BUS. So for the lovely 10 hour journey I thought I’d get something to occupy myself with. Thing is, going by bus, AND buying a Nintendo DS, is still cheaper than flying… flying is quite expensive at the moment.

Since you didn’t ask, I’m going to Holland (my lovely country of birth and corruption – my corruption, not the country’s) to sign papers for my house which was sold. I’m also visiting my best friend from uni (who is American, studied in England, and then him and his Italian girlfriend moved to Holland.. go figure) who has recently had a child!! And I’m catching up with two of my best friends from high school who I last saw at my wedding where we really didn’t have enough time to properly talk.

A while back I started another painting. Similar to the one before, in the same watercolour Moleskine, with the same techniques, just a different face. I painted the face & hair, I still have to colour in her top and the background (have needed to do that for about 2 weeks now..) which I will get around to sometime, and then I will show you, because I know you’re practically dying to see it.

I’m watching season 1 of Gossip Girl at the moment and it makes me wish I was a teenager again because I have unresolved issues and there are lots of people I would totally kick in the teeth. But not literally. Also, I don’t really wish I was a teenager again because adolescence = hell with too many hormones.

Oh and last night I had this awesome dream and Nathan Fillion was in it.

I’m going to do a serious post (cue ominous music) soon in relation to this book I am reading. But I need to get in the mood to write about srs bsns, so not yet my pretties, not yet.

Also I don’t know why my site is so incredibly slow. Maybe it’s the theme? I just hope for your sake you are reading this through a feed reader.

Being Average

(I have to type really quietly because Andrew (the husb) is still asleep and gets very grumpy when woken up. Good luck to me, because my massive G15 keyboard is anything but quiet)

I have such a love/hate relationship with the internet. On the one hand I love it (I could extol the virtues of the internetz and modern technologies for a long time) but on the other hand it allows me to feel baaaaad about myself.

On the internet I encounter people who are just so much funnier than me, better writers than me, prettier than me, better artists than me etc. Some people when encountered with ‘competition’, will strive to do better. Me, I’m like the opposite. I get talent overload paralysis (real condition. No I just totally made that up but it sounds official) and just sit here staring at my screen unable to CREATE for fear that it will be AVERAGE.

Now I’m a pretty rational person. Logic > all, for me. I’ve been told by people they like my painting, they like my writing, they think I’m pretty. AND YET. 90% of me doesn’t believe it (the other 10% of me is a person with a superiority complex the size of Europe). So I continue to look at people who are ‘better than me’ and feel bad about myself. It doesn’t make sense… IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE PEOPLE!