Image

Brave : New Year Goals & Dreams

Can you believe it is a New Year’s AGAIN???  Where did 2017 go?  Actually, I don’t really care where it went – I just want it gone.  It was a pretty dreadful year.  Seems like everyone had it tough, in one way or another, and that the Universe was plotting against us by making kooky, crazy, scary and random things happen.  To be fair, the Universe does that all the time, but this year it seemed to just say “Ah, to hell with it!’ and just chucked everything it could at us.  Probably serves us right – maybe we needed some more wake up calls.  Especially me, I always sleep in 🙂

This was, until five seconds ago when I deleted all the text I’d spent ages typing, a very long post about my resolutions for the new year.  The usual stuff about losing weight, being more sociable, being a better housekeeper etc.  But I am actually feeling that those things are all part of the bigger picture of me just trying to be better than I am now.  And the majority of the things I want to change about myself all hinge on one thing, or my lack thereof : bravery.

I’m not very brave.  I am basically scared of everything.  In some ways, I guess that makes me braver than I think I am, because instead of curling up in my bed and staying there forever (which is what I really want to do pretty much every day lately), I get up and go out into the world.  Which is scary for me.  Always has been.  I don’t understand the world and it doesn’t understand me.

This week was hard.  I had to make decisions that were difficult and upsetting and made me feel horrible about myself and my judgements.  I don’t like hurting people, but this week I had to do that to someone who was hurting me.  And then it made me question whether or not they actually were hurting me, or if my fear and lack of courage was affecting my perception of the situation.  But I had to stand up for myself and that was hard.  I don’t do it often and it is not a comfortable feeling for me.  I am generally more at ease backing down or tolerating things, even if the other person is in the wrong.  So instead of feeling good about standing up for myself, I feel horribly sad and guilty and keep wondering if the other person is ok.

I had another situation where I had to be assertive (a man had left his dog in a hot car and he he did not take kindly to me suggesting that he move the car, or preferably the dog, into the shade) and it ended up with me in tears and, frankly, afraid that I was going to get punched in the face.  I did not feel victorious or proud of myself.  I felt scared and small and again questioned whether I was in the right.

I had to assert myself at work too – in front of a bunch of colleagues – and that was very difficult also.  Again, I was in the right, but it felt very wrong to stand there and say “Excuse me, but that is my responsibility I have to ask you to let me handle that”.  I ended up apologising to the person afterwards because I felt so rotten about it, even though I was only stating what was true and defending my own job.

So, if I am to pick one resolution for this year, it is to be brave.  And to stop apologising for having feelings and opinions and ideas of my own.  And to make the hard decisions when I have to, and stand by them.  And not let my fear of losing people stop me from standing up for myself and my own needs and values.  And, most importantly, to embrace change and not fear it.  I feel like this year is going to be a year of change and I have to be ready for that, one way or the other.

So, here’s to bravery and self-belief.  And to standing up for what you believe in.  And to not letting someone else tell you how you should live your life.

Thank you for reading – Happy New Year to you all.  May 2018 bless you with many wonderful experiences, and the courage to embrace them all.  Be kind to one another and yourselves this year.

x

IMG_2342.JPG
That’s iced tea, by the way, not wine…
Image

Changeling (Collage)

Another day, another collage… I am just continuing with the cuttin’ and pastin’ at the moment, as that’s what I am in the mood to do.  I have learnt to not fight these moods and just go with it.  I finished this piece in record time, even though it was a larger canvas (8 x8″) and a much larger image than I am used to working with.  I was a bit nervous drawing those antennae in…a steady hand was required and a steady hand I do not possess.  However – deep breath held – I managed to do them (in permanent marker no less – scary!)) and I am kinda pleased with the way they look.  Silly how something as tiny as a symmetrical, even and non-wonky pair of antennae can make you happy 🙂

I struggled for ages (as per usual) to find the right word for this fellow but then I came across “changeling” and it seemed to fit.  Not exactly a faerie baby swapped at birth for a human bub, but still…the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is magical in itself. Besides, one of my favourite books is “The Stolen Child” by Keith Donohue, and that’s about changelings and, well, that has nothing to do with this picture whatsoever, but I am going to reference here it anyway, so there!

IMG_0016

Back to work tomorrow, where I become a different kind of changeling.  One who has to swap their magical, delightful, pyjama-wearing, tea-drinking world of art-making for their less than thrilling “proper” job.  Sigh… But one must pay for art supplies (and tea), so jobs are a necessity.  And a blessing, if you take into account the tough economic times we are in.  I do try to remember that, but it’s hard some days when I would rather be up to my eyeballs in art materials than over due library books.

This week I am trying to make some changes though.  I’ve started a meditation course (literally just started it last night – I will sitting cross-legged on the floor omming before you know it!), I’m determined to try and get up earlier (or at least on time), and I am going to work very hard on reducing my stress.  After a series of medical tests showed there was no physical reason why I should be having some of the health issues I’m experiencing, I have to accept that I allow stress to effect my life too much.  I have to take charge and be responsible for my own well-being.  Which is tricky.  But I’m going to try.  And keep trying.  And trying even when I don’t feel like it.  Which, I fear, will be most of the time.  Because change is hard, and even something unpleasant like being stressed-out all the time can be a hard habit to break.  It will mean I have to start  worrying less about everyone (difficult) and learning to say NO sometimes (nearly impossible) and being less critical of myself (completely impossible).  But I gotta try.

I don’t think I will become a butterfly overnight, but maybe I can slowly-but-surely break out of my cosy anxiety/stress/worry cocoon and give those crumpled-up wings a bit of an airing.  And who knows?  Once I’m out, maybe my antennae will be less wonky than I imagine them to be 🙂

x

Image

Quote for the Day : Stronger and Stranger

“…My kids are starting to notice I’m a little different from the other dads. “Why don’t you have a straight job like everyone else?” they asked me the other day.  I told them this story:

In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, “Look at me…I’m tall, and I’m straight, and I’m handsome. Look at you…you’re all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you.” And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, “Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest.” So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day…”

-― Tom Waits

 img_4993