So I’ve done some art, yay! I’ve been struggling to create, which is always tough for me because I speak through my artwork, and if I’m not creating, it’s all just stuck in my head. And what’s that saying? Better out than in, right? So I went back to basics to try and reset my brain - dried flowers, moody lighting, one strobe at an angle. Simple portraits, nothing special, but I had something to edit. Creativity is like a muscle, so I’m flexing to get stronger so I can start to create something of meaning and value again, hopefully.
My body has changed, and I'm still learning to appreciate it and everything it does for me. I took part in a workshop held by an amazing artist, singer, and photographer named Beth Flynn. The workshop took place in one of my favourite local galleries, Found. I had been to Beth's opening a few days before the workshop to take the work in as it really resonated with me. It was great to see the gallery packed. I really missed going to exhibition openings, and I'm glad that part of my life is getting back to normal after the turbulence of the past few years.
The workshop was very inspirational but also oddly calming. The environment felt positive from the start, and it was easy to feel safe, strong, and vulnerable all at once. Beth talked us through the work, her process, and her mission. I feel like I become who I'm meant to be when I'm with creative and sensitive women in a collaborative environment. I've realised now that it's the connection I have been looking for. Perhaps it's because I pick up on vibes, so when I'm around like-minded people, I can be my best self without feeling judged and insecure. Or maybe it's because I see the person I want to become.
Beth also took some photos, I'm looking forward to seeing the outcome and it was fascinating to watch her work. She was almost musical in the way she created. I often find myself slightly rigid and over-technical when I'm working. I overthink my process, which takes away from the freedom creating is all about. Listening to Beth talk and watching her work reminded me that being an artist is about self-expression and that it should be liberating and powerful.
I left the workshop feeling good, it was great to unwind and be expressive but to also have a better understanding of my body and how it should hold itself in my work. The workshop felt almost like therapy, I was lighter leaving.
I love the textures in these, the tones, and the feel of the images. I'm definitely trying to celebrate my body more, but it's not easy...
Unraveling Trauma to Reclaim my Dreams...
In other news there's something wrong with me... no, really. I've been to see a psychiatrist, and we are working it out. Well, they are, after all, they are the professionals, right? I've started seeing a counsellor again, a different one from last time, and so far it's going okay. It's not ideal with the cost of everything going up, but as I keep getting told, 'I need to look after myself.' They also suggested that I start EMDR therapy and get some assessments done, including an ADHD screening, so once again, I'm on another waiting list. I'm tired; masking is exhausting.
I'm very fortunate that I have strong people and my family in my life. They pick me up, and I fall a lot. I often feel like they just put up with me, but I'm trying to get into her mindset that they want to put up with me.
I know now I have my people, good people, kind people. However, I worry about the kind people, the people who will listen, the people who will not judge, the energy it takes. Empathy is a gift, but it can come with exhausting consequences.
I'm trying to set better boundaries. They are not meant to be barriers. If anything, they are meant to help me grow in an authentic, healthy manner. Yes, there is a wall around me... but it has a door. Sometimes people are allowed inside, sometimes they are allowed to stay.
Talking to the psychiatrist was difficult. Not in the way that was particularly upsetting, but it was mentally exhausting. Remember, up until a few years ago, I was still holding onto many secrets, partly out of some weird kind of family loyalty. I thought I had a responsibility for but also out of a sense of shame for my parts. The dysfunction and trauma that had infected my upbringing somewhat also felt like my doing. Having had a few chats with mental health professionals, as well as work colleagues and friends over the past few years, I now understand that firstly, my upbringing wasn't 'normal' at all. It was abusive and neglectful, and secondly, that wasn't my fault or any of my siblings. But still, having to drag it all up and tell people about the incidents that have left a mental mark is exhausting, especially when you are opening up about something tricky, and you see the look on the person's face you are explaining yourself too. Tricky indeed.
My biggest issue is still sleeping, the lack of it, the nightmares and vivid weird dreams I endure when I finally drift off to the land of nod have an effect on my day-to-day life. So my sleep, along with a few other symptoms of C-PTSD/PTSD, is why I will be starting the EMDR therapy.
It sounds really intense and long, but a peaceful night's sleep would be nice, so what have I really got to lose right?! My overthinking is killing me.
My thoughts and memories are like scabs I can't stop picking, shamefully hiding out of sight while I dig away drawing blood, flooding my brain. Over and over in a compulsion. Again, a symptom that the EMDR is used to help control.
There are so many letters being used, OCD, C-PTSD, ADHD, and EMDR. I'm overwhelmed, and I do not want a label. However, the psychiatrist was helpful, and I'm looking forward to the assessment in a way (however long I'm waiting for) because it's good to know what's 'wrong' so I can better equip myself going forward.
So I guess for now I’ll keep writing, talking and creating art…even when I feel like I'm fading away.
I’ve used an AI app to spell check this entry so I’m hoping there are less typos than usual.. but who knows! At first I was really freaked out by the idea of AI but now I can see that it’s a creative tool and can make a process more efficient, meaning less time stressing about typos and more time creating!
Get Involved- The shape of us
I really like blogging. It feels very 'me,' and it's great to do something we love, right? I've wanted to do this style of work for years, but I wasn't ready to open up about my artwork as I am now.
I'm really finding my voice, and this has given me a deeper reason for creating. However, having my own voice doesn't feel like enough. We all have stories and struggles that are different. Art for me is about connection, awareness, and storytelling, and I believe that together, there is so much awareness to be spread.
Sound like something you may be interested in? Great! Let's tell some stories together!
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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