Archives for category: Art

I haven’t felt Christmacy in years. Can’t say I’m excited, but I am looking forward to spending time at the female parental’s. Change is as good as a rest.

My dad was in hospital again: pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and left lung lower lobe collapse. I’m pretty sure there is a poem in there somewhere. He’s home now, and oddly happy. Then again, people do find relief when they feel heard. He’s had a sore nose for 14 months (this is an understatement) and they are going to have a look and see what damage was done when they had to pack it (that was one severe nosebleed!).

I’m thrilled to bits with the new diet, despite the problems that it’s causing me. The lack of pain is a major bonus. Combine that with the sleep that I have been getting and I’m feeling quite alert. And hopeful. Ish. (Let us not jinx this).

I’ve been making a shirt. I made my own pattern for it. I’m feeling really accomplished, or I will do when I sow the arms on and figure out how to make a neck line…

I don’t have much to say: things have been incredibly intense and I’ve been worried about all the stuff. I wanted to make a post that was a bit more positive and uplifting. I don’t know why… but I feel light and I’m not going to look too closely into that.

I’m going to wrap myself in a blanket and read a book. I’m not going to do anything else till after Christmas. That feels like a very normal and peaceful thing to be able to say. Hurrah! The calm after the storm. Hope the next one passes me by, I’m all stormed out and hoping for better weather.

Which reminds me of a poem I wrote many years ago:

Batten down the hatches

We’ve headed for stormy weather again

Close all the latches

Before you see my shame

I’ve studied all the catches

And still they’re all the same

Still batten down the hatches

And we’ll see if the weather will change.

I don’t think it’s a particularly strong poem, but it’s nice to look back and recognize how much growth there has been in these years of relentless destruction and destitution and hopelessness.

My writing group came to an end, but there are plans afoot to reinstate it next year. I’m also looking forward to being arm deep in clay. Might there be other wonders on the horizon yet to be uncovered? Imagine that? Things to look forward to rather than feel like I have to cling to scraps to survive.

Yes, I am feeling gratitude and that is a joyous thing.

So, dear friends, I wish you all Joyeux Noel and hope that the coming year brings you a lot of what you need, and a little of what you want. Dare I say, I hope you see a glimmer of things that you had not thought to hope for.

Before I begin, I have to tell you I am sick of resetting my password every time I sighn in. I want a cigarette. A mcfonals burger (u no hu I mean). And I want to get laid: well and often. I don’t think these are unreasonable requests, only 2 of the 3 will kill me, the third being mildly perilous. Well, the third is probably more likely to kill me presently but this is a wish list, shut up.

Having made a cross declaration to several people that I felt trapped by my inability to sculpt, someone said you can always use free things. Did I want to stab that person in the head? Yes, I did. Mindfulness, be damned. So and so uses cardboard, they’ve made some amazing things… blah blah kill me.

I want what I want, and for a change I’m going to get it. A friend has offered to be my patron. Imagine. A proper patron. It’s not enough to earn a living kind of patron, but it is a life saving and life affirming door opening kind of patron. I will be making ceramics very soon.

I’m still fighting the fight with the meds and sleep, but I have slept. Can you tell? I re-read some of my old prose and its really bloody good. Shame my recent stuff is very much me circa 1994. Painful. I’m bored of this bit already. Let’s move on.

I decided to accept a place on an assertiveness course. So far I have learned that you can ask for things and you will be given them. No, really. I needed help with travel, I got it. I told them I couldn’t eat their biscuits they bought me gluten free ones. This has been a week or two of receiving. How pleasant.

The assertiveness course… I’m. I’m. I’m.

Look. Things need to change in women’s services.

Women need to be stopped being asked to prevent their own abuse.

Seriously.

Just stop it.

And this notion that a ‘bad man’ is always a ‘bad man’ needs to change too. We need to be taught how to spot these bastards before we go to bed with them. That’s the problem isn’t it. They come with hearts and flowers and smiles first.

Apparently, assertive people talk with a warm voice. I told her I had issue with that. She was a bit surprised. Half the reason why myself and my class mates are in the mess we are in is because of our warm words and forgiving natures. We are saps. ill equipped to deal with the more predatory of our species.

We are here to get help to route them out before they bleed us dry. The bosses, friends, boyfriends, parents: whom ever chooses to leech off us… And we won’t learn how to do that with your Disney villain caricatures. We are no princesses, there are no knights, there is no justice. Just us and a packet of biscuits, gluten free or otherwise.

You run out of steam. Where once it might have taken you 18 months, suddenly, it’s six weeks. Or worse, six days. The things you want to do are continually put aside in order to have the reserves to invest in your health and well being. The doctors appointments, the dole appointments, the job interviews…

You want to keep up with the house work, but it crowds you out. Moving the bedrooms round so you can minimize noise pollution from your neighbour is more important than washing up: because you need to sleep. The tablets the doctor prescribed affect other health conditions, so the ten day respite you’ve had, becomes a painful nightmare and the sleep train is brought to a halt.

You phone a ‘help line’, who is there to support you in your time of need… They fire off so many questions it’s plain they are not listening to your answers: they have their own agenda. Basically, that’s to punt you onto the online forums so you can have a whinge and a moan with other people in your situation. No thanks. With my level of skill and self awareness I become an unpaid support worker. Fuck you, pay me.

Having a minor panic attack you phone the Samaritans and hope to god that you get to speak to someone who is not going to patronise you. GOLD!!! You strike gold. This woman is clearly born into money, but she has empathy in spades. She’s intelligent and humorous and sees you. I mean, she really did see me. I felt held. I felt encouraged. I felt less of an alien for her observation of “You’re clearly quite cultured”.

I have described myself as a working class person with middle class tastes. I internalize a lot of snobbery and inverse snobbery and all kinds of other class war, class consciousness issues. I am pained sometimes by the things I like. The things that I am unable to access, to participate in, and enjoy guilt free. If I had money, these pleasures would not bring pain. It’s perverse.

Then you start to thinking about what kind of pet project you have been and have become. I want to take this lady out of the equation, she was fully congruent, she knew some of the emotional battles I was going through if nothing else. And there have been poorer (in every sense) people than her to not get the fact that £3 to get to a free community event is not free.

I am not putting blocks in my own path. I can not afford to pay for clay. I can not afford to pay for travel to doctors appointments, let alone social gatherings for the poor and dispossessed. And I do want to go, I do want to engage, but it takes energy and money both of which are finite. If you work in support, can you be more mindful of the realities of the people you are trying to support.

I got flashed, people, that’s what happened. I had to hit that man to get him to leave me alone (he started to follow me). I told him I was going to hit him, and then I popped him, twice. My wrist was sore for weeks. When I asked you who the Boss was a few posts back, I meant my answer, I’m the freakin Boss.

I have to clear a few things up… It wasn’t my stepfather that stopped the counselling it was my mother. My mother went out of her way to make my 40th Birthday a bit of an extravaganza. I start the writing course in two weeks, and I am going to resurrect my book. I’m volunteering for two projects and I’m applying for a writing internship, a paid one! I am learning to make my own clothes.

After living in dire straights for so long a little money goes a long way. So when I nervously asked for money for my birthday, I was very pleased to find myself the proud owner of £300. I bought a lot of material and I fished out my Nan’s sewing machine. I am halfway through making my first pair of trousers.

I also bought three pairs of shoes from Blend. I spent my 30th sailing the fjords of Norway and traveling through the mountains, during that time I bought some trainers. I took a pair in every colour they had: green, blue, red, orange… Something made me look them up this year (nostalgia) and there they were. Now, thanks to the wonder of having friends in foreign places and an internet connection I am proud owner of said trainers. £50 for the lot. Thank you, very much.

I was treated to a weekend away by my mum. We did nothing but eat and drink for three days. We even managed not to descend into complete anarchy. Which is somewhat shocking since we were both drinking. I decided to give up for a few days trying to avoid ‘drunk mother’. Amazingly, my new counsellor ain’t that bad, and I’ve moved from a place of anger to real forgiveness. Not the sticking plaster kind, but a lasting forgiveness. I’m glad because anger is exhausting. So is drinking, I don’t know how people find the stamina to become addicted…

Whilst I was preparing for this writing course, I went through my books and found ‘the book’. I couldn’t put it down, even I want to know how it turns out! It’s also given me the confidence to apply for an internship as a writer. I do not publicise this blog not just because I want to maintain my anonymity, but because I fear my own writing. I worry about my consistency, I worry about my pitch and I am terrified of my grammar. I might not if I renamed the blog “Fuck off, I am Dyslexic” but I’m trying to work on my amiability.

I had a few interviews, which after years of having none is a bloody relief, and while volunteering is not ideal it does give me something to concentrate on. Both projects are in areas that I feel particularly challenged so I am hoping to get as much out as I put in this time. My waistline is also thanking me. I signed up to OKSTUPID again. I don’t know why I bother because most of them scare me, but it’s something to do to relieve the ongoing tragicomic monotony that is my life post recession.

My orchids bloomed. I stopped smoking. And I got thanked for being a feminist!

I renounced Buddhism.  I said to myself this is not working!  I realised my life was not shifting.  I had a brief thing with a disrobed Buddhist monk.  This thing we had, full of friction and misunderstandings, brought me back to Buddhism.  If you have been following for a while, you’ll know that I am ever contrary.  I was super focused and full of I’ll show you, but he showed me.

I went for refuge, dedicated a set amount of time to prayer and reflection.  I chose the Green Tara Puja, twice a day for three weeks. It was like something from ‘Eat, Love, Pray’ or what ever it’s called.  I spent a lot of time crying and shouting.  During that time I decided to go volunteer at my local Buddhist Centre, got rid of my mad monk and tried for a job in Housing.

I believe that is where I left you?  Since then the centre has upped my days and made me chief soup maker.  Each week I make soup for 40 people; it’s incredible the quality of reflecting you do chopping onions. They offer more days, but anyone who has worked in a cafe will be able to tell you it is hard work. I am unable to take more on.

Where was I?

1) I volunteer in the cafe.
2) I’ve submitted an article for a website, for a paid gig.
3) I am designing an album cover, which I am being paid for.
4) I went on a retreat to the biggest Temple in Britain and had the most amazing time.
5) I am letting go. Ha! I know! But seriously, I really am letting go.
6) I work for a Talent Agency as a Social Media Officer and they want to give me more work.
7) I am still getting rid of the mountain of possessions that I acquired in the old flat. I had a lot of stuff.
8) I am practicing mindfulness every day.
9) I’m speaking up.
10) I am learning to stay with who I am, not who I was. Or rather, now I can no longer hide behind my work as a Hostel Support Worker, I am figuring out who I am really. Turns out, I’m quite shy underneath this balshy exterior.
11) I’m still allergic to the cat!
12) I recently went on a date with a nice man, who wanted to see me again. I declined, as nice as he was, he wasn’t for me. I’m still looking.

I laugh every day, speak with my friends and loved ones regularly, spend time on my own through choice and work on my house (it’s a bit more broken than I thought it was). I’m looking forward to better weather so I can get out walking again, I miss it. I haven’t written anymore for the book, but it is still there, waiting patiently for my return. And I am returning. I’m going back to the beginning and doing things right this time, slowly and with patient effort.

Happy Spring.

As a child and teenager I used to enter these periods and I would endure them for a short while and shake them off like water. I’d make a motivation and step through walls and climb mountains. The time I experienced the Long Dark Night of the Soul, I sincerely thought that I would not make it out alive. Until of course I shook that off also. It took years. Maybe 10, maybe 14. I still functioned, I progressed in many ways, in ways that were unexpected. And yet, on other levels, I was barely alive. I was moving through this world like a ghost.

Despite acquiring wealth, possessions, stability, a degree, a reputation as a person with integrity among friends and within my career… I felt like a fraud. At times I was angry and anti-social, at times I was classically depressed, at the lowest point I was 100% convinced that there were secret messages hidden in songs, which contained clues about how to resolve my emotional pain. Fortunately, I had an infatuation with a Muslim man who talked to his Imam about me. His Imam said I was seeking refuge in music, ever the Contrarian I said, “I’ll show you”! I wrote a poem and then silenced my stereo for the better part of 3 years.

These songs? This endless list of songs I play, they are just songs with lyrics or melodies that move me. They may be relevant to my current emotional state, they may not, they may be directed at one person, a group or solely at myself; they are all just songs. Audio glitter to sparkle dreary days and nights, there are no secret messages contained within.

There is an understanding that none of this even remotely matters. In my heart of hearts I know that I can unravel this life, right now. I could just choose to walk out of the door and disappear into the night. Thousands of people do it every year, some stay gone for days, weeks, months… some for years. Personally, I have always known that regardless of how far I travel I will always have to take myself with me. And so I ran away standing still; in comfort.

I used to engage in day dreams in absence of action. When I was trapped by my circumstances I resorted to my rich and fertile imagination. Sometimes, these fantasies bled into real life and I was dragged into a shared reality when other people strayed from my script. I hated it when people did not respond in accordance with my dreams. I used to mind read. That is to say, I used to believe that I knew what other people where thinking and feeling, and would rarely ask even reasonable questions.

Since my grandmother died, I entered a period of existential crisis. I am not depressed, I am not stressed, I am slightly numb, occasionally angry (I am not patient); I have chosen to experience this state of being as a period of waiting. I am waiting. What am I waiting for? The bodies of my enemies to pass me by? No. Sometimes our enemies have the most valuable lessons to teach us. What I am waiting for is a revelation.

I am waiting for a door, that once opened wide can not be closed, that will not be ignored. I’m waiting for the wisdom to recognise that door when I see it, rather than when I’ve gone so far passed it I’ve lost it. In the mean time I am meditating on my weaknesses and learning what to do with them. Accept them or develop them into strengths. I know that any time I can change this life, with a word, a thought, an action. I am not powerless. I might not be fully self actualising, or perhaps in going for refuge, I *am*.

These are dangerous times. The world is going crazy. We can only make it a better place by being as authentic as we can, with ourselves and other people. We have to learn that sometimes the people who smile the most tell the most damaging lies. We have to understand that other people sometimes have a vested interest in making sure we fail. It absolves them of having to take responsibility for their own lives and subsequently the consequences of their own choices.

We have the power to unravel this life, now. Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective, sometimes it requires something more radical. But we, no one else, are responsible for our current realities. The only advice I have that is of any use is this: When making decisions make sure mind, body and soul are in alignment. A sense of calm will help you know when you have made the right choice, and you will be able to act with authenticity. Be kind. Yes, to yourself and other people.

Play Your Cards To Your Heart – Groove Armada

1) Send out an email. There are too many recipients for this email. So send out 5 emails. Do some social media stuff.

2) Download something. Download a bittorrent. Download a template. Down load the thing. Install the thing. Do something to the thing. Re-upload the thing.

3) Arts council funding bid for a really bloody good project, that someone has potentially plagiarised from me. Why didn’t I keep my stuff more secret? Why didn’t I apply for more funding? Why did I get disheartened at the first hurdle and throw it all away.

4) Apply for a job.

5) Make a poster

6) Finish a piece of art and find someone to by it, so I can fulfill a promise I made.

7) Put some stuff on a bidding site to sell.

8) Take some things to charity. More things.

9) Respond to an email from an old friend saying thanks but no thanks… Why aren’t these people leaving me alone? It’s been years… What am I to conclude from the fact that people I am trying to leave behind refuse to be left?

10) Sort out volunteering at the local Buddhist Centre.

11) Send a reminder email to someone about volunteering my time to give benefits advice to people who are in need.

12) Go pick up somethings from a friends. Do things with the things.

13) Apply oil paints to an existing piece of art (recently made).

14) Call my mum.

15) Stop devoting brain energy to certain people, who are not even in the same city as me.

16) Write more book.

17) Call my dads and brother

and on and on and on and on and on and on and on… It feels like a land slide… I have to make some doctors appointments and attend some clinics too. I just want a hug really. From someone who loves me. A real physical hug, from a man, who loves me. I’d like to sleep properly and I’d like to move again. I’m feeling really claustrophobic.

I did manage to do several positive things today, but then someone stole my joy by telling a rape joke. It wasn’t funny. They never are. Did you know that if you tell someone who has told a rape joke that they are not funny, you reduce instances of rape. FACT. Don’t be a baby dude, tell your friend he’s not funny. I would, but we all know what happens when ‘teh menz’ are ask by women not to be arseholes.

Get Here If You Can – Oleta Adams.

OK let me get this out the way… I’m having technical issues… I do not like the way that I have to faff to make a post and honestly, if I wanted double spacing or what ever I would use it. And I don’t like the blue they use. Nope. Finding the dashboard is a chore too. It’s distracts me every time I sit down to write.

There is a fly behind the curtains, I don’t even know how they keep getting in! I had to stop writing to chase it out of the house, but not before I had a moment watching it crawl over the glass looking for a way out. I couldn’t chase the thought that appeared cos the buzzing broke it. This is a blog about my Tickertapemind after all…

I need new terminology, but I’ll explain that in a different post. Perhaps.

I have some great things I would like to show you but I am unable because they are not live on-line yet. Which in some senses makes this a bit of a non-post. But it isn’t because of these:

1) Yo! Old friends! I had chance to catch up with some of your blogs. Looking good. Plenty of motion and gratitude in these pages and you know that I am responding to that, having been stuck in a rut this last month.

2) Yo! New friends! I see you too. It takes me a while to catch up, but I check out the blog of every new like and follower. I don’t like randomly as I have dyslexia and only follow blogs I think I can learn from, but it takes me time to honour that. Thank you for dropping by. :)

3) And a little brag… I kid you not… I liked a post by David Mack about a piece of work that he did with Neil Gaiman (there is your internet homework, you haven’t had some for a while so don’t complain!) I hope you find a picture of the finished product… Well I liked it and shared it on my FB wall and then David Mack himself liked my post. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :D Totally epic!

Tennessee by Arrested Development
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Patti Smith
Q.U.E.E.N. by Janelle Monae ft. Erykah Badu

If you only utube one song make it the last and get down, cos the booty don’t lie!

A break. The clouds slide apart and the fog ceases its slow descent, covering the mountain of my mind… Preparing to hunker in for a cold winter, despite my best efforts to keep the dark at bay… Soothing myself, it will be OK. This is a natural reaction to a stressful situation, you are not going crazy. Anyone would be blue in your shoes…

I told my boss that I could no longer volunteer with the Stroke Group. He listened to every thing that I had to say and as I finished, “She’s more interested in the end result than the process” we both looked at each other surprised. I am not known for process.  I was not known for process. He is going to observe a few sessions.

Then I got home, to find and email, inviting me to interview for one of the MOST AMAZING JOBS that I have ever applied for. Young Women’s Engagement Worker with the children of female offenders. Such an outstanding opportunity. I know that there is no guarantee that I will get the job, but at least I am not deluding myself about my skills. I got an interview.

1) She said, “You live life in orange but talk in blue”. At the time my response was honest. But right now struggling to sleep I am failing to keep a grip, my fingers are slipping.

2) I have pain in my shoulder, it’s a physical reminder of unfinished business.

3) I slept well last night after having burst a little bubble with the idiot neighbour. It felt really good to hoover at 7 am and sing “Ramases Callosus!” at the top of my voice. You will not fuck up my sleep and then have a lay in.

4) Too right Saul Williams, I have a list of demands! They are not written on the palm of my hands, they are branded into my heart and I forgot what they were, now I can’t read them because of all the scar tissue.

5) Yeah, telling my Aunt to fuck off was liberating. She called and started swearing, talking shit about Nans will. When I told my mum, she said she was proud of me. Said my Aunt needed to know she was talking to a woman not a child. I still feel like a child. It made me sad when she said she missed me. I think I prefer it when we argue so I don’t have to acknowledge how much it hurts her living hundreds of miles away.

6) Yes my friend you were right, I do have issues, but they were not daddy ones and I don’t need you to fix them. You play the car game and it’s not funny anymore. If you want me in the car let me open the door, if not drive away. Or what the hell is wrong with me, why aren’t I walking away?

7) Back to not allowing hugs from certain folk because… because… because…

8) All the motivations I make mean nothing.  If I want something I walk through fire and move mountains to get them. I’m not fighting for shit. And I thought I was tired of fighting and needed respite, but at least I knew I was alive. Not that I want to punish my self, no no no… I’m through with that. Or am I?

9) I thought I was frightened too, but I think the only thing I am scared of is ridicule. I find myself ridiculous. I don’t really care that much what most people think of me.

10) This is the last time I lay awake thinking about that woman… I can’t tolerate the way she talks to people. Last week she punished me for offering the clients tea ten minutes before they where due a break, the clients noticed the interaction and I couldn’t hold my professionalism together long enough to wriggle out of it. I hid. I spent the whole session in a different room, when I could just as easily have performed my task in the main hall. Anything so I didn’t have to listen to her kvetching about the clients ‘doing it all wrong’. This class is not mandatory, they are not children and this is fucking art!

11) I wanted to cry. I want a cigarette, but I wanted to cry. Because of new neighbour I didn’t, I didn’t want to wake her, I wanted to fucking howl the place down. So I got up, and by the time I got downstairs I just wanted the cigarette. And now I have stuck tears. This is bullshit. I have keys to my friends house, I could literally break into her house and steal some tobacco, I wouldn’t want to give her hear attack though.

12) I’m reading old writing… perhaps it isn’t wise at the moment.

13) Yes, I know that you have defriended me on FB and the truth is I couldn’t care less. I know why. It doesn’t reflect well on you. Hu-fucking-rah! I made some progress.

14) GOD DAMMIT! Yet more application forms with no sign of interviews, no responses to the funding queries and the money I saved from working is all gone. Gone, gone, gone.

I want to be anywhere but here. Or nearly anywhere, I am not so broken as to court disaster… but seriously, something has to give before I do.