Realisations, exhibitions, summer, and such

Good morning.

The lazy blogger in me was about three sentences into a Facebook update when I realised I have a perfectly good blog sitting patiently, waiting for an update. Oh, blog, I have missed you.

There’s something nice about the long-form ‘status update’ that is done for reasons of expression rather than a quick blurt about how my morning/afternoon/evening/sandwich is going. I love Twitter still (even though my habits there have drifted a bit in recent times) and I tolerate Facebook, but blogging goes right back to the writing I did in html on a manually updated static site way back in the mid 90s. Jesus, I’ve been typing for a web eternity.

So, what was I saying on the faceplace? I am having a good September, if one compares it to the months/year or more that preceded it. Yup, I said it: September is good. I went through some desperately bad times before now, and although I still struggle with anxiety, depression, and the chattering monkey of ADHD, I am feeling a climb out of the hole happening during September. Here’s what’s going on (in no particular order):

I have a new video art tuition endeavour that is off to a magnificent start. Not only have I surpassed my own quiet goals on enrolments and potential earnings, I have smashed it and my class on Skillshare has earned enough to at least pay a whole month’s rent. I’ll know more when payday happens on the 16th, but by my estimates, the time and effort spent in writing, filming, editing, and promoting my very first class have been worth it. I have several more classes planned and partially scripted, so this will be a huge help in the ongoing battle to earn as a full-time artist. The success of this spoke in my professional wheel has had an uplifting effect on my mood, of course. I plan to release another video class this month, and that’s going to be hard work since I’m also preparing for…

Cruel and Curious ‘Sanctuary’ is a group exhibition taking place on the 23rd and 24th of this month. I was pleased with my personal success at the event last year, and so I handed in a proposal for involvement again. Work is going well on my part of the show, and the puzzle pieces of details are beginning to form wholes. I am producing more of an interactive experience this time around, which is no small feat. I am quietly confident it will at least be interesting, even if sales of works don’t match the success I enjoyed last year. People will remember the thing I’m doing, and that will contribute to long-tail returns.

Oh my goodness I’m typing typing typing. I think my blog is sweating.
And so am I. Daily. I’m fed up with being chubby. I’m about 15 pounds overweight for my size and after years of neglect, I started doing daily exercise again. There was a time when my yoga body was a thing to be proud of, and I’m determined to get that back. I am moving around and eating less, and taking a little better care of myself because the alternative is to continue to look at photos of myself life modelling (naked) or candid, clothed shots on Facebook etc., where I wonder how the hell I let myself go. My face is young but my body has been ignored for far too long. This stops in September, and continues for as long as I am able. It’s gonna do my brain a world of good too.

There are other things I’d love to write about (getting flowers, selling art, private tuition students, figuring out that it’s ok to hire someone to cut the grass, beach cleans, and more), but I have a puppy to go walk – not mine, but I’m a proud ‘aunty’ to a gorgeous setter/welsh collie mix – and you’re probably at the end of a tasty beverage anyway and maybe need a wee.

I’ll just have to write another post soon. I have a lot to catch up on… Hello, world, I’m blogging again.

Peppermint tea, tunnels, tears

“I need you better.”
Say what you will about the somewhat universally detested word “moist”, this phrase kills me. The irony being that I’ve used it in speaking to someone with depression too. We are not immune from the helpless feeling just because we understand deeply what depression feels like. “I need you better” has more desperate weight to it when coming from a person who also suffers. Depression for the depressed is like cold germs and easily passed to each other. The mood volley in this house has been relentless. I don’t remember what it’s like to live in a happy home.

This isn’t to sound melodramatic; it is the truth. I’m sat in bed with my laptop trying desperately to get out some thoughts. I have been struggling particularly hard with depression all week. This morning, I showered, but without any ability to stand in the cubicle. I washed myself slowly, huddled in the corner, feeling numb. After emerging, I dried, and went to lay down, feeling unwell in my stomach. I was unable to think.

Pete sat next to me. I was naked, on my stomach, being asked what’s wrong, talk to me, and me only able to say “I don’t know” before tears. Gentle words “take the day off” and “I need you better” soon followed.

I need me better, too. It’s just not very straightforward. It’s almost like being in a tunnel and you know there’s going to be an end, but the tunnel is still under construction and length keeps getting added to it. I was thinking about pedestrian walkways in tunnels in Spain and how there’s a sign with the distance in metres to the end. For me, the number doesn’t seem to be decreasing as I move forward. I have countless hundreds of metres to go before I reach better.

I have lived with depression and depressed persons all my life. My mother, my former husbands, Pete. There must be something that draws us to one another, perhaps out of a need for understanding, perhaps an unconscious want to help someone else cope with a thing you know well, I don’t know, but there is an attraction.

It can be a difficult relationship, living and loving when there is depression in both individuals. Depression becomes cyclical between co-habiting people, like passing a yawn, but at least both parties understand where the other is coming from. In this situation, unlike – I imagine – what it’s like to live with someone without depression, “I need you better” is not so much a pep talk but a plea. Like asking to put pressure on a bleeding wound for the greater good. I need you better, because we need to stop the bleeding for us both. It is not selfish to not want to be next; it’s wanting to reach the end of the tunnel and emerge in sunlight.

After crying a bit, I was still laying on my bed unable to move. I thought about writing to hopefully purge some of the darkness, get my brain working. I gathered the strength to ask for a pair of panties from the clean laundry basket across the room, my laptop, and a peppermint tea (for my queasy belly). Now, I’m dressed, warm, and typing. I am still hurting.

But it’s a start.

Life isn’t an IKEA catalogue

Oh, but wouldn’t it be nice. The drawers, the natural light pouring in from large windows, house plants, the scattered cushions, the just-right level of mismatched-but-perfectly-quirky patterns and colours… No clutter, except for the photogenic kind. Adore it all as I do, I realise I will never have an IKEA catalogue home, and I’ve just become OK with it. I even recently used my collection of IKEA catalogues as stove fuel. I had around fifteen years of those on my bookshelf like they were precious yearbooks of design. Not anymore.

A friend “liked” a post on Facebook by a mum who nearly but didn’t send an apology to a friend for the state of her house before that friend was due over for a coffee. She realised that having the clutter, chaos, stains, yesterday’s makeup on, and a funky smelling house was part of life itself. She decided to be unapologetic for living. I find myself in the same boat at times, living in a too-small house, where two people with lots of stuff work and live.

Life at Penwarren is tricky. Our kitchen is a terrible design and difficult to keep clean on the best of days. We have no living room because it was sacrificed to become my studio. The office is a small, cluttered space of computers, a couple comfy chairs (in lieu of a sofa) facing gaming TVs, and a bunch of necessary hardware and toolboxes for Pete’s occupation as a tech wizard. The junk of life spills into every available space here like water through a cracked cup. And you know what?
It’s OK.

So next time someone comes over, I’m not apologising for the state of the house. It’s not a biohazard, it usually smells nice (we love incense), and I’ll clear a spot for coffee cups. This is a working environment and a living home. Life is not tidy, and I’d get nothing done if it was. Not to say I wouldn’t like a bigger house, but I’m grateful for what I have right now and all the creative thought it takes to work *with* my environment, not against it.

Who needs a sofa anyway.

sharing too much since 2003