I really have been kind of busy with art during my long summer holiday from the madness that is teaching. I have two more weeks until I return to that craziness, and working out how to juggle creating artworks for two books with the demands of teaching and a little bit of a social life too. I’m sure I’ll manage it; art will be my solace at the end of a crazy day as it always has been, this time with the impetus to create to fulfil a contract too (which won’t take away my passion for my art).
Here are some of my creations over the past few weeks.
And there’s more of these at Artwyrd at deviantART.
I’ve also been busy with mandala type things too.
Again, there are more at Artwyrd at deviantART, as well as other pieces of art I’ve done.
I turned 50 last week. I spent the day with a friend at the West Somerset Railway. All too often in my life I have spent special days alone; days like birthdays, Yuletide/Christmas, New Year and so on. This year I plucked up enough courage to ask him to join me knowing he also likes steam trains.
Yes, it took a LOT of courage. I have a big problem in asking people to join me or help me. I don’t like to be the centre of attention nor do I wish to be a burden to others, and I definitely don’t like the sting of rejection either.
All of that is a bit bizarre as I will help others, accompany them, accept invitations and so on if I am at all able to do so.
Yes, I have problems with self-esteem, self-image, self-confidence and a lack of social skills that others take for granted and it takes a LOT for me to do little things to learn and break down barriers that limit me in my life.
I am learning. I am finding the courage. Little by little.
And that quote is quite apt for how life is being for me at this time. Lots of little changes and challenges (well one rather big challenge).
All these little quotes are going into an A6 sketchbook which is for me to carry with me to remind me of the little things (or not so little things) I need to do or remember to help me change my view of myself and to change my life.
Well, that’s the plan anyway. In itself, the writing of the little messages and the decoration of them is a pleasure. I hope the work helps to cement them in my subconscious and to reprogramme the faulty thinking I still have, a lot of which stretches back to childhood.
I have finally found a self-help book that makes sense to me. It’s Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns. In the book he makes the point that it’s your thoughts that create your feelings and not the other way around. Many thoughts we have we aren’t even faintly conscious of, yet they still have enormous power over the way we feel, which then feed back to the thoughts producing still more feelings. We all have inner critics, negative automatic thoughts, and we can learn to change them, or at least reduce the power they have over us.
I’ve come across this idea in counselling in the past, but it’s never made as much sense to me as it does now. I think the counselling I had helped me heal some aspects of myself, understand others, gave me strength to continue teaching, but, more importantly, it laid some of the foundations for me continuing to heal the mis-conceptions I have about myself and the resulting limits they place upon my life (or rather the limits I allow them to place upon my life).
I have noticed a difference in myself lately. One big difference was me inviting someone to join me.
A second difference was the way I accepted the offer to create the artwork for two books; I did this almost unhesitatingly. The hesitation was about the number of art works needed and the time given to do them in. Surprisingly, the hesitation wasn’t about my ability, my self-doubt, and that was a big step forward for me too.
Yet another is that I’ve noticed I’m a lot more at ease around people. At one time I would be fidgety and eager to keep moving to move along to the next thing. Now, I can relax. On my darker days, the days when I’m low and in tears I do tend still to be on the move constantly, running away from myself quite figuratively, not happy to spend time in my own company. In the past this would have involved a lot of money being spent on pointless things, trying to buy a sense of ‘value’ of myself, or trying to show others I’m valuable as a person because of these things I have.
The truth is spend, spend, spend was only ever an Elastoplast over the wound called a huge lack of self-worth.
Comfort eating is a behaviour I still indulge in. I comfort-eating to fill the gaping wound that is a lack of people and love/affection in my life on a consistent basis. Oddly, the days I’ve spent with friends and the day or so afterwards are days where I have no overwhelming appetite, no need to stuff myself stupid to fill the hole, to hide the emptiness inside. Other days, I often don’t consciously realise what I’m doing until it’s done. I then feel stuffed full, and sick. Sick of myself, of how it makes me feel fatter than I am (I am overweight, how much so I don’t know as my inner-mirror is warped and I see myself as huge as blue whale), ugly (well if you’re overweight, you are ugly, and not just ugly on the outside but on the inside too), useless, no one will want to be my friend…these phrases are often heard in the strident, bitchy, sarcastic tones of my mother’s voice.
I’m getting better at finding evidence to refute these erroneous beliefs about myself, to understand that beauty isn’t a dress size or an age. I haven’t quite found the key to fit the lock to allow me to change these thoughts on a consistent basis.
Creating the quote artwork has been one tool in an increasingly large toolbox to help me find or forge the key that will dis-empower the negative automatic thoughts and allow me to believe I am the good, nice, beautiful person that others seem to think I am and that I deserve more good in my life.