It’s that time again – starting to fill in my bullet journal (BuJo) pages for the upcoming month of June.
I’ve set up part of my bullet journal for June. I decided to go with daises again. They’re such happy little flowers, bright spots in the green grass. They remind me of innocence and hope. Pale pink, green and flashes of gold will be the colours I use, where I use them, for this month.
May has been a very stressful, upsetting and emotional month, and my bullet journaling, along with lots of other things, went out of the window.
My little smartcar, Smartoo Deetoo, broke down. I had the stress/anxiety/panic of a very long time for the car and I to be recovered and taken home, and then organising recovery of the car to the Mercedes dealership in Cardiff for repairs. Eventually it was diagnosed with a terminally broken gearbox.
Instead of paying to have it replaced, I decided to buy a brand new Smartcar fortwo, which then had the added stress/worry/anxiety/panic of applying for finance.
Very quickly though, Binky was with me – my third Smartcar. Binky is fantastic and I can’t be happier with it.
Just after I signed all the paper work for Binky, I went to check on my cat who had been poorly for a day or two and who had rallied round that morning. I found he’d gone seriously downhill, so to the emergency vets we went.
After a night at the vets, test results and observations of my beautiful boy Cuffs, the diagnosis was brain cancer, so I had to make the decision to let him go, and went to say goodbye to him.
Cuffs was amazing. I had 16 years companionship with him. He was with me for some of the best and the worst times of my recent life. He always greeted me when I came home and he often tried to stop me leaving for work, especially when teaching had become so very, very hard for me when my mental health was plummeting downwards.
There’s just too much to say about him here. To say I’ve been upset would be a gross understatement. I’ve grieved for him, and it’s knocked me not just for six but for 6 million I think.
I’m beginning to feel better, I still have moments when I miss the purrfurball, when a lumpy bit of the duvet will make my heart leap that he’s under it, only to remember he’s not and to feel that disappointment and sadness.
I am feeling better and getting back into my creative stride.
I’m working on the illustrations for Entangled Butterflies.
I will be working on the June colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group later today.
Here’s the cover for Entangled Butterflies, due out in November 2018.
Don’t forget, Eerie Entangled Art is available to pre-order too; it’s released on 31st August 2018.
A warm, sunshiny mandala.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Surface Book and Surface Pen.
I’ve been having a go at Amigurumi over the past week or two. This is my most complex and first almost complete project. The only thing missing is his mouth/expression.
I had a lot to learn and to work out. I can crochet simple afghan squares (granny squares), or a scarf made out of one stitch. But following crochet patterns has always been a problem for me, one I’ve failed at miserably. Keeping tension is another issue.
I fell in love with these cute amigurumi creatures while I was looking for a cuddly cuttlefish. So, I thought I’d have a go.
It’s given me something to do other than art all the time, something that’s a bit of a challenge.
Oh, there’s a few imperfect bits on my monster. His eyes are looking in different directions. The way I connected the left eyeball (as we look at it, the monster’s right eyeball) to it’s stalk has been done not very well. I managed to make the feet slightly different sizes. I think the imperfections make him a bit more of a quirky monster.
All the same it’s not bad for my first attempt at a proper amigurumi project.
I’m bound to do more … and I suspect I may have some requests to do them.
Oh, the pattern I used is in the book ‘Amigurumi Monsters) from Meteoor Books.
Today I’m feeling tickettyboo, a little tired, but definitely only a teeny tiny bit emotionally drained. I think that some lovely icecream on a toasted waffle after my talk yesterday, in the company of a lovely friend, seriously helped, as did time with other friends in the evening and a serious dose of meditation.
Of course, my morning drawing helps me, and today it’s a mandala.
The perfect kind of relaxation to do before I head out later to do my fourth anti-stigma talk of the week, this time at Companies House.
This morning it’s time for some self-care, and for learning how to create amigurumi critters. Crocheting is always a challenge for me, but I had an overwhelming desire to create a cuddly cuttlefish, all rainbow colours. However, I think I bit off more than I could chew by starting on something so big without practicing and figuring out how amigurumi works and how to avoid increasing the number of stitches when they’re supposed to remain the same number, and how to know when the next ‘row’ starts when you’re essentially working in a spiral, and and and …
So, I finished the body and ears of a simple bear yesterday and started on a little mouse. I’ve still not figured out fully how it works, but I may be getting there, and smaller projects are definitely the way to go to learn and understand the techniques needed.
Today sees me do my third anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) 2018.
I am tired this morning. Each talk I do is emotionally draining. It also takes a lot of energy for me to keep up a happy, smiley and laughing mask when in public and not to get overwhelmed by my story and allowing aspects of it to re-traumatise me.
I put myself through this for some good reasons, and one of them is NOT attention seeking (which is what my narcissistic mother would say).
I really do believe it’s time for the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness comes to an end. I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but little by little. I tell my story to give people an insight into what it’s like to experience depression, anxiety, hyperperfectionism, hypervigilance, emotional flashbacks, being overwhelmed by choices in a supermarket, not being able to get out of my car when I go to somewhere I want to visit, being in fear of going to do a job I used to love when I was a teacher, and more, CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) is so complex.
I also want people to know that little changes in the work place can help people remain in work.
I want people to know that the social stereotypes of depression, anxiety and so many other mental illnesses are incorrect and that they lead to be people being stigmatised/prejudged and treated differently/discriminated against as a result of the urban myths that exist.
The more we can have conversations, the more people open up about what it’s like to experience mental illness, the more people will, hopefully, have a better understanding and the urban myths will lose their power.
Not only that, the self-stigmatisation that results in people not seeking help, acknowledging they are not thinking well of themselves, will result in people seeking that help and advice they need earlier.
On a more personal level, telling my story is helping me ‘own’ it, and though I still minimise the traumas I’ve experienced from a very young age, it’s helping me understand that they are not small little things that everyone goes through, as well as me understanding that it’s profound effect they’ve had on me that is the important thing as well as having counselling/therapy to help me heal from my past and have a healthier way of thinking about myself and living my life without avoiding all kinds of things for fear the same things will happen again and again.
I come home from a talk emotionally drained and tired; I either want to nap or just draw, or both, but not at the same time!
When I draw I like to just draw intuitively, drawing on my visual vocabulary of favourite shapes and patterns, and just let them flow onto the page. I can lose myself in that flow, I’m able to enjoy drawing familiar motifs and patterns and the intricacy of my work. Just letting things flow, drawing for the pleasure and contentment it brings me, the calmness that results, lets me put to oneside the anxiety I can feel when I’m creating for a particular contract, to put aside my hyperperfectionism and just go with the flow in a way that can be difficult when I’m drawing for a publisher and can add anxiety and frustration when I need to draw for peace and calm.
And that’s what this drawing helped me to do. Today, I hope I’ll be able to draw again, however after the talk today I’m taking a friend out for ice-cream and I think I have something occurring this evening too.