Dangle Day Friday!

May Dangle Design © Angela Porter 2019
May Dangle Design © Angela Porter 2019

It’s Friday so it’s dangle day! Today I’ve chosen to share with you my May dangle design from my book ‘A Dangle A Day

I’ve used the line-art design and just recoloured it. Different colours give a different ‘feel’ to the dangle design!

The design itself is made up of simple, repeating motifs added in chains of charms. Simple, cute, charming, whimsical and pretty too, even if I say so myself.

This would be lovely as the monthly cover page in a BuJo (bullet journal), planner, journal, diary.

A different sentiment could be used in the banner to make it a perfect greeting card or note card.

One of the dangles would look rather cute as a bookmark; it’s easy to lengthen the designs.

Yesterday

I took a little trip out on my own yesterday. It’s one of my goals as I progress along my healing journey from CPTSD to get out and about more. I chose to go somewhere familiar to me, the little town of Glastonbury in Somerset.

I was able to wander around shops, but when it came for lunch I totally balked at going into any cafe at all. Issues surrounding my body size rose up and I just couldn’t go into them.

So I went home.

The whole trip exhausted me. More of an emotional exhaustion though from being brave and keeping it together and interacting with people in shops.

When I got home I had something to eat, which then resulted in an upset stomach/digestive system.

I then went to bed and slept.

I’m still exhausted today.

But I did it. I went somewhere a bit further afield (a round trip of nearly 180 miles is a little further afield to me!) by myself.

I’m surprised at how much the trip has exhausted me given I went somewhere I know, that is familiar, and I used to feel quite comfortable there.

All the same, it’s highlighted some issues I have with how I view myself.

Don’t get my wrong, I am overweight, but my mind seems to think I’m the size of a small elephant and I won’t fit anywhere. I have no idea of my body size other than the size of clothes I wear, which tend to be larger than I need as I think I’m larger than I am.

Is this body dysmorphia? I don’t know.

So, when a cafe or shop is busy I tend to walk away fearing there’ll be nowhere I can fit into, as well as me being overwhelmed in crowds and crowded places.

The complex layers of how CPTSD affects my daily life and activities a lot of people take for granted. It also shows some more of the barriers I need to overcome in order to finally live the kind of life I’d like to, one that isn’t quite as limited by CPTSD as it has been through most of my life.

Entangled Monograms – C, D and E

Entangled Monograms C, D and E ©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Entangled Monograms C, D and E ©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Arty things

Another lovely day or so spent hand lettering and drawing the etntangled designs around the monograms.

I used Tombow Fudenosuke, Uniball Unipin and Sakura Pigma Sensei pens on 15cm x 15cm pieces of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board.

The Tombow Fudenosuke pens are giving me a much thicker line than I’d usually use, along with variable line width too. I must admit I rather like the bolder lines as they really define the designs. What do you think about my use of bolder line?

I have scanned these, and yesterday’s A and B monograms, so I can add colour digitally, should I choose to do so. At the moment I’m really just enjoying the graphic quality of the black and white line art.

Therapy day

Today is EMDR therapy day for me. My appointment is mid-afternoon and it’s been almost a fortnight since my last one as there’s been a Bank Holiday in between.

I must say that I’ve had quite a contented fortnight. The last session was rather disturbing and distressing and though I was absolutely exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically after it for the rest of the day and part of the next, I think I found my balance much quicker than I expected.

I’ve had my moments, hours, mind you. Often when I’m tired and need a nap. So, I take a nap if I can. That’s one of the fab things about being a self-employed/freelancing artist/illustrator/author. It’s a lot easier to do self-care things when self-care is needed. If I need a nap, I can often take a nap. If I need a day or three to recover from EMDR I can take that time, or at least break the time up so I have chunks of self-care in amongst the work I need to do to fulfil contracts.

I really am grateful for this flexibility, a flexibility that is in sharp contrast with the very structured, timetabled, hamster-wheel existence of my life as a teacher.

Flexibility and freedom – a double edged sword

It’s really difficult for me to make full use of the flexibility and freedom I have. I often have an urge to go out somewhere, but I can never decide on where to go, or when to go, or whether I should even bother going as really, what do I want to go there for. Telling myself it’s to sketch, draw, photograph, gain inspiration, for the experience, because I like to walk when I do go and walk, because being in nature is good for my emotional and mental wellbeing, or just because I CAN just doesn’t cut it with the problems that arise from the CPTSD, especially anxiety and social anxiety that forms part of the experience of being a survivor of trauma.

Sometimes I manage to sneak up on myself and surprise myself and get out and about and visit somewhere either familiar or new to me.

More often than not the inner critic manages to talk me out of it.

I think I need to make a list of places close to me, and a bit further away, that I’d like to visit. A list that contains both familiar and unfamiliar places.

Familiar places are less stressful for me to visit on my own. Knowing my way around, knowing where I can enjoy lunch or tea, knowing where I can park my car and knowing I can find my way back to the car, and so on and so forth makes it a much easier experience for me.

Going somewhere unfamiliar increases stress for me as simple things like going into an unfamiliar cafe for some tea or lunch causes me huge anxiety when I’m by myself. The worry about not being able to find my way back to my car is another added source of anxiety too. Even going into unfamiliar shops, cathedrals, museums and so on provokes anxiety in me.

It’s that old fear from being a bullied, abused child that rises up where I worry if I’ll get hurtful comments from people, if I’ll make a fool of myself in some way and people will laugh, if they’ll pass comment about my choice of food or tea.

None of these things have happened to me as an adult, yet the anxiety that lurks within me rises up and tells me again and again that these things may happen. The voice of my anxiety, of my inner critic, can paralyse me or cause me to flee back home without even getting out of my car, that’s if I even manage to drive to where I’d like to go.

If I have company I’m really brave. I’m often the first to enter a cafe or similar and ask for a table and so on. I’m the one who will bravely explore a new cathedral or museum or place quite eagerly.

On my own though, the inner critic is way too strong as I feel vulnerable. As vulnerable as I did when I was a child and all the way through my adult life.

I can overcome this vulnerability, the anxiety, if there is a purpose to my trip, such as giving an anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales. I do it because I don’t want to let others down (as well as because I believe in the mission of Time to Change Wales).

Part of my anxiety is that I never, or rarely, ask anyone to go out with me (not go out in a romantic sense, just go out as in a jolly day out visiting somewhere of mutual interest and enjoying pleasant company). The fear of rejection is still too huge. I’m also very much aware that people I’d call friends and family are busy with their own family and work and so on, and I never, ever, want to become a burden to anyone.

That’s something that I learned early in my life – not to bother anyone with my needs or problems or issues. It’s something as an adult I’ve not gotten over yet.

I also am aware that there are trips I need to make solo. I like to sit and draw and write in places I visit. I can lose myself in this for a long time, I can take as much time as I need to look at . If I’m with someone I don’t want to spoil their day by indulging myself in such an activity. If I’m by myself I don’t have to worry about them not enjoying themselves as much as they could, so I tend to put my needs completely to one side to make sure they’re happy.

Being a people pleaser is part of the CPTSD. It’s what I did to try to gain approval of people who would never approve of anything I did or said or how I looked. Rejection, ridicule, being put down was par for the course no matter what I did. That didn’t stop me trying to please others, to make sure they were happy as if they were happy then perhaps I’d have an easier time of it and wouldn’t be pushed away yet again.

CPTSD sure messes a person up.

I know that there are plenty of people who experience anxiety who are able to do these simple, everyday, taken for granted things like going into a cafe for a cup of tea. They’re able to overcome that anxiety and don’t buy into it’s messages.

I’ve not learned to overcome it or have disempowered the inner critic enough that I can do these simple everyday things, well not yet. I think the critic has a way to go to be disempowered first.

Still, there are days when I’ll be able to sneak up on myself and head out and actually visit places, sketchbook and visual BuJo in my bag, and take that time and will wonder at how I don’t do things like that more often as it’s really not that bad.

I hope those days will eventually outweigh the days where the inner critic wins out.

Until that days comes I just need to be kind to myself and not beat myself up about giving in to the inner critic once again and remind myself a day will soon come where through sneakery or just disempowering the inner critic enough that I can go out.

Support the artists you like – illustration

Support the artists you like © Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
Support the artists you like © Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

Still got a few bees in my bonnet about copyright infringement, can you tell?

Feel free to share, with proper credit, and help to spread the word!

I used a soft Tombow Fudenosuke pen to draw the design and noticed there was a space that would be perfect to put a few words there.

So I did.

I’m getting a bit heavy handed with my watermarks. I think I’ve been spooked just a little. I make no apologies for the heavy handed watermarking. I can’t do anything about my previous work I’ve shared, with all rights reserved. But I can do something about future work, can’t I?

Coloured background and texture added using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with a Microsoft Surface Studio.

Friends, always

Friends, always © Angela Porter 2019
Friends, always © Angela Porter 2019

Two pals sitting in a galaxy of bright yellow celandine stars. Two pals that happen to be my two favourite animals – cat and raven.

Drawn with a Lamy fountain pen on Rhodia dot grid paper then edited and coloured digitally using my trifecta of Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Simple colouring for a simple but sweet, cute and whimsical image.

Self Care Kitty #2

Self Care Kitty #2 © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
Self Care Kitty #2 © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

I don’t know about you, but watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset lifts my spirits somewhat. Sometimes the experience makes me cry, sometimes with the beauty of it, sometimes releasing some of the stuff going on inside of me. Either way, I find myself relaxing and breathing more easily as I watch the sun set or rise.

It’s something I don’t do often enough. Not just watch the sun rise or set, but spend time in nature. Walking where I can hear birds sing. Paddling in the surf where sea meets land. Feeling the wind in my hair.

When I need to do it most is when I’m least likely to do any of these things. People scare me. Being on my own with people around when I’m emotionally and mentally vulnerable scares me. Being on my own where there’s no people around scares me. Growing up I was always scared and anxious. I always tried to get away from family to somewhere where there was no one who could pick on me. Yet when I got somewhere I’d be so nervous and anxious and scared that I’d end up returning home and then usually hiding away in my bedroom.

If I think about going out to watch a sunset, walk along a beach, sit in nature and draw/write when I most need it to soothe my emotions and mind, the inner critic pipes up in my mother’s voice saying ‘why do you want to bother to do that? what’s the point of it?’ That voice still has power at these times, the times when I really do need to ignore it but don’t have the strength to do so.

I need to fight back. I’ve never fought back, well rarely. I have rarely had ‘no’ in my vocabulary. After over fifty years of life, that voice still has power over me, still robs me of what strength I have.

It’s on notice though – I’ve just recognised you and have worked out what you are doing and your time in my head and heart is now limited.

It’s Friday, so today is both furbaby friday and dangle day, so it’s quite fitting that I have, once again, combined a furbaby and a dangle in one design. I drew the design on Rhodia Dot Grid paper using Uniball Unipin pens and then digitally coloured it using the usual Microsoft Surface Pen and Studio along with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Looking at it now, I think I missed an opportunity to attach the dangle to the cat’s tail. I also didn’t add shadows, and I’m not too sure about the circles on the cat’s coat. Also, the cat looks rather ‘flat’.

‘A Dangle A Day’ is a tutorial book I wrote and illustrated to show how you too can create dangle designs and was published earlier this year.

Self care #1 Spend time with a friend

Self-care #1 ©Angela Porter 2019
Self-care #1 ©Angela Porter 2019

A cute kitty to start the day with a bit of advice for self-care.

More of something for me to work towards – reaching out to a friend when I’m having a tough time with my mental/emotional wellbeing. Still a valid bit of advice.

I’m still not quite right today, feeling emotional and fragile still. I still need to get some work done, after an errand or two this morning. I think it’s a day for lots of tea and also drawing with pen and paper so I can sit in/on bed and work.

I still don’t know how EMDR could’ve floored me this week. It all seemed so gentle and nothing much came up during the session. Lots of body stuff for sure, but no memories or insights at the time. I seem to be stuck in emotional flashbacks and all I can do is hope that it’s processing trauma as part of it all.

I know this will all pass in time. I know I’m working towards healing myself with help from Linda, my EMDR therapist. I know that there are steps backwards which are really steps forward as trauma is released and processed outside of the EMDR session.

So, today it’s errands then it’s settling down to be creative and to take care of myself. Lots of tea. Lots, and lots of tea.

Trauma and change

©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
©Angela Porter 2019

Monday is EMDR therapy day for me and my mind seems to go towards finding relevant quotes and then doing my usual thing of adding patterns around them.

This one has what seems to me to be rather heavy handed patterns around the quote. I drew the patterns with a broad nib Faber Castell fountain pen filled with Diamine Jet Black ink. I may have chosen too broad a nib for this illustration; the artwork is slightly less than A5 in size.

I enjoyed the process of creating this, however, and some quiet, calm, self-care time is needed this evening.

I had a yet another draining EMDR session today, one that had some insight for me. There were plenty of quiet tears too. I suspect that tomorrow will be a quiet self-care day also.

I’m used to this happening now and tend to plan my working time around the need for self-care. I’ve learned that self-care is important. I’m also learning not to be surprised at how something that seems as gentle as EMDR has such a profound effect on myself.

It’s a good thing I had quite a busy morning prior to heading off to my appointment and got a few templates sorted out for the coloring book I’m working on.