The way I tidy (the wrong way)

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Spoon full of sugar, and all that.

I still have to find the fun and make tidying a game, Mary Poppins knew her stuff..

You know the millions of personality tests, I’m always the type who has messy surrounds and is not only is fine with it, can thrive creatively in it. I’m also the type that the ‘really neat’ type gets infuriated about – I know more of those people.

I had to have a little tidy today though, my bedroom is also a somewhat office and so although everywhere has a place, the place is just everywhere. That really should be my slogan.

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I’m very good at treating and rewarding myself, I think it’s something anxiety has taught me. So the way I tidy is I do some of the boring bit, then I do a nice thing. And so on.

Netflix on too, has to be done. Happy Valley. I liked it. Has to be background noise though otherwise I’d just tidy my bed and make a nice cosy circle to watch it from with a cup of tea.

Netflix on, slippers on – put away clean clothes – light a candle – tidy the bags of bits I’m selling…

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Find a receipt from Bruge, Belgium, McDonald’s and instantly send a photo to the boyfriend…

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Then send him photos of how clear the floor looks…

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Then have a cup of coffee…

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And decide to clutter up the newly cleared desk and start cutting up some art prints…

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Water my beloved plants…

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Take photos of a frame I refurbished…

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And write a blog post (right now)…

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Soooo, I may flit from one thing to the next and get distracted but at least its a little bit better and I don’t have to jump over things just to get out the door.

Till a couple of days time that is.

 

 

 

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High five to small successes and hello to new packaging

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At the end of August this year something metaphorically kicked me up the arse. Not enough time has passed for hindsight, so I won’t ponder on the whys of what happened – all I know is that something happened and it made me start selling on the internet.

I’m not selling anything to you now, by the way. I know that feeling of dread when you feel like you’ve being swindled.

So I sell on etsy and ebay. Not massive rewards and I’m learning each day. I also have days where I just can’t be bothered and whatever is kicking me up the bum seems to have put on a slipper.

But wanting to be true to myself, and myself likes pretty things, I wanted to hand make packaging – just a little print and on the back I will write ‘thank you’. This was at the very beginning, one of the first things I did, and, like I said, it was all a massive shrug of the shoulders.

Well, about 20 parcels later..

..I’ve had to make my second lot.
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And this post was not going to be about this feeling in my body right now, just that I made some pretty pictures that go along with any package, but it feels good. I didn’t see it as a success till I started writing it up.

But if you don’t celebrate small successes what’s the point?!

So last night I packaged up my two leaf stamp wall hangings I made and they’re off in the postal system somewhere, with the last original print.

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And my new prints?! Well, if England’s sky wasn’t so orange right now – like is this a hurricane or aliens? – I’d take some photos in natural lighting. It’s not meant to be, even though it’s only 4 pm while I write this (we’ve gone from a sunny October day to this spooky, orange, darkness all in a couple of hours. Now all I can ask is whether Hocus Pocus actually happening?).

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14 days, 9 postcards, 4 countries

It’s unknowingly become a tradition to send my Mum the most ridiculous postcards I can find on my travels. It started when I lived in Malta and she came to visit. While she was with me I was secretly finding the worst postcards and sending them to England for when she’s back home. They said silly things like ‘we just went to the pub,’ nothing more, and on the front a picture of stray cats.

Postcards are awful in general, you can find the most weirdest, most wonderful pictures and if you’re really lucky they’ll be bleached by the sun and bending. Just think of how many people have handled it! It’s truly a dying art form.

What makes them even more special is that this whole trip we were in contact with my parents by whatsapp and when you think you can’t get enough of me – 9 postcards come through the door. I’m never leaving you, parents.

In the past you would literally write what you had been up to on holiday, but obviously they already knew through being in contact and my blog. So there was no ‘Hello!!!! I’m having a great time! Yesterday we drove and today we will drive and tomorrow we will probably drive too! Miss you x’. You will see what we actually wrote.

Well, without further deliberation, I present my postcard project! Sent from 4 countries in 14 days.

The postcards

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Where I wrote it

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What I wrote

what I wrote

Posting it

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And they all arrived home.

The locations? In order;

Bruges, Belgium

Liege, Belgium

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Frankfurt, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Dusseldorf, Germany

Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Maastricht, The Netherlands

Quotes for me and pottery

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You need to be tested.

Sentences pop into my brain every once in a while which sums up what I’m feeling or even advice for getting through it. It’s almost like there’s someone else in here with me that just points something out which steers me in the right direction. There isn’t a little man in here though, it’s an a culmination of all my thoughts jumbled up then like on Count Down it’s my job to find the words. It’s a little dose of clarity I need every once in a while.

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Other thoughts I’ve had the past week or two that were so strong I had to write down;

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Don’t become stagnant.

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Exercise is the baseline for some stability.

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You feel like you have so much to offer the world so why aren’t you offering it?

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Always try.

Searching For Calmness 

In light of my recent darkness, I try to embrace any warmness, any positivity, that I can. I have explained this to friends in the past, for example; why I don’t like horror films. There’s too much darkness in my brain, I dont need it on the outside too. 

So although it almost feels fake drawing things like this, or trying to concentrate on warm things or light things, it kind of has to be done. Drawing myself spiralling further will only encourage the dark in me. Though one truth, there’s almost always laughter in everything. Even if it’s a dark sense of humour. 

Disclaimer after reading this back; I’m not a f***ing serial killer! Ha, all this ‘supressed darkness’. No sociopath here, just a Strange Case of Dr Dooming-Depression Jekyll and Mr Antisocial-Anxiety Hyde.

Knot

It’s not my knot
It can’t be
It doesn’t feel like home
Some perpetrator has nested into my body
Gathered the broken twigs of stuff I’ve known
Assembled a cosy back story
And haunts me with it
Without permission or permit.

It’s not sorry
It has set up shop and is doing very well, actually
For itself
It is not on my side
It is not me, it is just in me
As trapped as I am, it feels free
As free as a new born bird can feel
Waiting for its next meal.

It takes over all actions inside
Locked into place with its spiky exterior
My organs cushioning it, comforting it
Taking commands
From what’s senior
But I feel so small, this thing which is a tiny knot
Screams it’s demands
And who shouts the loudest is heard
So maybe this dark and deep void
Isn’t that absurd.

It must enjoy sitting on my chest all day
Sucking air out of my lungs, making my head spin
Sending confusing thought to my brain
Lounging at a huge control panel
Constantly switching the buttons
While myself is trying to tune into the right channel
And my body fights
I want to control it
I want to own myself
Not this thing that is not me
This thing which has turned my body
More into its home than mine.

It is too heavy, too weighted for me to lift out
Yet it acts weightless, floating in the middle of my airless doubt
Suspended
Defying anything I thought possible
Which makes sense
As this knot feels unsolvable.

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Makeup And Mental Health

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I put on makeup today. It’s been just over a week. Maybe it’s not a big deal, but I suppose this symbolises how hard I’m trying to help myself. Oh my god, if only I could not wash, lay in bed and forget there’s an outside world. Today I’m acknowledging there’s a world – hi world, how are you today?

For me I’ve always had a strange relationship with makeup. It generally corresponds with how healthy I am mentally but is always contradicting itself. From feeling awful so not wearing any, to feeling so good about myself so I refuse to wear any. Then feeling awful so I wear loads, or feeling great so I’ve put loads on. This time I’m trying to feel good, trying to look after myself. It must be a universal things that mental health and makeup are interlinked. Oh the irony that something as ugly as depression goes hand in hand with beauty.

When I look back without diving too deep into the past I’ve reached this stage in five phases.

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1.

I started wearing makeup as a teenager. Later than others for sure, I’ve spent most of my life being ignorant to what ‘we are expected to do as women’, then when the time came I didn’t know how to put it on. YouTube wasn’t around or wasn’t as huge as it is now, so no tutorials, no tips, just a girl thinking I should probably start doing this now. My mum didn’t wear any so it was guess work and although at the time I thought I was doing a good job I definitely wasn’t. Do you ever look back at things and just feel dread? Yeah, I have no idea what my face looked like. I suppose I got a little bit better at some point. I hope. For my teenage self.

2. 

When I moved to Malta at aged 20 I stopped wearing makeup because it was too hot and uncomfortable. I think I wore eye liner and mascara if I went out out, but I basically stopped and it wasn’t anything bigger than that. A year later I moved back and when I started work and socialising with my old friends I started wearing it again. I’m completely unaware of how I wore it, I can’t remember putting foundation on. Maybe I wore very little. If only my memory wasn’t so bad, it’ll make story time so much easier.

3.

2013 shit got real and I got really mentally ill. I had a lot of time off work and had to reboot myself. I’m sure I’ve read before that when you have a breakdown something actually breaks in your mind, so it’s natural to go back to a childlike state. So no make up for months. Something else happened which was very strange, and I assume it correlates with going back to a childlike state, but because my body and mind was learning things all over again I was having revelations every day. I forgot how to socialise and so I would ramble these new revelations at whoever would listen – one of them being about make up. I was disgusted that I had to cover up to be socially accepted, and it’s not accepted for men to do it etc. You get the idea. There were many rants about gender and society.

4.

In the same year, still off work and still very unwell, I discovered beauty gurus on YouTube and I finally understood that make up can be about yourself and it’s an art form. There are people out there that wear it for others, to fit in, but there’s also many women and men that wear it for themselves. This blew my mind. I felt like something unlocked in my brain because I honestly hadn’t thought about it like that. I had only worn it so far to look normal, to be very honest with myself.

So I started experimenting, copying tutorials. Very badly done and even now I have no skills, but I enjoyed it. When I had days where I struggled to get out of bed or go outside because my anxiety was awful, I would spend an hour or two putting on make up, and it helped me. It calmed me, it got me out.

I still was out of my mind, I almost had to tell myself things for it to be ‘okay’ and that I’m not giving into social standards. I still don’t know the truth, but I would tell myself that the female sex does scientifically enjoy feminine things, therefore my natural body does want this, I’m not doing it for others. Why was I enjoying it when I was so opposed to it?! Gahhh melt down!

I also experimented with the idea that it’s a mask. Like I said, I was aware people wear it to fit in or they wear it for themselves, and so I started doing it for myself so people wouldn’t know what my mind was really like. The amount of times, even now, people say ‘oh wow, you don’t look like you have anxiety and depression’. This mask of makeup covered it up, literally. I’m not saying I would suppress my mental illness, just that to deal with it in public or around people I don’t want to open up to, I would cover up. I couldn’t feel social anxiety as bad when my make up makes me look like every other girl, and that I’m ‘well’. I wore it so I could live.

5.

I started to wear all the time when these revelations dyed down which, for me, meant I was self conscious of who I actually was. There’s a fine line you have to balance along – but maybe only if you’re battling with mental health issues. If I have a time period of being wrapped up in ‘fake things’, I end up drowning in social norms, but forgetting I don’t breath on reality TV or appearances – I end up wearing make up everyday to keep up the act. ‘I am normal I am normal’  

I was also single at this time so was I wearing it to entice? Entice sounds like a horrible word, makes my skins crawl.

Finally I’ve reached the steady stage now where I feel like I’m in a healthy place where I don’t have to ‘impress’ or ‘fit in’. I still mask myself if I need to, so at work definitely, but I also wear it because it makes me feel good. I feel like I have a little  more control on the contradicting needs I have – the need to hide, the need to be myself, the need to be part of society, the need to reject anything to do with the norm. I suppose I’ve managed to normalise make up. (No doubt there will be more ups and downs though)

I like myself, sure there will always be insecurities but I like who I am and if I have to wear make up to embrace the world that day I have to welcome it – with a shimmering eye shadow and all.