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Believe Me : You ARE Enough

I did some very crappy crafting on the weekend.  As I said in my previous post, nothing worked out and I was feeling very defeated and useless.  I spent hours on one watercolour picture and it was so horrible I wanted to throw it in the bin.  I hated it and hated myself.  Which is not very conducive to creativity.  So, I spent a couple of minutes stamping over the whole damn thing, just to snap myself out of it and get me back on track.

Now I’m not showing you this as an example of excellent craftsmanship or talent – far from it.  It’s horrible.  But it is an example of picking yourself up and getting your butt back in to gear.  Your whiny, self-defeating butt.  The one that tells you you’re not good enough and will never amount to anything and that your should never pick up a paintbrush or pen again lest you scare people with your hideous creations.

I’m feeling that awful “time is running out” feeling again at the moment, hence my panic and meltdowns when things don’t go to plan.  I want to be good NOW.  I want to be able to make a living, or at least part of a living, with my craft. I want to be proud of the things I make, instead of feeling everything is sub-par and not good enough.  That I’m not good enough, which is probably more at the core of things.

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I saw this on Facebook this weekend and it seemed fitting, given the way I am feeling about myself, right now :

“At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.
At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.
At age 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker.
At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.
Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.
Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.
Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.
Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42.
Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 46.
Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role at age 52.
Kathryn Bigelow only reached international success when she made
The Hurt Locker at age 57.
Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.
Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.
Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune by the age of 21. Hell, it’s okay if you don’t even know what your dream is yet. Even if you’re flipping burgers, waiting tables or answering phones today, you never know where you’ll end up tomorrow.
Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.
Never tell yourself you missed your chance.
Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough.
You can do it. Whatever it is.”

So, maybe, it’s not too late yet.  I hope not, anyway.  I can only keep trying and not give up.  I have to believe that, right now and every other moment, I am enough.  I probably need to tattoo that on my forehead, so that I have no choice but to remember it every waking moment.  Better to stick with the rubber stamped version for now…

Thank you for stopping by – may your day bring you happiness and success x

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Bricks

I have been feeling really cruddy the past few weeks (months/decades) and have been woe-is-me-ing a lot.  Which I really hate.  Most of the time I am a get-on-with-it kind of person.  Sure I have my crappy days but then who doesn’t?  Lately it’s been worse – whether that’s due to me coming off all my medications (duh – whose idea was that?  Oh wait, it was mine…double duh) or just life being slightly more annoying than normal.  I mean, I know I have depression, and that isn’t going to go away any time soon, but it is  sometimes harder to deal with and I get bogged down in wallowing and feeling shitty (sorry, lots of swearing today – feel free to censor).

A lot of my depression and general unease is due to anxiety – it is the root of all evil for me.  I know this, and yet I am not very good at doing anything about it.  I try not to worry, I try not to stress, I try not to absorb other people’s problems as my own.  I have conversations with myself about letting stuff go and not letting things get to me, not worrying about things that I can’t change.  But I am rubbish at not only listening to myself, but taking other people’s advice about de-stressing.

I’m also my own worst critic.  I think I suck, basically.  I compare myself to everyone else and beat myself up for “failing”.  Which is quite often NOT “failing” but just doing things differently.  I KNOW this – but still I feel bad and a bit useless.  Good enough isn’t good enough even though I think it is for everybody else.  I don’t treat anyone the way I treat myself.  If I was my own best friend, I would dump me.  I’m not very nice (to myself).

I’m going to try and sort that out this year.  I am.  I’m going to try very hard to be kinder to myself and accept me for me.  Which will be difficult.  It’s hard to see mistakes as lessons and “flaws” as individuality.  More than anything, I just want to be able to walk in a room and not feel like everyone is looking at me, thinking “Who’s this weirdo?”

The below extract was sent around our office by a colleague.  It’s from the book  Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? by Ajahn Brahm, a Theravada Buddhist monk (he’s the Abott at the Monastery near my hometown…I think I may have met him once when he came in to my library a million years ago) who has written lots of books, supported the ordination of female monks, and basically been an all-round awesome guy.  He’s won the John Curtin Medal for his vision, leadership and service to the Australian community, and compiled an English-language guide to the Buddhist monastic code – the vinaya- which later became the basis for monastic discipline in many Theravadan monasteries in Western countries.  He’s a bit of an over-achiever really.  What a show off! 🙂

Anyway, the following excerpt is worth reading.  It makes you think about what “perfection” is (or isn’t) and how little negatives shouldn’t undermine the overwhelming, big positives.  I’m going to try and remember this, from now on : that I’m not perfect,
but that those little imperfections actually make me “me” and add up to the whole, not detract from it.  Wish me luck – I’m gonna need all the help I can get with this one.

Two Bad Bricks by Ajahn Brahm

“After we purchased the land for our monastery in 1983 we were broke. We were in debt. There were no buildings on the land, not even a shed. Those first few weeks we slept not on beds but on old doors we had bought cheaply from the salvage yard; we raised them on bricks at each corner to lift them off the ground. (There were no mattresses, of course — we were forest monks.)

The abbot had the best door, the flat one. My door was ribbed with a sizeable hole in the center where the doorknob would have been. I joked that now I wouldn’t need to get out of bed to go to the toilet! The cold truth was, however, that the wind would come up through that hole. I didn’t sleep much those nights.

We were poor monks who needed buildings. We couldn’t afford to employ a builder — the materials were expensive enough. So I had to learn how to build: how to prepare the foundations, lay concrete and bricks, erect the roof, put in the plumbing — the whole lot. I had been a theoretical physicist and high-school teacher in lay life, not used to working with my hands. After a few years, I became quite skilled at building, even calling my crew the BBC (“Buddhist Building Company”). But when I started it was very difficult.

It may look easy to lay a brick: a dollop of mortar underneath, a little tap here, a little tap there. But when I began laying bricks, I’d tap one corner down to make it level and another corner would go up. So I’d tap that corner down then the brick would move out of line. After I’d nudged it back into line, the first corner would be too high again. Hey, you try it!

Being a monk, I had patience and as much time as I needed. I made sure every single brick was perfect, no matter how long it took. Eventually, I completed my first brick wall and stood back to admire it. It was only then that I noticed— oh no! — I’d missed two bricks. All the other bricks were nicely in line, but these two were inclined at an angle. They looked terrible. They spoiled the whole wall. They ruined it.

By then, the cement mortar was too hard for the bricks to be taken out, so I asked the abbot if I could knock the wall down and start over again — or, even better, perhaps blow it up. I’d made a mess of it and I was very embarrassed. The abbot said no, the wall had to stay.

When I showed our first visitors around our fledgling monastery, I always tried to avoid taking them past my brick wall. I hated anyone seeing it. Then one day, some three or four months after I finished it, I was walking with a visitor and he saw the wall.

‘That’s a nice wall,’ he casually remarked. ‘Sir,’ I replied in surprise, ‘have you left your glasses in your car? Are you visually impaired? Can’t you see those two bad bricks which spoil the whole wall?’

What he said next changed my whole view of that wall, of myself, and of many other aspects of life. He said, “Yes. I can see those two bad bricks. But I can see the 998 good bricks as well.’

I was stunned. For the first time in over three months, I could see other bricks in that wall apart from the two mistakes. Above, below, to the left and to the right of the bad bricks were good bricks, perfect bricks. Moreover, the perfect bricks were many, many more than the two bad bricks. Before, my eyes would focus exclusively on my two mistakes; I was blind to everything else. That was why I couldn’t bear looking at that wall, or having others see it. That was why I wanted to destroy it. Now that I could see the good bricks, the wall didn’t look so bad after all. It was, as the visitor had said, ‘a nice brick wall.’ It’s still there now, twenty years later, but I’ve forgotten exactly where those bad bricks are. I literally cannot see those mistakes any more.

How many people end a relationship or get divorced because all they can see in their partner are ‘two bad bricks’? How many of us become depressed or even contemplate suicide, because all we can see in ourselves are ‘two bad bricks.’ In truth, there are many, many more good bricks, perfect bricks — above, below, to the left and to the right of the faults — but at times we just can’t see them. Instead, every time we look our eyes focus exclusively on the mistakes. The mistakes are all we see, they’re all we think are there and so we want to destroy them. And sometimes, sadly, we do destroy a ‘very nice wall.’

We’ve all got our two bad bricks, but the perfect bricks in each one of us are much, much more than the mistakes. Once we see this, things aren’t so bad. Not only can we live at peace with ourselves, inclusive of our faults, but we can also enjoy living with a partner. This is bad news for divorce lawyers, but good news for you.

I have told this anecdote many times. After one occasion, a builder came up to me and told me a professional secret. ‘We builders always make mistakes,’ he said, ‘But we tell our clients that it is “an original feature” with no other house in the neighbourhood like it. And then we charge them a couple of thousand dollars extra!’

So the ‘unique features’ in your house probably started out as mistakes. In the same way, what you might take to be mistakes in yourself, in your partner, or in general, can become ‘unique features,’ enriching your time here — once you stop focusing on them exclusively.”

You can read more about Ajahn Brahm HERE.

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Pigeon Card

Good morning!  Hope your day is travelling along splendidly 🙂

I made this card on the weekend and it was one of the better ones I created.  It didn’t make me swear quite as much and it didn’t take me an age to finish.  The colours came together fairly easily and I was happy with the overall look.  It’s kinda got a rustic and old-fashioned vibe.  It reminds me of a wooden sign outside a pub (for some reason).  I could imagine it being called “The Dusty Pigeon” or “The Pigeon and Twig” or something similarly ye olde English drinking establishment.

I’m assuming it’s a pigeon.  Let’s just say it is, for the sake of argument.

The little dried flowers are pretty delicate and will probably disintegrate if the card is handled roughly.  I did put extra glue on the backs of them, so they would hopefully survive any manhandling and people prodding and touching them.  I do find that, when people are perusing my cards, they tend to want to poke and touch things, or run their fingers over embellishments etc, not to mention the people who just jam the cards back into the pile, with no care or consideration for their delicacy.  They should be concerned for MY delicacy!  I am very fragile ha ha.  Besides, you don’t want the cards to be all dog-eared or bent.  I do put them in protective plastic sleeves, but people can be pretty rough.

Anyway, I digress… This card is going to have to stand up to wear and tear, at least until someone has paid for it.  Then it can fall apart if it needs to.  But hopefully that won’t happen.  Be strong little pigeon and hang on to your petals!

I’m being silly today.  Which is not unusual, let’s face it.  I’m trying not to be a grumpy-guts, which I have been for a little while now, due to one thing and another.  Making and creating eases that, A LOT, so I try and do as much of it as I can – if only to make me a more pleasant person to be around.

Thanks for dropping in and listening to my nonsense.  It means a lot to me 🙂

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Quote for the Day : Growth

Quote for the Day : Growth

“An authentic and genuine life grows like a sturdy tree. And like a tree, it grows slowly. Every time you make a different and better decision, it grows a little. Every time you choose to do the right thing, even when nobody would find out otherwise, it grows a little. Every time you act with compassion, relinquish your right to strike back, take a courageous stand, admit fault or accept responsibility, it grows a little.”

— Steve Goodier

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Walking away the Woes

Been a difficult week this one.  Dealing with a lot of stuff.  Which is like every other week, but some week’s stuff is worse than another week’s stuff, y’know?  It’s heavier and darker and murkier and stronger.  No real reason, it just IS.

I’ve been trying to get my butt out to walk, at least every other day.  It does help.  Not because YAY EXERCISE AND ENDORPHINS! but because it just gives me one less thing to dislike about myself and be dissatisfied about.  I can tick the “get moving” box and scrub out the guilt-ridden one.  I can feel like my blood is pumping and I’ve breathed in a little bit more air.  It forces me to exhale (and, granted, wheeze and pant a little) and just be part of the world.  Instead of hiding, which is what I would rather be doing, in all honesty.

I am so lucky to live near water – it is cleansing and soothing.  It brings an inner peace, if only for a few moments and makes things a bit clearer.

I walk – not because I want to (not yet, not now) but because I know I need to.

I hope you are doing ok this week, wherever you are x

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Beach Blues

We are having some wacky weather this month.  Due to Cyclone Stan in the North, we are experiencing cool, windy, stormy, wet weather.  Yuck.  Actually, it’s not so bad and a bit of a relief from the usual stifling Summer heat.

I think I do get a little bit affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder because I am usually pretty miserable all Winter (ha ha – or most of the time, let’s face it) and this last week or two have been decidedly down.  It doesn’t take much to knock me off my perch, mood-wise, and I think the dull weather really bothers my psyche.  So, I have been a bit sad and stressed and in-the-dumps.  Just struggling a bit with life in general I guess, through one thing or another – the murky weather mirroring my mood (or the other way round).

Anyway, yesterday I went snorkelling with my good friend SR.  Yesterday was NOT perfect snorkelling weather, especially when you’ve never snorkelled before (like me).  The water was very rough and a bit churned up, the wind was cold and it was not the lovely, sunny and bright conditions you would ideally like when mucking about in the ocean.  However, we still had a nice time and saw so many fishies!  I was surprised at how many were that close to the shore (we were only 3 metres or so from the beach) just swimming about amongst the reefs and rocks.  I wish I had an underwater camera so I could have taken some pictures but, alas, I do not.  You’ll just have to take my word for it – there were fishies!  Little white ones and spotty ones and I don’t know what any of them were called (George, Fred, Martha?) but they were very cute and plentiful despite all the people bobbing about in their environment.

It was so nice to be in the water, even for just a short time, and I do so love the beach, in any weather.  We went for some walks up and down the shore too, just to talk and catch up.  Just having your feet in the sand and the wind in your hair is enough to blow away some cobwebs and get your mental well-being back in to check.  I will have to practice my snorkelling technique (well, I don’t actually have one at all right now…) and improve my swimming strength, but all in all, I would happily go again.  I should make the effort.  I am always saying I love the ocean, but I never go.  It’s always too far or no one wants to go with me or it’s too sunny (I burn) or too cold (I freeze).  No more excuses now.  You’re my witnesses.  It did upset my vertigo a bit (it’s been really playing up lately) but I’m not going to let that put me off, if I can help it.

Anyway, it was a good morning with good friends and an equally good breakfast afterwards at the Soda Café (Field Mushrooms with Polenta and Goats Curd – yum!) and just what I needed to get rid of the blues, at least for a few hours.  The sun did eventually come out, after all.  Hopefully I can keep it with me for a little while longer 🙂

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