Active Quest: Project: Me
August 10, 2015: Last week was a magical week. One of my bestest buddies stayed with me, visiting from Austin. Her hair is lots of colors. I let her do color to my hair. She said it will give me lots of new powers. It was supposed to be a couple colors, but the lighter was overtaken by the darker, bolder Electic Teal. And I love it! It's an amazing color and I've never had hair that brought out my eyes. My life has been kind of stagnant lately and this has added a happy little (or lots because it is loud) squirt of fun, a really nice reminder of time spent with my friend and our adventures. I've never done any crazy colors to my hair and only a few dye jobs, mostly streaks of red and the most recent caramel. Teal wins!
June 25, 2015: An impulse buy while watching a video of Felicia Day talk about and show off her writing/creative studio, a book called The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity; A Course in Discovering and Rediscovering Your Creative Self by Julia Cameron. (I love Felicia Day, just so you know.) It seemed like the kind of thing I needed. It is a course, broken down into week-long sessions with a different focus each time. There are reading bits, some assignments/exercises, a weekly artist's date, and morning writings. I'm only on the first week so I don't have much to say about the process yet. "Artist dates" are taking yourself out for a special little artsy treat. She doesn't go into great detail about them, though, so that's how I understand them to be. It's the "morning writings" that I have the most to say about. Every morning you get up and write three pages by hand about anything, whatever your scrambly little mind comes up with. Just a brain dump or ramble or repeating the same phrase over and over again until you've filled up your three pages. The point of this is to get all that nonsense out of your head, to clear your mind of inconsequential things, so you can focus on the more important things throughout the day. It's a form of meditation and exercises that creative part of your brain, helping you to get that inspiration you are lacking.
The way I'm approching this is not setting my alarm half an hour earlier than normal, as suggested in the book. That's asking way too much! During the time I usually check email and Facebook and whatever online time-suck thing, I will do my writing. On the days I have yoga, I'll write after class. For me, as long as I have the majority of the day ahead of me it doesn't matter that I don't spring right out of bed and get to writing. That is impossible. Writing three pages is not impossible, though, so why not do it at a feasible time. I've been doing this since Saturday and today is Thursday so six days worth of writing. And in that time, because I've done the writing, I have come up with creative ideas and discovered something about myself, something I kind of knew already, but this brought it out into the open. And that's what the first week of the course is about, dredging up cruddy past experiences that are holding you back from pursuing creative outlets. Now I will share these with you:
--After talking with my sister-in-law, who is also choosing to pursue a creative lifestyle, over the weekend I processed the topic of setting up a Patreon account and how/if it would work for me. Another friend has considered this, but knowing him, he won't do it unless someone he knows tries it first. As a self-declared Crafty Adventurer I am choosing to take the plunge. Unfortunately, it's scary and I have to make a video and figure out what to offer and find people to be my partrons so I have a decent start. I'll talk more about this at a later date and post links when I am ready. Eek!
--I have two business cards I am using, one for each Etsy shop. And now I have this website but it is not listed on either card. Inspiration struck to make a brochure thingie with pockets. Stamping my logo and web address on the top of cardstock, folding scrapbook paper into pockets for the cards, and then printing, cutting out, and gluing a blurb about me and my Patreon address onto the lower or middle--I'm still working on layout--I'll have all my information in one place that I can hand out at craft shows, art shows, and in-person. Neat!
--And my revelation is in regards to my panicking and racing thoughts and churning stomach resulting from venturing into the realm of Patreon: all my past jobs were either physically demanding, mind-numbingly dull, or mentally taxing or any combination of the three. Even my favorite job, a month-long thing, was not something I could have kept up indefinitely. These jobs and some other issues have given me this cripping aversion to employment. I've been a home-maker and stay-at-home mom for several years now and while that's been all three of those bad things at different times, I do things when I do things. I still have people nagging at me but it's not like a job that I could lose because I didn't do a task when someone told me to. So, yes, my stomach clenches every time I think about getting a job. And that is because ALL my past jobs were horrible. They did not allow for me to work at my own pace, set my own rules and schedule, and do anything that I would really like to do. And, yes, I realize everyone has cruddy jobs, but I'm not talking about you. I am figuring out what I want to do. You get to figure out what you want to do.
And, thus, ends my list of important and creative discoveries from just six days of morning writing. Even if the rest of the book doesn't work out for me, taking away the regular, mind-dump writing makes it a worthwhile investment.
June 15, 2015: This page is dedicated to sharing the changes and improvements that I try to make myself better. For a while I dealt with post-partum depression that transitioned into regular depression and then lots of anxiety issues because of life. Instead of going into the reasons and dumb stuff as to why and how, I will focus on what I do to make that better, to make me well. The end of last year and part of this year was spent dealing with withdrawal from Sertraline, an SSRI, that I had started taking when things got too bad. The Sertraline helped some, but mostly made me feel worse and I'm still, on the worst days, dealing with some of those symptoms, several months later. SO! After the years of not being able to do much for me and now that I have much more time when my brain is not a foggy mess of glue, I am making this website for me to share with you what I am working on. And since I am a big part in everything I do, it is an appropriate addition to my projects pages. I have been trying hard, trying many things, to make myself feel like a person, my own person. I have spent enough time feeling like a lump that existed to do other's bidding.
Today I took my first yoga class. Last summer I tried belly dancing. And it was good for me, but also too much for me. This time around I'm taking it easy with a gentle yoga class that meets for an hour three times a week. Mostly--and by "mostly" I mean "all"--seniors, I think the experience will help me put some things into perspective. Before we moved here I found myself in the company of seniors in most of my activites so, I guess, that's just how I roll. So after this first session, my hips feel better, I did not hunch over my food at lunch, and my back is straighter making me taller. I'm supposed to be about 5' 8 1/2" and the last time I was measured at the doctor I was 5' 7". Not good but I will make that better.
A few months ago it dawned on me that most sources and doctors and therapists tell you to exercise to reduce anxiety and that maybe I should give it a try. I'd rather do something productive than specifically exercise (yard work, walking, whatever other active productive things exist) so I don't have a routine that I do. I told myself to do something active every day for twenty minutes and for the most part have stuck to that. Except on the worst days or when I'm sick. So this yoga class is also for the mental improvement. See how I'm typing all this? I've been going through a slump and also getting stressed out about how I wanted to work on this page but then didn't have the energy and enough motivation and didn't want to revisit all the bad. Look! I am doing it! Now that it is started, I can easily add the new things I try and status updates on my progress. Go me!
I am posting a fairly current photo of me (circle dress with leafy green background). I hope to see improvement in my posture and decreased tension in my face (and rest of me). You probably can't see it, but I can and I know how I felt/feel.