This blog post is about ways to make life a bit easier when you are living with chronic illness. The goal is for these to be practical tips that can help all different kinds of “Spoonies,” or Chronic Illness Warriors. And for these tips to be free or at least affordable!
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Today is the last day of August. Which means tomorrow is September 1st. Which means the day after that is Friday, September 2nd. Which means I have two weeks until the art show.
This is where I start screaming.
But really. As exciting as everything is, it is also very stressful to get so much art work and planning and organization done for the show.
Plus, earlier today I shattered one of my sculptures. I mean SHATTERED. Glass and polyurethane everywhere. And I was barefoot.
Sometimes art does not go the way you want it to go. Sometimes you have to take a break and do something else for a little bit. Run an errand. Take a drive. Meditate. (I seriously had to stay calm. Not an easy thing to do.)
To top everything off, I've stopped sleeping. Well, not completely, but pretty much.
Not sleeping is exhausting. Seriously.
So I apologize for not writing as regularly this month as I should have. But know that you guys have been on my mind and heart and I've wanted to write, but just not really been able to put everything into words. And I don't mean to complain about everything. That's not what this blog post is about. I just wanted to be honest about where things are. And doing an event like this one is hard! But hopefully worth it.
Yes, there is still so much to do, but I am determined. Everything will get done. There is a schedule and I am adhering to it so far.
I am excited to meet some of you at the show in just two and a half weeks now. There will be so much to see and do and be apart of. I truly cannot wait for you guys to see everything. So many people have been so helpful.
I was just on the phone with a friend and I realized that it was in the middle of September a year ago that I came up with the idea for this show. I don't remember the exact day, but for all I know, the date of the show could be the exact one year anniversary of the idea. Regardless, it's pretty cool to have it happen in the span of one year. People told me that it could not be done, that I was aiming too high. But there is a God who had another plan. Planets practically aligned for some of these things to happen. If only I had the time to tell the whole story. But maybe I will : )
Thank you for journeying along with me and I cannot wait to see you at the show!
Ok, sorry guys, I know I got off track on my schedule...I'm working on it.
So art. And life. Yeah.
Seriously, I am exhausted. But a good kind of exhausted I guess. Sometimes if doesn't feel very good, but I remember that I am tired because I am working so hard on my art and that makes me feel better. However, there is such a thing as working too hard.
Yesterday I was in Fort Worth for 12.5 hours. About 10 of which was spent in the studio or getting supplies. I did get to set stuff on fire, so that's good. Got a little overheated at one point (not during the fire part, surprisingly); as many of you know I am very heat-sensitive. But I managed. It was a productive day.
And yet I didn't feel like it at the end.
That's the problem with a perfectionist mindset.
You can't ever do anything "right" because you can't do it all in one day. I guess when you struggle with your self-esteem and believing in yourself, you can be pretty hard on yourself in the process of a project. Today, I have decided to rest. Trust me, I planned on doing a lot of hard work today, but that just wasn't going to happen. (I'm surprised I am even up for writing this.) I had to pull my car over in a parking lot after a midmorning appointment today and take a nap because I felt unsafe to drive. That's the amount of tired I'm talking about.
Sometimes we just desperately need a day off. And I have learned before and am continuing to learn that that is okay. Self-care and self-love is not selfish.
Here, buy the shirt:
I am sure that if people genuinely took better care of themselves, we would live in a much happier world. People who take care of themselves are more productive, more joyful, and much nicer. Self-care can involve little things and small acts that tell yourself that you are worth it. I'm not saying go crazy and spend all your money on yourself. Self-care is about being wise and gracious with yourself. If you do something in the name of self-care that will cause you distress later, it doesn't count. Sometimes just giving yourself permission to take a power nap is what you need.
One of the important things about self-care is that at the end of the day, you can't regret it. Let yourself be loved by yourself.
As I work towards this wonderful art show, I am having to be nice to myself even when I don't want to be. I want to be that tough boss or teacher that convinces you to run the extra 4 miles at the end of a long day, just so you can accomplish more. And sometimes that may be necessary. But I don't want myself or any of you to be drained and burned out with life.
Learn to care for yourself. You're worth it.
Ideas for self-care:
Take a bath
Take a nap
Clean your desk/room
Buy yourself a nice cup of coffee and have some chill time
Eat a scoop of ice cream
Paint your nails...or a wall
Clean your sheets for a fresh night's sleep
Take yourself out to dinner
Buy yourself a new exciting book to read for fun
Watch your favorite TV show
Cook yourself an organic dinner
Have the glass of wine
Go to a museum and look at beautiful things
Hold hands with someone (but don't try that with a stranger)
Get a massage
Get a pedicure
Journal how you feel and don't judge yourself
Play with play dough
Read your favorite children's book. (If you need a suggestion: What do you do with an idea? by: Kobi Yamada)
Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself and that you are beautiful
In life, it can be hard to see good things about yourself. Especially when you struggle with mental health issues.
A long time ago, a friend and mentor challenged me to think up and write down 50 things I loved about myself. Already struggling with my self esteem, I told her, “there aren't 50 things about me, let alone 50 things I love about myself.” But she still told me to do it. I made it 5 in and gave up. Despite her following up with me, my heart wasn't in it and I gave up for good.
One and a half years later, I was sitting in PHP (partial hospitalization program) for therapy and mentioned that my friend had challenged me to write down 50 things I loved about myself but, I couldn't manage it. Suddenly, my therapist thought it was a fantastic idea and challenged me to finish my list.
Of course, I was not excited.
But my therapist said to just write 5 things before each session and work my way up to 50. However, once I was over halfway through, they just started coming to me. I realized there was more about myself to love than I thought there was.
Do you realize how loveable you are? Do you love yourself? Really think about it. Make a list if you need to and keep it on your phone like I do for hard times.
To prove it’s possible, here's my list:
50 Things I Love About Myself
1. My hair
2. I'm creative
3. I love my tattoo
4. I care deeply about people
5. I feel like I'm a very faithful person
6. I'm more courageous than I usually see
7. I love that I am a traveler who wanders
8. I love that I am a wonderer
9. I love to learn
10. I like the shape of my nose
11. I love that I dance
12. I love my eclectic sense of style
13. I love that my favorite color is grey and so are my eyes
14. I love my love for words
15. I love that I'm unique
16. I love that I am loved
17. I love that I am a passionate person
18. I love that I'm an artist
19. I love that I'm adventurous
20. I love that I'm curious
21. I love that I'm sincere
22. I love that I make a genuine effort to be kind to others
23. I love that I am a reader
24. I love that I'm a dreamer
25. I love that I am colorful
26. I love that I have a purpose
27. I love my hat collection
28. I love my imagination
29. I love my love for people
30. I love my choice in friends
31. I love that I'm a fighter
32. I love that I loves miniatures and tiny things
33. I love that I am a very spiritual person
34. I love that I keep my toes painted and my feet healthy
35. I love that my brain works like a book in space
36. I love that I can hand make books
37. I love that I'm a sculptor and caster
38. I love that I am skörjet
39. I love that I've lived abroad
40. I love that I have piercings
41. I love that I have an eclectic taste in music
42. I love that I love fluffy things
43. I love that I love organic aesthetics
44. I love that I have generally good composition and aesthetics
45. I love that I have faith in people and am learning to have faith in myself
46. I love that I love the cold and the snow
47. Yet I love that I love hot drinks
48. I love that my favorite word is yet.
49. I love that I have good discernment
50. I love that I still give my heart to people even though it's been broken so much
So what about you? What do you love about yourself?
Definitely a full weekend.
Friday happened. Real hard.
After waiting to hear back from work about when I needed to come in for some new training, I finally got an email. But definitely not the one I wanted. Instead of a time to come in for training, they just decided to let me go. I am no longer needed. In fact, I was not even given the chance to finish out the pay period. And because I recently changed to working from home instead of being in the office, they have no legal binding to me, which was why they were able to just drop me quick.
I felt like the proverbial rug had been swept out from beneath me.
And I fell. Real hard. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends. A dear friend came over to my apartment to comfort me. We went to a church event that evening and then country dancing after. My friend stayed the night since I had my apartment to myself this weekend and her presence was a huge comfort to me.
But let me be real with you. This being let go was a hard hit. And it was about my writing...so as a writer, I felt personally humiliated and hurt. And very confused, because up until this past week, everything was grand. They loved me; I loved them. All hunky dory. So definitely shocking, scary, and hurtful.
There is a letting go feeling going on right now inside of me. Letting go of the job and all that I thought it was. Having to learn again how to trust and let go of my controlling desires. Anybody else struggle with this? I feel like I am not the only one.
Saturday, I had a difficult conversation with a friend. And by difficult conversation, I mean that her, her roommate, and I all sat down and had the discussion about how much professional help she needed to get in the wake of family death, struggles, depression, and anxiety. This went so far as to going to the hospital to get an evaluation done. In fact, the same hospital that I spent my inpatient days in. That was a throwback. I had major flashbacks. But I was there to support a friend, so I did.
Both Saturday and Sunday nights came with huge panic attacks. Not fun. So Monday morning came with grogginess and a hungover feeling, not that I am actually familiar with that feeling, to be honest, but it sure felt like what I imagine them to feel like.
I had a meeting get canceled in the morning, but I still had a lunch meeting about “the show,” as elusive as that sounds, I still can give no more details. But soon, my friends, soon.
As I am writing this, it is Monday evening and I am still tired and just plain worn out. The good news is that this week, I should be finding out about a space for me to finish my art in for the show and that would be amazing to finally have s p a c e.
There are good meetings to come this week. Tomorrow I plan to throw some pots. And I don’t mean throw. I mean the pottery term - “to throw.” As in creating pieces of pottery on a wheel. Hopefully I can get out of bed tomorrow and do that. I am trying to hold onto what little sanity I have left. It may not be much, but I am certainly trying.
Ok, so I had a weird Wednesday.
By weird, I mean that really good stuff happened and really bad stuff happened. So at the end of the day, I wasn't exactly sure how I should be feeling. All I knew was that I was tired. Exhausted.
The good news was about the art show...things are moving forward in good direction. Some meetings were set and some decisions were made. And hopefully soon, I will have a space to paint and sculpt and create in. That is was the hope is today. It's looking fairly good, but I am still praying.
The bad news... well, apparently I haven't done my work at my day job the way some people want it done and it came back on me. Hard. Especially since it was about my writing, it made it a difficult pill to swallow. And obviously, as medicated as I am, I am used to swallowing pills. This one came with a little more humiliation and embarrassment.
After so much emotion, by the end of the night, I was very ready for bed.
As for an art update, I have my projects for the art show planned out and scheduled for creation. There are about 25 pieces and then a series of about 100 small drawings that I am working on. It’s definitely a lot of work, but I am excited to do it. Some of the work is already in progress and some of it is still waiting for the supplies to be bought. But I feel good about the schedule that I am on.
To be honest, last week was full of anxiety and yesterday felt like I got the first wave of relief in about 1.5 weeks. Lots of panic attacks were had and late, sleepless nights. I spent a lot of time wondering what I was doing wrong with my life and why I couldn’t just calm down. Some of it, I do not even know why I was struggling with anxiety. I know that part of it was because there was a lot up in the air about the event and I was nervous. But more so, I just didn’t trust that there was a plan. And there is only so much I can do on my own. Taking more time to write and read and create was helpful though. In hindsight, I probably should have done much more of it. But when you are in the middle of anxiety or depression “doing” is the last thing you want to do, whatever it may be.
My therapist gave me some good insight on Tuesday...she said right now is almost a calm before the storm time. And because I am aware that I am about to get very, very busy, I need to make sure that I do the things I want done before the storm hits. So I was like, what do I want to do? The answer: reading, duh. That always gets brushed off when work becomes really busy, but something I miss very much. So my goal is to read quite a few books in the next few weeks or month. What are some of your latest favorite books? To be honest, I probably will not be able to add them to my list, because man, do I have a long list, but I would love to hear about them and have them for future reads. I’m always down to talk about books anyways. You might have noticed that since I’ve reviewed books on my blog. I have made sure to limit it to creative and inspirations books though, but I really do like a wide variety of literature.
So how about it? What are you reading?