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?
Today…let me tell you about today. Today is a day in which I didn’t want to get out of bed. Today is a day in which just breathing feels like a drain to my system. Every little thing people do I interpret as personal or a threat to me. In my paranoia, everyone is out to get me.
Do I sound ridiculous? I’m sure I do to most of you. But other people know this is one of the types of days that is just part of being creative and sensitive.
On top of today being what it is, my last post was erratic and crazy sounding. So now I seem like I’m going from mania to depression. In reality, the state I’m in now has been building for the past week and had a catalyst today so it just exploded into this feeling of instability. I am teetering on the edge of oblivion feeling like the fall is inevitable.
Have I really only written that much? I feel like I’ve sat at my typewriter (more like computer) and bled all that I have to bleed, as Ernest Hemingway might put it.
I want to hide, but I’m afraid to be alone. I guess I need an invisibility cloak. One that has good airflow and doesn’t overheat me. I’ll check craigslist but if you hear of anyone trying to get rid of one, let me know.
Don’t misunderstand me, I may actually post this, but I don’t want to. I don’t want people knowing that I am feeling this way and thinking these things. But I take commitments very seriously and since I agreed to the reality and truth of the creative life in this blog, I am not going to go back on my word easily. I’m not saying it’s impossible; I know I am fallible. But I’ve fought too hard to fall guilty to stigmas and trying to only write the “right” things, the easy things.
The other difficult truth that I’ll be honest about on here is about God. Part of feeling the way I do today is feeling like God has left me. And abandonment issues run deep inside me. I feel left out in the rain. Don’t get me wrong, I like the rain, but being left out in it has a certain sad imagery to it. (By the way, the word for a lover of grey and rainy days is pluviophile. So, I am a pluviophile. Just not one who wants to get abandoned in the rain.)
Yes, I realize that my thinking is a vicious cycle and believe me when I say that I am fighting against it. It just isn’t easy.
“Do not mistake the bad days for days in which I am not fighting;
those are the days I am fighting the hardest.”
I am not sure who said that, but it is very true. Bad days do not mean I have given up; they just mean the demons got a great night’s sleep and were ready to start a violent fight this morning. I, on the other hand, slept very little. Add some nightmares to that and you’ve got an equation for a difficult day.
I write all this to say, yes, these days are real and really hard and horrible. But don’t mistake them for the end. As much as it may feel like the end, it really isn’t. So don’t let those demons you are fighting tell you otherwise. (I say all of this to myself more than anyone.)
Thank you for attention. See you later.
I am in a weird place today. I feel mustard yellow, which is a color some people love and can pull off really well. And other people not so much. I feel in between those people.
Really, I just want to sleep. Haven’t slept much this week so I know my judgment is slightly impaired because of that. That’s part of being a creative though. Some weeks, sleep is a wonderland. And other weeks it’s a big angry grizzly bear looking for its honey. Sometimes I feel like the grizzly bear. Then I drink lots of coffee.
Creative ideas are bouncing around my brain like ping-pong balls and I cannot seem to catch them. I feel that everything about my world is saying, “Shhhh, slow down; sit still. Everything is okay.”
And I’m just screaming.
What am I thinking? What’s going on in my brain? Was that a real idea? Do colors seem brighter? Or maybe the world is just blurry…
I shouldn’t have more coffee. Where am I going? Metaphysically or physically? I don’t really know the answer to either. Maybe I’m asleep this very second and don’t know it. This morning in my little bit of sleep I dreamt that I was Katniss Everdeen getting ready to fight a zombie horde. No joke.
I really love snow. Unfortunately, I live in Texas so it’s mostly a one-sided love. The sooner I get back to Colorado, the better. I feel the need to throw snowballs right now. It’s not something that’s going to happen, but it’s a desire nonetheless.
Those days when I wake up and my hair is just BAM. Perfection. Love those days. Today is one of those days fortunately. So I kinda feel like a wacked out Disney princess. Maybe Rapunzel, she’s pretty crazy. I wouldn’t mind Flynn Rider; I like the ruggedly handsome types.
I wish I had a tiny dragon. At first I thought dinosaur, but I was like no, have a dragon, duh. Obvious choice for me. The plus of having a full sized dragon would be getting to fly, but it would be hard to keep it safe from the world and I couldn’t bring it with me wherever I went. Plus, I love tiny things.
Ok, I think that’s enough written crazy for one day. But I have promised to be honest on my blog and show all sides of the creative life, so I couldn’t very well ignore today because it wasn't “normal.” Who cares about normal anyways? Certainly not me.
“Sometimes you get lost between the world you live in and the world you want to live in.”
This is what a friend just said to me and it couldn’t be more true. It’s hard to always live in the present moment when my past and my future flashes like slides in my mind.
Dreaming of the future is a beautiful thing. And it can be very good for us to dream and imagine and wonder. But I have to remind myself that I am living in the right now. Sometimes I get caught up in the idea that all of time is continuing to happen constantly and I get overwhelmed by all the emotions that I feel that I’ve ever felt in my life. Sounds crazy, right? But that’s what it can be like as a sensitive creative. We feel so much happening all of the time that we cannot help but be overwhelmed by it all.
That’s where mindfulness comes in.
Mindfulness is the practice of simply being. But it’s not as simple as that. It is experiencing life without distraction, without excess, being in the moment and of the moment. Yes, is can be a basic state of meditation, but it is also a way to go about life, being fully aware without being consumed. All of this becomes a very difficult idea for me.
There are certain things I try to remember in order to help me be more mindful.
1. I’m not perfect, but that’s okay. Parts of me are actually fantastic.
This is a difficult one for me, but it’s something I am trying to teach myself little by little.
2. You are not responsible for the whole world. And that’s a good thing.
3. Feeling deeply is allowed. Don’t be afraid of sensitivity.
Mindfulness does not mean that you squash all deep feelings. It just means that you are aware that you have them and you accept them for what they are. Don’t put more stress of yourself.
What are the important things that you need to remember? What are you learning about yourself?