Not fearing accountability

Who else is grateful to have the festive period over? Even if everything seems grand and life is plodding on ok, Christmas is so intensely derailing, I end up quite raw when school starts up again. The first week of new years I was aware of the rawness, and containing myself as much as I could, but craved more control. I got that by making myself a weekly time table, a life schedule! liberating. My time is my own.

Not drinking, smoking or driving gives means I get to treat myself to one session of therapy every week, because of that’s what I need right now. The beauty of recovery, having hit rock bottom, I know what the slide feels like. I went 2 years with no therapy. I took on a project that I knew I wanted to do but would also need help carrying through till the end. Sometimes it’s just someone to remind me to eat 3 times a day and sometimes it’s where I put all the hopeless rage. 

This is my face, even it is political. I can take this face out naked and the reaction it gets is very different to when it has makeup on it. It got podgier over Christmas and that got comments from someone near my studio. Cheers dude, yes I have put weight on but why are you commenting on it? Why do I have to hear if you think I look good or healthy? It’s stupid, I don’t, stop it. At my very illest and smallest I was given countless “compliments” about my appearance. 

Once upon a time, I was making political work without having any understanding of politics. I GET so much more now. There are things that need to change and that’s why what I do IS political. Where you work, shop, what you eat and where you spend your time and money, words you use and how you talk with people it is ALL political. The stuff that is important to me needs to be better, better access and funding to family mental health support has to improve across Norfolk and Suffolk. Trauma-informed practice needs to be embedded across services. Social workers need a break, like nurses and teachers, they need more people on the ground and a realistic workload. These are just those off the top of my head.

I love my recovery and therapy but accessing it isn’t just a choice, if I want it I have to go out and get it because the NHS MH service in Norwich is chronically oversubscribed. I have never been able to successfully access it, not before, during or after a crisis. You literally have to be the right kind of unwell and recover within a tiny timeline. That its a privilege is disgusting. The UK is opening up about MH and smashing stigma but their system isn’t fit for purpose and do not get me started on childrens MH services- rage tears have occurred in the name of CHAMs. 

This post is what it looks like when I don’t fear accountability. Creepy art to follow. Also Lookout across social media platforms for incidentals and Talking MH dates in Norwich, one in April and one in February.

Advertisements

I was wrong.

This post is unapologetically me, triggering and sweary, sorry not sorry.

If you’re striving for something you believe you’re not, it hurts and it’s probably counterproductive. I didn’t think I was good. I got really ill and was broken down to nothing, so every effort I made to do better, with encouragement from some key people meant, that I could prove to myself that I was enough. When I settled into the feeling that I am enough, I started to care & know what it felt like to let myself be cared for, have space and time and be nurtured. From this base, I was able to learn more about what I’m capable of and what I’m responsible for, what I can change or impact in my little life and the big wide world.

Having recovered. The main cause of self-sabotage removed, (other than a chronically dysfunctional family)  yaaaaaas bithces,  I’ve been sober for over a year. I’ve gotten so much done! That in itself is a big chunk of talking. I don’t want to say I am an alcoholic because I feel it makes light of those who have a bigger struggle than I did. It was about escaping and losing control. I didn’t want to associate with being an alcoholic in the same way I didn’t want to be seen as a victim. My experiences growing up, saying  -it wasn’t THAT bad. How many survivors do that? A lot. We always think someone else has it worse so we should just be grateful and get on with life. I was wrong. I have a very big story about this. It comes out in short bursts when I’m talking with friends, but this is how it comes into play now.

While doing some jobs around town, my head grumbling around this idea and the next task, walking home in the grey December wet I saw the amber traffic light and stepped out into the road on a crossing. There’s always a few seconds to dart over before it turns red. My shoe stomped stopped rigid in the tarmac as a car slowed and honked. A hot flash of FUUUUCK jolted up my body. The driver gesticulating, me pulling the most “whatever, up your’s” face my face can. Shame prickling the back of my neck. I never usually tempt the red figure. If there are young people and children especially I wait till it’s green, even when I was a kid there was this link with been seen to do the “right thing” when there was someone there to see it.

 

I raged all the way home. What a prick. Speeding off the roundabout like that. AND flailing their hands at me. When their light wasn’t green….not when I started crossing. It was amber! It was amber, erk. It wasn’t my fault, they were in the wrong. I didn’t tell anyone about it, and that felt like an old shame, the fear of someone calling me stupid and that I was wrong…..that I could have endangered my life. For the next few hours, this went round in my head. I felt angry and right and stupid, and what if it hit me. Round and round in my head, building up more bile everytime I thought about it. Angrier and more ashamed. Another old feeling, an old friend walked parrel in all these thoughts, “So you do want to die! you can’t hide it, I’m still here, look at you trying to be all good .”  Fuck off old friend, not today, that’s not what it was, you and all your intrusive mates can do one, I didn’t just step out into traffic to avoid life. So maybe I’m a slightly alcoholic, slightly suicidal, previous victim of a short list of things, it’s totally debatable to me and myself. What I know above all is that I own my shit, I get the whole responsibility thing even when I get it wrong.

I was so angry with the driver and myself and life, right up until I told myself, I was wrong. The weight of the anger at a stranger, the self-loathing at being that silly. It all melted away. I actually breathed a sigh of relief. I made a mistake, it could have been so much worse and I’m thankful it turned out how it did and I’m grateful that I can understand that I was wrong. So many times in the past within intricate experiences and relationships I was wrong.

It is so easy to hate yourself, to avoid risk and over correct or just opt out in order to not risk being wrong. I lived a life with no opinion because I  never wanted to be wrong or to upset someone or have someone think I was wrong. So I kinda did nothing, I just followed and slipped into the roles and spaces others made for me. Which sucks thinking about it but it’s easy, safe, the same, predictable and I could keep on loathing myself. New year new me isn’t something I promote,  because it is often close-knit with diet culture which I haven’t got time for and won’t knowingly promote. As a general rule, I believe you are enough.

 

 

 

Enough

Today I had lunch with a wonderful woman who remained me how far I have come & believes where I am going is exactly where I should be going. #MyVillage 💛⠀
I try to say this little phrase every morning when my feet touch the ground.
I am enough.
💛
I know from experience that if you hear something often enough you will believe it,good or bad. You can control this little bit of mighty good.

Be kind to you

One we can live with.

#AngryFeminist, a glace, ignorant look at my studio, that’s what I’m putting out into the world. I paint scary things, things that might live in any woman, ready to mutilate anything that got close or threatened. Womb dwelling, one-eyed, sharp toothy monsters. I draw angry vaginas and maternal rage, sure, I align my thinking with what currently looks like intersectional feminism, it feels like just being aware of power dynamics, how to know one’s own, see others and register the miss use of it in different circumstances. I’ve known enough types of powerlessness to want to avoid it and avoid causing it, point it out for or to others. I know anger, but I’m not angry, not all the time. Recently I picked up and have almost fully eaten The Power Naomi Alderman. It’s heartbreaking, terrifying and intense. I balance my rage, mostly because, therapy. I’m responsible for my emotions because I learnt to have them relatively recently and I have to model that to a tween Dynoboy.

Seeing & Holding Her 2018 Oil on canvas

My angry Vaginas live in the studio, they don’t go on show in our house because that’s what it is, ours.  I wanted to be with this one for a while.  In the exhibition it was in it I spent two days looking at it from the back of the canvas as it sat suspended in the window.  I put her up in my bedroom and introduced it to Dynoboy who said she was the mother of the sea. which made me very happy. The figure is strange but kind, a goddess or a saint perhaps, who else could cradle a wave that’s a bit off, not a satisfying elegant curve. We can, I can, people can. I won over anger, stopped being afraid of exposing others darkness and learnt to nurture myself and those around me, courageously, wholeheartedly. I will get it wrong from time to time but is fully present and I wouldn’t ever want to go back, feeling is awesome, even when it hurts. Dissociation has its perks, but this, now, recovered, is glorious.

I think I’m finally out of my post exhibition comedown, planning my next steps. Mostly mumming, painting and catching up with life admin.

DSCF3442
In the Gallery library window during FAV18 at Anteros Gallery Norwich

Breakfast in bed with an interesting view.