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.

 

 

 

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Mum Mode

#MumMode I’d love to be brutally honest but I’ll tone it down, to keep me and my little family safe. I don’t blog or use social media anonymously. My family isn’t nerotypical & our struggle isn’t a secret, but the details are masked. There is a picture of Dynoboy and I alongside the mention of difficulty in an interviewby the NSFT about FAV17 with the local paper a year ago. My mum mode is fully acctivated, were almost half way through the summer holidays, in a few weeks I will be running on reserves.

I’m still reluctant to share his image on posts freely, I have a strict internal venn diagram about when it feels right to and when it’s not appropriate, the caption alongside makes a huge impact too. The context of my painting and activist work and the audience I’m sharing it with bring huge connotations that could be miss read because I haven’t strictly underlined where we sit on the domestic abuse and mental health map (there is no such map that I’m aware of) Recently networking a hypnotherapist asked “What’s your background?” my flippant reply was “all trauma”. I have since learnt to say “Artist and Family Mental Health Activist”. I’ve been incredibly angry and frustrated recently because I know our truth. It’s so full and loaded but I have to be contented that I KNOW.

It makes me uncomfortable, parents sharing their children’s unwanted behaviour online, it comedy relief, sure or is it – help I’m a victim if my child! When it’s negative behaviour, there is a vulnerability that’s so frickin obvious it makes me sad. Sometimes it’s comical and how we get through it, parents being in the same boat, I get that. Maybe it’s about balance, maybe I’m just hypersensitive or maybe not down with the times. I’d be heckin pissed if my childhood deviance was chronologically laid out and my struggle shared without my creative input.

I’m sure I used to do it too, I know I’ve thought about it, I know there are images of me fed up with him in the back ground  but I’ve never openly shared the bigger natative. What makes me uncomfortable now is the line that gets crossed where the parent is advocating for their child with overexposure of the struggle. It’s totally different when it’s in private groups, for example parenting social media groups have strict guidance on what to share within the group, in order to keep the families safe. These spaces often hold those who are in crisis, which is often messy af. I see it a lot from autism speaks type parents, the autism community is fighting back with it’s own voice, Kirsten Schultz wrote a compelling open letter to The Mighty about it.

Being a neurodivergent young person isn’t easy, being their parents is tough too. Sometimes it’s like having a much younger child. Sometimes it’s like living with a much more mature person in an adolescent shell. Yes having teenagers brings its own struggle but if someone is off loading to you, DO NOT SAY “oh that’s just normal for their age.”  Any way I’m just here to say that parenting is hard.

Parenting Extra is HARD.  

School holidays means the responsibility of laying out structure and routine is primarily on the one person who stays home.That’s me, it means the times I get to be just me, to meet friends for life giving coffee and chats is less. More planning has to be done to keep my own routine of weekly therapy and support in place. To get in the studio and leave when I’m ready doesn’t happen. An appropriate child care situation literally doesn’t exist. It’s all about containment. My identity has to hold on for a while, I have to just hold on in there and keep on keeping on, and that’s OK, because this is so much better than it ever has been.

I don’t want sympathy or applause. I just want to share because I know I’m not alone and I know you probably know a family in a similar situation. So go have a cuppa, send a message of solidarity, let them rant. Forgive them and reschedule plans if everything went wrong or plans where broken.  Don’t judge what you can see, because you can’t see it all. It can be chronically lonely for parents and support is hard to come by, if it isn’t a burden on you go see them, bring dinner, go to the park with them. This stuff is priceless.

Repairing damage from previous relationships for us both and assisting the growth of a wholesome young person is my responsibility, it’s a privilege I share with a trusted few.

We are nothing without our village.

 

Talking Talks

My talk @ Shedding the Light Confrence, Lowestoft

It sounds totally selfish and egotistical but I think I love talking.

Which is the new branch of thinking and I’m not totally convinced. Having been a mumbler with no authentic confidence to talk about or even think about what I believed in for years, talking feels really new.  I’m in the position where I get to talk about quite intimate concepts, talking about loneliness and isolation,  family mental health, about trauma, domestic abuse and adding the kind of shenanigans I get up to in the studio, I  have this growing world of speaking and listening. Though often I have an overwhelming sense sometimes that I’m going to get into trouble for talking and one day I might.

I’m not looking or asking for trouble but I realise that my initial plan wasn’t a good plan. My initial plan gave me no responsibility. I started drawing how I felt when I was about ten and got bruttally ignored. Mostly durnig crisis, throughout my teens and 20s avidly when I  hit 30 I ranted and splurged. I wrote and drew but no one ever saw it, no one   knew it existed because my idea, my initial plan was I would give it to somebody else.  Either when I died (yes, I planned this one several differnet ways over the years) or when anyone who would be cross with me was no longer around.

Neither of those things have happened and yet I’m talking, Im out of the secret note books and off the canvas.

The first talks and conference I did I had my work to back me up and a colleague I trusted. We didn’t plan for it we just showed the work and we talked about it and ask the audience questions and it worked.

The second time I did it I didn’t have my work to back me up, no visual distraction, there was no power Point, there was no pop-up exhibition it was just me and the microphone and I was way out of my comfort zone. You can listen to that in the link above, also I’ve got a few more dates pencilled in for upcoming conferences too.

So I might get in trouble for talking, I suspect it won’t be the trouble that I’m anticipating

I deal with a few taboos and my lived experience runs parallel to those who I grew up around it’s important that I bear in mind. I don’t have a right to tell other stories. Right now I give contexts but no details which is interesting when talking about family mental health. I realised a couple years ago that no one will ever understand my entire story which is kind of freeing.

Sometimes I say the context of relationships for example parent and child relationships have expected dialogue and then there’s the unexpected truth of those experiences.

Part of my experience is my son’s mental health and that can be very tricky, it’s part of a loop, I want to hold all of the responsibility for that. There’s learnt behaviours there that I’m just not responsible for and it’s unpicking that and showcasing the outcomes of behaviour and behavioral loops as examples of  intergenerational trauma that I feel I can talk about safely and responsibly without overstepping, oversharing and disrespecting my son and our relationship.

I still feel like I’m right at the beginning of something huge and I don’t know what it’s going to look like but I like how it looking right now. I just know that I want to keep talking so that I can help all the versions of me that ot me here, the voiceless, lonely, unsafe child, the unregulated recless teen, a young single mum and the woman that had a mother ectomy. Somehow I can empower some one enough not to get into crisis, or to get back on their feet, I can empower change in how they access care, how care is accessible, pushing for a successful recovery model.

 

https://soundcloud.com/user-523384248/nicky-murnin-loneliness-and-isolation-talk