• It’s the school holidays. The Great LEGO Codification has begun. This process has shown me that:
  1. Doing an inventory of your LEGO collection is only fun for a while, especially if you’re eight.
  2. Building all the sets is more interesting than doing inventory.
  3. We have a lot of LEGO! Last count was at 3341 pieces. I’m not even an eighth of the way in…
  4. The Great LEGO Codification is going to take a very. Long. Time. It runs the risk of becoming an all-consuming activity. I hope the family can fend for themselves.
  • My thoughts this week have been filled with a slow rage, because of the BS that society puts on us about how we should look in order to be acceptable and therefore included. It’s staggering and exhausting. I give you three examples:
  1. I’d planned on getting a much-needed haircut. Because it’s so long, I did some research into possibly donating my hair to a wig maker, who would then make it available to those undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Their criteria for acceptable hair reads: “Your hair must not include more than a few grey hairs however predominantly grey hair is accepted. If your hair contains the odd grey hairs in your ponytail (not salt & pepper) then that is absolutely fine but any more than that and we are unable to use the hair as again the hair is blended with so many other ponytails that we would have to pick out each individual grey hair to ensure that all of the hair was the same colour.” I’m disappointed. Apparently greying hair still has a stigma attached to it.*
  2. If sizing charts are anything to go by, only women who have a bust measurement between 82cm and 112cm are the ‘outdoorsy type’. Do you think I could find a thermal jacket, suitable for particularly cold conditions, in a size for a bust measuring 126cm? No sir, I could not.
  3. Whilst looking at online stores that sell plus size clothing (because possible job interviews), I came across an article about Next, the UK retailer who is offering greater variety in their sizing options for children aged three to 16. In addition to the standard sizing, they’re including ‘Plus-Fit’ and ‘Slim-Fit’ sizing. I like this. I like that this retailer is acknowledging that children do come in all different shapes and sizes. But reading the comments, and going by the general tone of the article, there are those who are horrified by the idea that plus size clothing is being offered to children.** This comment is quite spectacular, albeit scathing:

“I’m really surprised at people in favour of this. There shouldn’t be a demand for ‘plus size’ anything with the exception of athletes and those with genuine (*note genuine!), health issues causing weight gain. This normalizing of ‘fat’ is beyond unhealthy. That’s what it is, fat. A byproduct of excess food consumption, poor food choices and minimal or non-existent exercise. This shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone. Even less so in regards to children. ‘Baby fat’ drops off in toddlers, after that it’s generally down to poor diet which should then be rendered child neglect. Not knowing how to cook, time and poverty be damned. At a basic level, almost everyone has access to the internet to LEARN how [to] improve diet. It’s pure laziness.”

Just. Wow. The arrogance. The ignorance. I understand now, why calling one’s self fat can be a political statement.

  • I took Sophia to the library, just the two of us. This is a big deal, because anxiety. I have found that taking Sophia anywhere new and by myself amps up the anxiety level to the point where my body starts to prickle. I don’t trust that I’ll deal well with her breaking or getting into a ‘situation’… or something. I don’t know exactly. But. Yay library! Right? <stiff grin>
  • I finished knitting a scarf. It has pockets. The yarn is a little scratchy, turns out. <disappointed face> I suppose I need to learn how to make better yarn choices.
  • This weekend marks our two year anniversary in New Zealand. We left Jo’burg on the 21st April 2016, arriving in Wellington on the 23rd April. (That’s not a typo. Time zones. Still weird.) I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, Wellington is a good place to be. We’re happy here. This is home now. On the other hand, it’s hard being so far away from family and friends. I miss people. And I know they miss us. A lot. Sometimes. I do wish they could visit. <sad face> On the up side, we’re having dinner with some friends! I know, right?! We’ve made friends. It’s a nice feeling, hey. <smiley face>

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* Fun fact. There’s no such thing as grey hair. The hair stand is transparent. This happens when the hair follicle stops producing pigment. The clear hair strands appear grey or white because of the way light is reflected from the hair.

** I looked at Next’s sizing charts. A standard size ten-year old girl’s waist measurement is 62cm. The Slim-Fit measurement is 57cm. The Plus-Fit measurement is 67cm. That’s 5cm on either side of the standard sizing. 5cm on the waist does not an obese child make. But, 5cm on the waist can make for a  more comfortable child. And a comfortable child is a happy child. Enough said.

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  • This week has been hard. Following on from last week’s post, the nature of my anxiety, and the role it plays in my life, has been weighing heavily on my mind. I’ve worked so hard over the years to understand why I experience panic and anxiety, and I’ve learnt various strategies that allow me to manage it. Life has been puttering along nicely, for the most part. (Honestly though, the ‘puttering along nicely’ probably has a lot to do with me being very good at avoiding triggers.) But. Last week’s revelation has opened a wound. A very deep wound. I’m having (very vivid) flashbacks to various points in my life during which I experienced anxiety and panic in very painful ways. I’m there again, reliving the experience.* It hurts. I’d like to think that this is an opportunity for me to heal old wounds. Why else would they be presenting themselves now if not to demand attention? To be acknowledged? Wanting me to experience them differently this time, with self compassion instead of shame and harsh judgement, in the hopes that the cellular memory is somehow transformed? I don’t know, but I have to ride out the wave. It also reaffirms my understanding that the only way to overcome anxiety is to go through it. There’s no pill for this. Avoiding the triggers eases the pain, but it’s a lot of work and you’re dead inside anyway.
  • I’ve also been confronted by a horrible sense that I’m crap at sewing and clothing design in general. Or at least, I’m not all that good. I’ve got so much to learn! Design, pattern construction, draping, tailoring, sewing techniques, clothing history, the social and economic dynamics of fashion… all of it. I’m overwhelmed by the idea of even attempting to start the learning journey. Because I’m old. Because there are people out there who are doing damn fine work, and how could I ever measure up to that? How can I possibly catch up with them? They have years and years and years of education and/ or experience. My (very critical!) inner voice is quite indignant: how dare I think of myself as capable of the same level of creativity and skill? It’s just too far a stretch of the imagination. Too far. And how dare I believe that I could be so happy in my work, so fulfilled, so… deserving of the joy that comes from earning a good income and creating a mind-bogglingly beautiful, yet functional, thing? How? <sad face>
  • The universe is kind, and she sends me messages like this: ‘a flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms‘ and ‘great things never come from comfort zones‘. I swear under my breath. I know these things are true! I do. And yet… I can’t get out of my own way. I know I have to change what I’m doing. I dread the thought of another year drifting by, without me engaging in it. The change pivots on a decision, I think. Do I go back to work or do I go back to school? Both options sprawl their own questions. More possibilities, more challenges. I can’t decide which road to take. There’s too much choice. (The indecision breeds a disparaging annoyance. Still. I’m still struggling with this. Maybe I should just flip a coin already! <resigned shrug> (I’ve noticed how I’m applying for jobs rather indiscriminately now because maybe that will create some momentum or a sense of direction. It also creates anxiety. Lots of it. But I grit my teeth and apply anyway.)
  • Part of managing anxiety involves self care. I am not good at self care, mostly because I’m last on my list of priorities. But. I have taken to going on ‘wonder walks’, as I like to call them. I couldn’t wrap my head around going for a walk for the sake of going for a walk, or for the exercise. I realised that when I did go for a walk, I stopped often, taking pictures, having rather story-like thoughts. So I’ve decided to make this A THING. I’m preparing a wonder walk bag – that is: a bag holding a glass jar (for collecting interesting stuff), a notebook and pencil (for jotting down the story-like thoughts and perhaps drawing sketches if the whim takes me), a water bottle (because thirsty), and tissues (because walking sometimes makes my nose run). Nice!  This makes me happy. (And bonus, it encourages me to go for walks by myself. On my own. It creates an opportunity to sit with my anxiety, just sit with it.)
  • My father has been discharged from hospital and is now home, on his way to a full recovery! Whilst I’m relieved and so very happy about this, I’m also deeply sad that I don’t have the means by which to give him a hug in person, to let him know that I’m really (really!) glad he’s going to be with us for some time still. It’s bittersweet, is all. <sad face>

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* This is an extract from a journal entry, describing the experience. It’s not pretty.

“…the rush of heat up my spine, at my throat and prickling at my ears and cheeks – like thousands of tiny, hot needles. Burning. My vision is dull. Fuzzy. I can’t orientate myself. My surroundings spin. (Or… am I spinning?) My heart is thudding against my chest. Fast. Faster. Thud. THUD in my ears. My lungs shrivel.

I. Can’t. Breathe. I can’t breathe! I tilt my head back, hoping to lengthen my trachea. I’m gulping at the air now, like a fish out of water. Willing it to flow into my lungs. One breathe, one deep breathe. That’s all I need.

My skull is burning. Brain seizing. Hot tears. Vision watery. Blinking. Burning. My whole body is buzzing. Prickly and sharp. Ground. I need the ground. Sit down. Gulp at the air. Swallow. Swallow again. Nose. Breathe. Gulp. Lungs. Work! Blood. Pump! Ground levels out. Breathe. BREATHE! Staring, blinking.  Eyes widen. Rocking. Less spinning. Clutch at the ground. Steady now. Steady. Breathe.

I feel so small. Spent. Hollow. Hide.

 

  • Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend a talk at Te Papa about Tudor and Jacobean portraits, which would have given me an opportunity to learn more about portraits as a primary source of information for costuming. I didn’t go. There was little or no reason not to go.* But still. I did not go. Why? Because I’m good at making excuses as to why I shouldn’t do a new (different?) thing. I make the excuse because that lulls the anxiety, the panic. A very annoyed colleague once told me that I’d never go far because I never show up. She’s right. I don’t show up. Here’s why.
  • Anxiety is a very real part of my life. It’s a thing that I work hard to manage.** It’s also a state of being that stops me from doing new or different things. Literally. The fear seizes up my body. I become petrified. My go-to response is to avoid threatening situations.*** I spend my days at home where it’s mostly safe and I don’t have to move beyond a certain comfort zone. I can see how it makes my life small. I see it. I do. And yet… the energy needed to overcome the anxiety is greater than the excitement created by considering the doing of a new and shiny thing.
  • Up until now, I’ve told myself that it’s because I’m in a new country and one has to give one’s self time to adjust. Well, it’s been two years, baby. I’m not adjusting. I’m hiding. I’m waiting to die.**** There are days of brief wonder and stinging joy. Bright days, happy days where I feel like I’ve done a good thing, or somehow overcome the crazy and lived a little, made a connection. But these days are fleeting. My ‘resting state’ as a human being is one of humming anxiety. I don’t know how to recover from that.
  • When I do (somehow!) do a new or different thing, good things come from it.  New friendships, the accomplishment of doing a thing and doing it rather well (actually!). More often than not, I’m just surprised (delighted?) that I managed to do the thing, that my body did not kill me. <laughs… and then sighs> It all seems so silly. And yet… there it is.
  • Some might say that my anxiety has its roots in a fear of failure. I don’t think that’s me. I’m equal to the feeling of failure – I’ve reasoned with the concept of failure enough to have accepted it. My anxiety is perhaps rooted in a fear of actually being mind-bogglingly good at doing or creating a thing. If you’re good at something, you might just be noticed. Being noticed, being the object of scrutiny, is terrifying because, experience has taught me, people are cruel with their scrutiny. And I am of sensitive heart. I don’t do well with being scrutinised. <sad face>

 

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* The usual barriers were pretty much taken care of. There’s the anxiety (panic?) that ensues at the though of going to a place I’ve never been to before. This event was at Te Papa. Getting to Te Papa by train is very doable. Then there’s childcare – it being Easter Tuesday (a weird school holiday, I don’t know why it’s a thing in New Zealand), Sophia wouldn’t be at school. But Russell arranged to work from home, and Sophia can pretty much entertain herself for a good three to four hours now. So… yeah.

** Manage = either avoid the situation, ask for help so that I can circumnavigate the barriers (see *), which is uncomfortable and embarrassing AF, or I ‘will’ my way through the discomfort, working bloody hard to make sure don’t get completely overwhelmed by the fright or flight response. It’s exhausting.

*** Threatening situation = anything that I’ve not done before. A-ny-thing. Walking alone on the beach or through the forest is scary. Going into a shop that I’ve never been to is ‘deer in the headlights’ material. Anything. Pretty much.

**** Nobody panic. Despite my history of depression, I have no desire to end my life. This is not what I am talking about here. We’re talking about a wilting away. My avoiding living, my disengaging from new experiences because my body is convinced that said new experience might just kill me… so I stay where it’s safe.

 

  • Sophia is eight years old now. She’s growing up. She’s becoming more of an individual. She’s always been an individual, of course, but she’s not needing me as much anymore. Whilst this is a good thing (because it’s just the way parent-child relationships work), I’m left feeling a little sad. There’s a certain innocence that’s shifting and changing within her. Our conversations are becoming more complex. I like that. I like that she’s becoming a little human being with whom I’m beginning to have more of an actual relationship, but I’m also very aware that she’s still a little fragile and naive.
  • I work very hard to give Sophia a balanced perspective of the world. The burden of mothering is changing. When she was a baby and a toddler, it was about changing nappies, feeding her, and sleep! Now we’re having conversations. Conversations about subtle things, like good vs. bad vs. the thing in between that no one seems to have a name for, how boys and girls are different but that difference doesn’t (or shouldn’t) define the things one does or pursues, and how I might get upset (or downright angry) with the things she does, but my love for her doesn’t change, my wonder at how she expresses her ideas and the things she creates doesn’t change.
  • Mothers are ‘meant to’ love their children from the moment they become aware that they are with child. I am not one of these mothers. I am a reluctant mother. My becoming a mother was more of a ‘deer in the headlights’ experience than a ‘the heavens opened and angels began to sing’ experience. I’m a little surprised then that I’ve come to love my child. The aching heart kind of love. The mama bear kind of love. The ‘oh my gosh, how did you work that one out because that’s really smart’ kind of love. Sophia surprises me. And that’s… heartwarming.
  • We kept Sophia’s birthday celebrations low-key this year. Last year was the epic birthday-party-at-a-party-venue-with-screaming-children-too-much-sugar-and-not-enough-time-to-actually-enjoy-the-company-of-friends birthday. This year was the play-all-day-with-dragons-and-LEGO-Dimensions-and-Disney-Infinity-whilst-the-adults-cook-and-chat birthday. It was nice, for everyone. I feel like this is what birthdays should be like – more parents enjoying the day as much as their children instead of parents working bloody hard to create ‘an experience of joy and wonder’ for their children.
  • Sophia was also delighted to get a phone call from grandad and nana first thing in the morning, and a stream of WhatsApp messages from avô* and avó**, Tio Luis, Madrinha and Caitlyn during the day. It’s bittersweet though… knowing they miss Sophia so much, celebrating her birthday from a distance. Sure, technology helps, but it’s just not the same as warm hugs in person. It’s just not. 😦

 

* pronounced “a-voh” (grandpa)

** pronunced “a-vaw” (grandma)

The interesting thing about writing a blog is that you begin to appreciate how much thinking and wresting with ideas goes on in the background. There’s a lot on my mind, which might explain why I often feel mentally tired. Here are some of the things that have been on my mind during the week.

  • I had a conversation with another mum about winter hockey teams. At the time, the conversation felt inconsequential, but she made a comment that, later I realised, had deeper significance for me. She pointed out that there were a lot more girls playing hockey this winter than boys, and perhaps that shouldn’t be so surprising because hockey seems to be one of the few sports that the girls have access to – there’s no football or rugby for them, and the school doesn’t have a netball team. This conversation swirled around my brain for a while, and then I remembered this Twitter thread by Milena about “docile, socially constructed bodies and why no women figure skaters do quad jumps, and women snowboarders only get 3m of amplitude on the half pipe while the men get 5m”. I’m still processing the thought. We’ll talk about it some more.
  • Also on my mind is the idea that plus-size fashion is freeing, prompted by an article on Stuff entitled The emancipating power of plus-size fashion. There’s so much to unpack from this article, and sadly I have no time to do it now. But, I’ll leave you with this piece, which struck me most:

“For Duff, fashion is about diversity. She is scathing of the tired trope that the plus-size industry is somehow “promoting obesity”.

“I’m just supporting women to have a life, be a part of life,” she says.

  • Some time ago, I mentioned how I’ve decided to look for part time work. This decision is having consequences – mostly because my frustrations around the perceptions about being a housewife are surfacing. These frustrations are mostly around the fact that being a housewife/ caregiver is basically unpaid labour, and unpaid labour has little or no value. Being a caregiver to your own child is seen as a duty rather than meaningful, important, valuable work. The most you can get out of it is transferable skills, and even that seems a bit of a stretch of the imagination. This has me angry, I won’t lie.
  • Enough about wrestling thoughts. On a more cheerful note: I have procured a spinning wheel. I have no clue as to how to use it – yet! I must say, I’m quite excited by the idea of spinning yarn and then knitting it into a garment. Oh, and the drive into Featherston to buy said spinning wheel was lovely, especially since we discovered the weekly farmers’ market. I’m a little surprised at how delighted I was to do some grocery shopping there. There’s something wholesome about buying vegetables directly from the farmer!
  • As to health matters – there’s no significant change regarding my father’s condition. He’s still in hospital. We take the small improvements as a good sign though. His appetite is much better – he’s eating full plates of food now. That’s good news!
  • I noticed that the dates in the headings of my previous two posts were wrong. I’ve corrected them. Sorry about that. I suppose it’s a good indication of where I’m at, though. I’m tired. Very tired.  I make mistakes when I’m tired. My cold probably has something to do with it. I’m not sleeping well because of the blocked nose, so… there’s that. And there’s the hip situation. Although better, I don’t have full movement yet. Also, it hurts if I lie on it, which inevitably happens when I’m asleep… which means I wake up… which means my sleep is disturbed… which means tired. So yeah. Tired.
  • Holidays are coming up and I thought I’d use the time with Sophia to start a project. A time-consuming, labour intensive project. I’m want to re-organise our LEGO collection by part. We have over 100 sets, easily. See how this is going to take a while? Why, you ask? Because most of our sets are in neatly labelled and organised plastic bags. Sure, this is great if you want to build that set, but it’s not at all conducive to the free building that Sophia is into right now. She’s picking pieces from this or that bag, which means the set is now incomplete. This drives me a little mad because we must have all the pieces in the bag, you know? Yes? (Okay, you don’t care. I know. I’m particular. Anyway. Moving on.)
  • Did I mention that LEGO has brought out it’s latest range? I haven’t looked at the City, Ninjago or Creator themes yet, but I happened to come upon the Elves sets yesterday – and are they cute! Dammit. Now I want them all! (The only LEGO Elves set we don’t have is Naida’s Spa Secret (41072). Refusing to buy it was a form of silent protest on my part. Naida’s space in the mini movie Unite the Magic, which LEGO made as part of the theme’s release in 2015, is a library in a cave, complete with waterfall (because Naida = water elf). How did we go from a library in the mini movie to a spa in the LEGO set? It feels wrong – that ‘girls = beautification’ idea. And a library, people! A library! How can you not include a library? Just… how?)
  • Anyway. Following along the same line of gender specific stuff, and whilst I’m moaning – please tell me: do girls not wear green clothing? I only ask because we needed a green t-shirt for my daughter’s school athletics day (green being her house colour). The only place I could find a straightforward, plain-coloured t-shirt was in the boys’ section. The girls’ section was full of shades of pink, muted tones of blue and lavender, rose gold sparkly polka dots, and the odd black and white stripe, often with a ‘cute’ slogan or picture. Nothing plain. No-thing. Jeez, I’m all for having a sense of style and having fun with your clothing – but can we as girls (women?) have some more colour choices please? And functional pockets.
  • My father hasn’t been discharged from hospital yet. A brief chat with my mother on the weekend revealed that he actually had two drains inserted at his side. Whilst one of the drains has been removed, the other remains. On the upside, the amount of fluid that is draining is decreasing. We still don’t know where the fluid is coming from, not exactly. I’m just glad he’s slowly getting better.
  • I have a cold. It sucks when you can’t breath through your nose.
  • I applied for a part-time position. I didn’t get beyond making an application. At first, I was relieved when I read the email letting me know I’d not progressed to the next stage of the selection process (mostly because the idea of going for an interview makes me very anxious). Then there was disappointment, because I’d imagined myself working and it was a nice feeling. Now I have to start from scratch. Looking for part-time work feels hard.
  • I discovered Shoe School. This is quite exciting because:
    1. I struggle to find shoes that fit well (because broad feet). The idea of designing, making and then wearing comfortable shoes is exhilarating.
    2. I can imagine making miniature shoes for dolls! How cute would that be?
    3. It’s an opportunity to see how I manage my anxiety around going to new places, meeting strangers, and learning new things.
    4. It’s also an opportunity for me to balance the demands of managing a household and being a caregiver (i.e. Is child care after school available? Can I get to class on time in the morning and get Sophia to school too? Can I manage household chores and responsibilities as well as classes and homework?)
    5. Points 3. and 4. are especially relevant because studying costume at Toi Whakaari for two years is still on my radar.
  • My father is still in hospital. His recovery is slow. So slow. It makes me sad that there’s nothing I can do to make him better, faster.
  • I meant to write this blog on the 9th of February 2018. But here we are, three weeks later. No blogs yet. (Sorry Luis*.) Shitty as that is, I’m starting where I am. My intention is to write a blog once a week, on a Friday. Because my brother asked me to and I said I would. (And because I think it will be good for me.) Writing a blog is hard. Structure makes it easier -therefore the ‘five things’ approach. (Thank you to Robynn** for the idea.) Basically, I’ll write about five things. They may be related, or they’ll be random. Who knows. It just has to be five things.
  • I have injured my hip. A weird twisty motion from a sitting position broke my muscles. It’s sore. I’ve booked an appointment with a physiotherapist. It will get better. But. I don’t think it’s just a sore hip. It’s been a sore hip for going on four weeks now. That’s too long for “just a sore hip”. Sometimes it’s not so much about my body as it is about my head-heart-spirit space. Louise L. Hay’s Heal Your Body says: “Hip Problems = Fear of going forward in major decisions. Nothing to move forward to.” Debbie Shapiro’s Your Body Speaks Your Mind says: “Where there is fear of movement – perhaps a fear that there is nothing to move towards …, or a fear of where we are going – then the hips will reflect this. A problem here indicates … a feeling of being unable to stand on our own. Stiffness in the hips is a sign of resistance to change, perhaps in your work or living situation. … When we feel useless, our hips prove that uselessness by preventing us from moving.” (Bold text is mine.) Also, it’s my left hip. Shapiro says “The left side of the body … indicates the ability … to surrender; to nourish and care for others; … to be creative and artistic, to listen to and trust our own wisdom.” (Again, bold text is mine.) It’s telling because this so accurately describes my head-heart-space. I’m stuck, too afraid to take a next step.
  • I’d like to make dolls, and costumes for dolls. I don’t know why. This online course by Adele Po could be a good place to start. Also, whilst we’re on the subject of learning, I think I’d like to explore Druidry through The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Just thought I’d put that out there.
  • Last I heard (about four days ago), my father is doing better. He’s still in hospital, but slowly recovering. I take the removal of the drain from his side to be a good sign. His appetite it back. He is healing. (And I breathe just a little.)
  • This morning, I held Sophia’s*** little face in my hands and I told her that I love her to the moon and back. She responded with a warm hug and a “I love you to the sun and back”. So much feels.

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* my dearest brother

** my beautiful friend

*** my beloved daughter

 

 

I write when I’m in a dark place. Sorry, but that’s kinda just the way it seems to be working out. (I think of blogs as happy places where people share all the awesome experiences they’re having or show other people how to make all the amazing stuff they’re making, or document recipes; and perhaps (as I’ve discovered more recently) dolls and the making of their lovely clothing. I think of blogs where people document pleasure. I don’t think of blogs as places where people share their ‘profound life lessons’… or darkness. Let’s just call it what it is – their darkness.)

But here I am… feeling dark. I feel a lot of pressure to ‘go out there and experience life because oh my god you’re in New Zealand and it’s an awesome place and there’s so much for you to experience and you simply must tell us all about how amazing it is… and… stuff.’ The reality is I have four hours every week day morning to have a miniature adventure – but I don’t, and I’m frustrated by it. I don’t go out into the big, amazing New Zealand not so much because I don’t want to (the idea is delightful of course!), or because I can’t (I have a car, I have money to put petrol in car, I have ability to drive car… my sense of direction sucks and I mostly have no clue where I’m going and the idea of getting lost is (quite literally, I’m not using hyperbole here) terrifying… but we have GPS now… so… there’s that.

The thing that holds me back most is fear, which manifests as anxiety.

Now, it’s not the sort of anxiety that requires medical intervention (because I can mostly function from day to day). It’s the ‘what if’ sort of anxiety, the ‘I’m not doing this thing called living right’ anxiety. The truth, I suppose, is that I’m feeling very lost and very disconnected – like a little boat out to sea… bobbing about with no sail… no anchor. At its most melodramatic, I don’t know who I am or how I want to live my life.

(I’ve always measured my life based on how I think other people will react. I’ve lived outside of my self. I’m painfully aware of this.)

 

My sense of self shrinks every day as I convince myself that the ideas I’m entertaining aren’t ‘safe’. Pretty much everything I consider doing feels dangerous because it’s so far from anything I’ve ever done. And I do mean everything.

There are days when I’m brave and I do engage in a new (exciting? interesting? beautiful?) experience. But. There’s always an emotional backlash. The doing of the new thing takes so much out of me energetically, I’m left dumb and numb for a day or two whilst I integrate said new experience into my being.

Because everything has significance. Everything. My mind is constantly busy, processing the significance of things and experiences. Walking in the forest is not just walking in the forest. It’s wondering if there really are divas (many call them fairies) amongst the plants… or how the light looks so clean now that the sun is setting… and isn’t it all so bloody marvellous?

And hey – immigrating to a new country is all about new experiences – so imagine how tapped out I feel most of the time.

And oh god, the learning curve! I imagine myself doing stuff, and then I realise I don’t know how to do that thing… and then it dawns on me that I’d have to learn how to do that thing… and oh god, that takes time and effort and a level of commitment and dedication. Can you see how things fall flat? Feeling tapped out most of the time and being overwhelmed by the idea of learning a new thing gets me nowhere fast. Result: frustration.

There’s also the thing I have about living inside my body. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m more of an imagination (brain) person than a physical (body) person. I have no relationship with my body. We don’t talk much. Sad really, considering how hard my body works to keep me alive…

 

The point is, I’m at a crossroads. I appreciate how moving to New Zealand offers me the opportunity to engage with some of the things I’ve always wanted to explore. The ridiculous things is – I don’t know where to start.

That learning curve feels too steep.

 

In the haze that is death, and perhaps because I’m reaching for something that is hopeful, and holds the promise of creativity (read: life?), I wanted to tell you that I’m starting a thing on the 22 May 2017 – the 100 Days Project NZ.

The 100 Days Project has rules (so it’s very serious), to wit:

  1. I will repeat a simple creative task every day for the duration (of the project) i.e. 100 days.
  2. I’ll record each day’s effort.

The recording of each day’s effort will happen on Instagram, here and on the 100 Days Project website, here. Feel free to follow the creativity. 🙂

What will I be creating? Miniature costumes – period or fantasy costumes for dolls, more specifically.

As to the ‘why’. I’m stuck. I’m hoping this will be the start of me creating stuff; of me making stuff; me tapping into that long-held love of period and/ or fantasy costume, whilst relishing the happy feeling I get when working in small-scale. I’m hoping something shifts, and I can begin to feel connected to this strange place I’m now calling home.

I also have a lot of dolls that need clothing.

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