It’s difficult to write about how I’m feeling these days, because there are things I’m not comfortable writing about. I don’t mean to sound coy or mysterious and I hope it doesn’t sound that way. I am doing my best.
I started this selfie project as a way to dig myself out of an emotional trough. I felt that if I spent time with myself for at least half an hour a day, I’d be forced to pay attention to myself in a way that I haven’t in a long time.
And it seems to be working. I am caring for myself in a way I haven’t before. And I’m thinking about myself (and my relationships with others) in new ways that are starting to surprise me.
I would have called this selfish in the past, but now I see that I was wrong. This feels like a very important journey for me and I see the progress I’ve made so far. I’m not there yet, but I am at least on my way. When I painted tonight’s selfie, the word ’emerging’ came to mind.
I look a little constipated I know, but that’s not actually how I feel.
I made a vow a few weeks ago to start taking care of myself. I changed my diet. I started walking more. And I started talking to myself differently. Basically, I started giving myself the same benefit of the doubt that I give others.
And once I stopped beating myself up incessantly, I started seeing things more clearly. How someone reacts to me usually has NOTHING to do with me, and EVERYTHING to do with them.
Why did I not see this before? I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted with regards to one specific relationship, although this carries over to others as well.
Holy revelation Batman!
Sometimes that’s all it takes.
You see something one way and it seems so clear and true, and then you read something, or someone says something, and everything shifts and suddenly you realize you have been getting it all wrong.
That thing that has been making you miserable may not be the way you thought. And if you’re wrong, your misery was misplaced.
It doesn’t mean that the new perspective is true either, of course.
It just means that you realize maybe you don’t know.
Maybe you’ll never know.
And maybe you just have to approach life with that outlook: “I just don’t know, so why get upset about the way I imagine it to be.”
This is #89 in a series of 365 selfies (one a day for all of 2016). You can see the whole collection here.
Almost 4 years ago, I moved home from the US.
I could never have imagined all the changes that lie in store for me. I had no idea that coming home would throw up so many challenges and force me to face so many issues.
I never wish that I hadn’t done it.
But sometimes I wish it could have unfolded differently.
When I was a little girl, I remember my dad commenting on some actress on TV. He thought she was looking old.
“It’s the neck,” he said. “The neck always gives away a woman’s age.”
Why I remember this, I have no idea. I remember hardly anything. But, remember it I do. And every time I look in the mirror and see my own, slightly-the-worse-for-wear neck, I remember those words.
I painted today’s portrait on some new paper I bought.
My local town has a small art shop, for which I am very grateful. But ‘small’ really is the operative word. Today we drove into Manchester to visit two big stores I had heard about, but never seen.
For those in other countries, Manchester is Britain’s second or third city (depending who you ask). It’s a big, busy, cosmopolitan place with a thriving cultural scene, so it’s the perfect place to go for art supplies.
And oh my, the second shop we went to was amazing. I could have spent all day in there, just rolling around in paper and rubbing paint tubes all over my arms! Unbelievable. I came away £84 poorer, but it could have been much, much worse if I hadn’t exercised some restraint.
My best buy were two handmade pads of Indian watercolour paper. I just keep taking them out and stroking them.
But I also cut one page into smaller pieces and used one of them for this portrait. The watercolour soaked in a little more than I’d like, so I may need to get used to it. But even if I never do, I’ll still love those pads of paper, because they are so beautiful!
Today we had to call the vet and have our cat put to sleep. She’s the last of 6 we had in America. She came home with us and lived four more years here in the UK. She was 16 and she slept with me most nights of those 16 years. She was my little buddy.
I love you, my little Bean and I will miss being woken up at 6am to get your food.