Category Archives: regular

the regular stuff…

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Hello again.

I’m writing another post! Go, me! It’s been a busy few months, and I haven’t done much reflection time on the events.

My niece visited in May for three weeks, and it was beautiful and difficult all at the same time. She arrived and we didn’t know each other very well, but almost immediately became friends. There were times we were sisters, there were times I felt like a mother (in the best ways), and there were overlaps in pop culture that I didn’t expect. I was genuinely broken-hearted when I hugged her goodbye at the airport. We Snapchat and WhatsApp irregularly to stay in touch.

I had my second solo exhibition of art last month. So, after the whirlwind of showing my niece around (which included a quick trip to Spain), I feverishly prepared and hung an exhibition of many of my works on paper. The framing was expensive, rave reviews and comments did not transfer into many sales, and so I expect that I will not break even. It was worth it, certainly, but I am ever more aware that the best place for my sales is through my own channels online. That’s where my focus will be, unless a real opportunity arises that makes my return on investment less futile.

Saying that, I am going to be putting a large amount of my work “on sale” in an effort to reduce stock. I am moving house, you see, and with that comes the moving of inventory that needs to be on the walls of homes and businesses, not catalogued in a back room here. A back room that needs packed and moved when I move house. So, I’m looking at August being a big push month for getting more of my work in hands other than my own. It’s going to take a lot of work to pull this off, as my shop site is not half of what I want it to be, but I’ll get it done. The distractions of May and June are over, and so I have much more time to focus on where my return on investment (business wise) can make the biggest difference.

I didn’t release a video class last month, due to all the goings-on of May and June, and so on the transition of June to July, around 4:30am GMT, I published a new class on watercolour drills. I just looked at the stats for the last 12 days and WHOA they’re pretty good. Reviews are good. Potential earnings are looking to be the best I’ve ever had as a teacher. This is thrilling, and gives me hope. My last blog post was about the chaos of being pulled in so many directions and now I can see, with a month and a half between posts, that I’m making positive traction. Go, me!

My focus is now this:
Make and sell my own work.
Teach online.
Teach in my studio (with a view to reducing that).

I am beginning to shift the balance back to a life I want to live. A life I am in control of, not in constant reaction to external demands. This is going to impact my mental health and personal relationships in such a big way. It already is.

Oh, and I went paddle boarding a couple times recently. Allowing myself to have guilt-free fun is something that I’m relearning. I got into a vicious mindset where because my earnings were not what I needed/wanted that I refused myself pleasures. I would either work at full throttle or spin out with anxiety and/or depression. I was physically nauseous going paddle boarding for the first time since last year because it felt so selfish. Pete was suffering a terrible depression, has no real pleasures of his own, and there I was pulling on a wetsuit and hitting the water while he was in such a terrible place. The thing is, you have to do things for yourself, no matter what, because that keeps you going. Getting out there was the hardest thing I’ve done in a very long time. No regrets though. Not one. We all have to find our ways, and Pete will find his. I can’t live in anxious guilt because I want to do something for me. And for the record: it’s all in my head. Pete is always, always supportive, to the point where he was actually putting the air in my paddle board, despite having a crushingly bad day. I am beyond grateful for the support.

And so, I’m about to receive another private tuition student and it’s time to prep the studio for her arrival. Perhaps I’ll write again soon, as I still have so much I haven’t said…

Culling an information overload

I am certain I’m not the only one who does this: Find an interesting article online, or a product to look at in more detail later, and whack it into the Reading List feature of the Safari browser. [This is assuming you are on a Mac, iPad, or iPhone.]
Once I do that, I completely forget to reference those ever-so-important things again. My brain is convinced its dealt with the information, having diligently filed it with all the other ever-so-important things. The mountain of links grows and grows, and I’m totally convinced things are just fine.

One of the tasks Pete has been tackling for months is getting his own reading list under control. Now, his level of lack of control is something I can only dream of possessing, but in his head, he had an information problem. As I’m writing this, he’s got about 30 items in his reading list. I’m down to 547 after spending ALL DAMN DAY very quickly assessing, speed-reading, saving to Pinterest, and deleting from my whopper of a total of 933 unread items. Approximately 41% of my reading pile is now dealt with. Phew. I need gin.

Now, I was completely happy as a pig in poop having no earthly idea how much I’d let this get out of control. Then Pete brought up this Terminal script he wrote that would calculate the number of articles you have in your reading list, and also spit out a txt file to document your reading list plus bookmarks. I kinda hate and love him for introducing me to this, but hey, if I want to get my proverbial shit in order this year, a major reading list cull is a good place to start.

Actually, it feels great. Kinda like a digital version of going through your wardrobe to discard all the clothes you’ll never wear again. I may have been living in a bubble by having no idea about my reading list mess, but the knock on effect is that I’m now wondering where else in my life – my physical life – I can reduce my junk burden. Shame Pete can’t write me a Terminal script for that… [And don’t even try it, Pete.]

If you’re interested in running the script yourself, it’s on github. Enjoy.

Like a rubber ball

Two days ago, I wrote about suicide. I have struggled to shake the feelings and have pushed myself into doing social things, productive things, and trying to act normal. My success at this is varied. My brain is bouncing all over the place and late last night, after having an argument with Pete, I faced thoughts of death and self-harm again. I pulled out of it, and it’s at times like that, that I’m grateful I have a rubber ball brain that sometimes does what I need. I went to bed. I didn’t hurt myself.

Today has been awkward so far. When you live with someone who also has a depression brain, feeding and leaking into one another is unavoidable. Pete is suffering. We’ve not talked much, but both silently began doing long overdue housework chores upstairs. He tidied some bathroom stuff, we both put away the clean laundry that had piled like a mountain on our upstairs sofa, I cleaned the windowsill of an embarrassing amount of dust. I’m typing this from that little sofa now, so, the morning, although awkward interpersonally, has been productive and positive. We are both still suffering though, and quiet. At least we’re not arguing.

I’m thinking about tonight, about it being the end of 2016, and it’s just another day. It’s easy to look back at 2016 and consider it a shitshow of epic proportions, but that’s not fair to ourselves. I did some positive stuff over the last 365 days and I’m proud of several of them. My online video tuition has been successful, beach cleaning efforts have been amazing, and I have new friendships with incredible people. I will not bury those achievements in the ashes of all the bad stuff that happened. The good stuff deserves recognition, and although in my current state I’m relying on my hardwired objectivity, I can see these things and I am grateful. 2016 didn’t suck; only parts of it did. To give the darkness more credit than it deserves is unfair to the light.

So, I’m not necessarily looking forward to 2017, but I am looking forward to the post-Christmas/New Year pause in productivity. This time of year drives me nuts with the downtime in businesses and the increase in social pressures. Money bleeds away, I eat too much, I drink too much, and I wait until about the second week of January for everything to begin settling back into normal routines. I’m not good with disruption; it is not good for my ADHD, which has an effect on my depression. All major holiday times of the year knock me out of whack.

Just as I’m wrapping up this post, Pete has walked past and done something that made me giggle. And he meant to do it, so even better. There was smiling. The ball keeps bouncing.