This week I started a project I’ve been thinking of for a couple of years for supporting people, and affirming loved ones’ value. Compliments mean something from people we care about, so why not give some in a collection form. It’s a tool I could use when the depths of depressive despair stare into me, so I hope it will help others, and I’ll probably write me some too.
Please share as many and as often as you like if you would like to say the same things to people you know.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was introduced to me in high school and has since entered the popular consciousness as an accepted part of the basis of human psychology. Since then there has been much research and many articles written about the pitfalls of this theory.
Humans like to create peace and control from chaos by using hierarchical ways of thinking, but life is complex. What if, just to get a different perspective from usual, we thought of the hierarchy not as a pyramid, particularly not as progressive steps on a pyramid, but as a Venn diagram.
Identity can be described, but not well. The magic of being, as large as the universe, Cannot be confined with words, Which are used only to aid connection, On the surface level, When underneath we are all one.
I’ve been trying to change my thinking this week because I’m constantly trying to explain myself mentally in case anyone ever confronts me about anything. So exhausting. I’m trying to catch myself, replace the nervous inner narrative with “because I’m reasonable” and be done thinking up excuses.
For me, thinking of suicide isn’t a bad thing. It’s knowing where the exit is, just in case I need it. It’s reassuring to look over my shoulder and glimpse the green glow of escape. If I see there’s a clear path out, I can calm down and look for ways to get to other, more intriguing doors. Suicide has my back.
The equal pay debate to me is about deciding women deserve on average to have the same financial stability and resources as men and finding solutions, rather than analysing the details of the problem.
Contributing to humanity in ways that are financially measurable and concretely rewardable aren’t the only ways we each add value. Instead of attempting to judge individuals why don’t we look after everyone?
Because Reality isn’t Real I try to enjoy my delusions. Some say that depressed people are actually more realistic. I reckon that’s a bunch of tosh. Everybody is deluded in their own special way.
My deluded dream of reality changes shape depending on what stories I’m thinking of. Some stories are things I’ve been telling myself, or that others have told me, for many years, and some are brand new baby narratives. Some are cosy and warm, some are useful, some are destructive, some are fearful, and some are freaking hilarious.
I rely on intuition, emotion, empathy and logical thought processes to shape my actions. Logical thought processes are more likely to come to the same or similar conclusions when I’m assessing life, and making decisions. Telling myself stories based on these conclusions helps me make decisions better when I don’t have the time or energy to think something through.
I need to tell myself things over and over though. My intuition, based in thoughts, emotions and experiences, collects info more easily and quickly along paths that are well used. Some stories have built super highways in my mind, and some are still bumpy, rutted and dusty.
For now I’ve got a superhighways telling my intuition that dessert is one of the rich rewards for living a good life. I’ve also got a crooked dirt track telling me that sugar is a poisonous and addictive substance. Both have a place in my reality, but (the possibly deluded) superhighway gets to make most of my decisions.
Anybody else got mental roads that fork that way? (Mmmm, forks are good for chocolate cake. Just saying.)
Reality isn’t a thing. Well, it’s not something we interact with. It’s just a story we tell ourselves. Other people make things up and tell us stories. I like the one where there is this immortal being going around helping people throughout the universe by trying to restore justice and kindness. I don’t accept it as my reality, but I REALLY enjoy my deliberate suspension of disbelief.
Maybe one day a time lord named The Doctor will drag me into crazy adventures in a big blue box and surprise the heck out of my version of actual reality. That would be awesome. I think… maybe. Also how could I tell if it was really happening or if my mind were tricking me? Would I want to be able to tell?
There’s a large fandom that enjoys this same suspension of disbelief. We collectively, for the most part, tell ourselves and each other the story of how these stories are unreal.
As a species we’ve learned to cross check our beliefs by finding out what other people believe. Especially people like scientists or religious leaders that other people also believe in. Our own experiences usually have more weight than others’, though. The stories we tell ourselves of those experiences even more so.
(Warning! Long yarny story ahead. Proceed at your own peril.)
Things go, but they don’t necessarily go to plan, so why bother with plans at all. They only lead to frustration. Just as well that I ddidn’t last Saturday.
The parking in Maroochydore where I had planned to paint was non existent, but that’s okay. I went on to Cotton Tree, and hauled a bunch of gear out to get settled for the next few hours.
The new shade shelter I had bought after an embarrassing sunburn, I was too chicken to try to put up in public. But that’s ok, I found a picnic bench under a tree to sit at, and carried all the stuff over there, including the beach chair and the shade shelter.
I decided on a montage format of painting. I sketched a number of figures. There was plenty to choose from: many people were stand up paddle boarding on the river, including four terribly… Amazing… girls doing yoga while standing on boards.
A Canadian lady came by and did what undoubtedly everyone really wanted to do. She called out ” you girls are just amazing ” and took photographs of the yoga doers. Then she turned to me and said “Is it possible to hate someone you don’t even know?”
I created a composition from the surrounding area and sketched the figures into it on the canvas. I got ready to paint, and found I didn’t have anything to put water in. I got a headache, but that’s ok. I got the yoga hating 🇨🇦 lady to watch my stuff and went back to Bubbabus to get headache medicine and a paint water container. I also poured two thirds of a bottle of … grape juice into a flask / coffee cup and brought it with me.
I came back, tried to get on with it but found I had no paint brushes. In a panic I ran back to Bubbabus . I cursed myself for being so organised, for once, that I did not have paint brushes in every single bag that I owned, I had them all in one pencil case somewhere else.
But that’s okay. I searched my art supply tote anyway, just in case, and found a large brush and a plastic pallette knife.
I considered giving up but I had left all my things behind under the tree. But that’s okay, I grabbed the acrylic paint and decided to work with that instead of the watercolour because, fuck it, I’m stubborn. I came back to find the 🇨🇦 lady standing and looking around like ” well shit, she left again, what am I supposed to do, and how much am I going to put up with? ” I verbally vomited out my sob story, glanced stonily at the river and grasped my substitute tools in both hands. She commiserated appropriately.
Two people and a dog came along and asked politely to sit at the picnic table that the Canadian lady had been sitting at. Dog lady said oh only for 10 minutes. 🇨🇦 lady said, of course, she was just leaving. The dog people and their dog sat down after Dog man joked that 🇨🇦 lady should charge $25 a seat.
I went back to my bench, sat down and realised I really would need a table. But that’s okay, I gathered my arms full of stuff and went to the picnic table. 🐕 man did not charge me $25 to sit there but by then I was probably looking scarily crazy.
Naturally I told my story, as a disclaimer, so hopefully they wouldn’t judge my skill by the experiment about to happen, and started slapping acrylic paint onto the canvas, while chatting and sipping the juice from my bottle.
About 20 minutes later Italian Australian man comes and makes fun of me. I agree with his assessment and chat with the now 3 other people, but not the 🐶. Guess I’m rude that way. 🇮🇹 🇦🇺 Man says if I make any money from this that he wants some , I reply don’t we all.
I break the palette knife and laugh in agony, but that’s okay. 🇮🇹 🇦🇺 man goes over to the cafe and knicks a couple of plastic knives. He presents them to me as the solution to the problem, lol. They even made a fun grass texture.
🇨🇦 lady comes back with some pods in her hand. She asks us if we know what they are. 🐕 man says yes those a Tuckeroo seeds. I immediately snort in laughter and say “you’re kidding”. In all seriousness he didn’t know how funny that was. My brain gave me an image of a kangaroo handing out the seeds at the tuck shop for lunch.
There is more chatting, then 🇮🇹🇦🇺 Man goes back to his family picnic. As he is leaving, a bit later, he laughs, hey, it’s really coming along! I might even pay you $5 for it. I tell him that i would probably take his $5 just so I never have see it again.
I had painted the acrylic over my sketch but that’s ok I had the sketchbook to look at. I went back to the sketchbook and found that I had used the backside of the sketches as a paint palette. But that’s ok, I folded the sketches in half and held it in the air, safe from the wind, while looking around both sides of the paper at the figures. I had a sketched more of them on the canvas, but that’s ok.
🐶 lady finally got fed up with how long the 10 minutes was taking and dragged 🐶 man away. 🇨🇦 lady started reading again. After a bit she said she was going to go do something and would be back to see how my painting was coming along. I put 10 or 15 more minutes in, called it done, packed up, and hurriedly hauled my stuff back to the car. Near the car park I set the painting free in the wild and got out of there.
So, you see, being a “but that’s okay” human instead of a “but the plan is” person… Gets one a ridiculous day. 😉
Someone saved my life, probably. Nelly the narcissist (who lives in my brain) says “doomed me to a life of suffering”, and she has a point. A ridiculous one, lol. It makes me chuckle. I was two, and was dragged out of the Pacific Ocean. That was when I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Modern medicine has been sustaining me pretty much ever since.
Over the next 42 years I found the answer to life, the universe and everything. Nah, just kidding. I got to test, and know myself through determination and adventure. What I found out is that, like everyone I meet, I am unique and have unique capabilities. Nelly tells me I am broken, and it might be true if the standard is to live an average life in modern society. Fortunately society is a committee grown conceptual construct, and committees are often next to useless.
I am a child of the universe, no less that the sun, the stars, the ocean, and the birds. Essentially we are all made of star dust. To be an outlier on the graph of societal normalcy is as natural as being an average shmo.
After struggling through one metaphorical obstacle course after another I’m still winning because, whether I chose to go again or to change direction I learn. I have learned that my nature , as does everyone’s, constricts my capabilities, AND it shapes my hopes and dreams.
There are very good reasons to battle through particular obstacle courses. Now I find myself empty nesting and without debt or other major obligations, I’m choosing an unusual obstacle course. I’m heading out in a direction that seems, hopeful, adventurous and beautiful.
I’m laughing at Nelly and putting my best efforts into getting and doing what I dream of now. I’m headed into (…Dum, dum, duuuuuum….) Van life.
Introducing Bubbabus! My home on wheels (this time with an engine, unlike the caravan). Since I have a large family and a wandering nature, I’m excited to simplify living once again.
I picked this Suzuki APV because it was a good deal, and is shiny. There aren’t any rv modifications, but I thought putting my money into getting a reliable vehicle was more important. So far, I put a single bed frame and mattress in, with plastic containers under the bed for my stuff. Everything fits NOW… but there’s been known to be calories hiding in storage that make clothes and stuff grow.
Bubbabus and I have already stayed at two of my Gray sisters’ places and so far we love each other. Now we’re working out ways to fight the heat in the upcoming summer.
A quirky opportunity for work has come up so I’ll drive down to the Sunshine Coast tomorrow.
Yeah this will slow down my creative plans again but hey maybe I’ll get to paint Christmas ornaments with people’s names in glue. Or maybe I’ll suck at it and not get hired, or maybe it will be obviously more than my CNS disorder can handle, or maybe I’ll finally learn how to teleport.
You know how buying a gym membership nags at your conscience? (It does, right?) I’m somewhat remorseful when I abandon my ambition to get skinnier or muscle-ier. More remorseful, though, of what I could be doing with that money instead! The opportunity costs are endless to a fiscally minded artist, let me tell you.
Don’t worry, I didn’t buy a gym membership. I bought art supplies. I’m a non-recovering addict, but at least I’m getting better about buying things I’m not about to use and ending up downsizing it from my luggage later on.
So now I’m committed. I’ve done some sketching, have done absolutely NO designs I like at all, and have ordered supplies for block printing on fabric, something I have also never done. Smart right? But I have looked at Pinterest a lot… research is necessary. (Shhh)
Setting out to create a certain number of beautiful designs is a masochistic plan so, before the supplies arrive, I’m going to fail a whole bunch. I’ll churn out really bad sketches of ridiculous subjects and hope some of them will be worth getting past draft stage, and onto t-shirts and bags.
… right after I write about how I’m getting right on that.
My life is a nutsoid conglomeration of intentions, surprises, and great people. I’m gonna start writing about it and see if I write entertaining stuff. Not entertaining like internet kittens, more entertaining like a B-grade horror film, I expect. You know, freaking hilarity wrapped in warped.
I’m an inveterate artist and craftsperson and I’m starting on another adventure around about now. It’s exciting and terrifying in equal measure. I’m pretty sure I’ll screw it up big time, but if I keep going I’ll at least get some funny stories out of it.
I’ve returned to Australia once again, this time with a little bit of savings and some help from my Mum to buy a vehicle. A cargo van. The Bubbabus. It holds a single bed with space for putting stuff underneath the bed and about a foot down one side. I have a vague idea about making things, travelling around and trying to earn an actual living while being myself. Should be, erm… a complete fiasco. Why the hell not do it?