A Hastily Scribbled Note...

...to say I'll be gone for the next little bit.

In a few hours, I am going on a road trip, getting in touch with my inner galah and going south for the winter. For those outside Australia, we have a bird called a Galah which in some cases fly south for the winter. Winter in the Northern parts of Australia are fairly warm, so flying south is generally a silly thing to do unless you enjoy the cold. As such, galah gets used as slang for someone being silly.

My best friend and I are packing up the car, temporarily renaming it the Galah, and heading south over Easter holidays. It'll be nice- for once I'll see leaves that have changed colour, and I'll finally have a use for the scarves I buy every winter but never get a chance to wear. And if I don't get frostbite or (more realistically) a cold, I'll be back at start of term with an external hard drive full of pictures (the zoo where we're going has snow leopards. Seriously, snow leopards! Life if good) and a computer heavy with stories to share. Hopefully, I'll find some time to visit a cafe with Wifi, but if not, I'll see you all soon.

If you celebrate it, have a fantastic Easter. I hope the Bunny leaves lots of goodies for you and your loved ones. And (especially if you're enjoying/surviving school holidays) I hope the season goes smoothly and is full of love, laughter and joy.

Night all, and happy travels.

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Wishcasting Wednesday

Over at Jamie Ridler Studios, this weeks Wishcasting Wednesday question is what do you wish to read?

My answer for this is simple: my novel, published. I have spent so long writing this story, and I would love to sit curled up on a comfy chair on a rainy day, a pot of tea at the ready, reading my own creation. I imagine the feel of the crisp pages, the small smile of delight that would come from running my fingers over the cover, tracing my name and revelling in it. My creation, my words, my story given form and freed into the world.

As I would read, I would remember. I'd grin to remember how easily one section flowed, as though I were the helpless hand to some greater power's words. I'd shake my head in recollection at just how much blood, sweat and tears went into another section, how it took over a month just to get that tiny, seemingly inconsequential piece just so. I would roll my eyes at a part that, in retrospect, seems a little cheesy, or a word I'd been so in love with at the time of writing that now fills me with a sense of chagrin. Even so, I'd love it dearly, and embrace it as dear friend.

I imagine the taste of the tea, warm and comforting but barely noticed as I read. I would probably go through multiple pots, forgetting they existed until they were cold and only then realising I was thirsty. Still, even as I know how it ends, even as I know every twist and turn as though they're the roads surrounding my home, I'd be reluctant to put the book down. I'd want to read it through the eyes of someone new, someone who is simply enjoying the story rather than picking it apart.

I imagine the odd rumble of thunder as I near the end of the story, the way I snuggle into a blanket in the cold weather, my eyes still glued to the pages. And finally, I imagine shaking myself from the stupor of a finished book, grinning to realise that I love the story all the more for one final read through.

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Bad Day Box

Have you ever had a day that just didn't go well? Or a week? Just a raincloud over your head drenching you all day, every day?

When I was younger, I was a moderator at a self injury forum. It was hard some days, but easily the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Being there for people as they struggled through a bad moment in their life, fighting against their coping mechanism was a much needed lesson that even if you're struggling, everyone has the ability to help someone else.

One of the best lessons I learned from my time there was the idea of the Bad Day Box. When I have kids, I'm going to have this as a weekly activity for them. I honestly think everyone could use their own Bad Day Box to play with. If you're having a rough time, this is definitely something to think about making.

The box itself can be as big or as small as you want or need it to be. It can be a shoe box, a specially bought wooden chest, whatever suits you. If you're decorating it, try to avoid dark or depressing colours, or colours that leave you feeling drained. Try for colours that you love, that leave you feeling happy and energised.

Once you've decorated to your heart's content, it's time to start filling your box. You can be as organised or disorganised as you want- there is no right or wrong way to do this. Add or leave out whatever doesn't feel right- just try and keep it as positive as possible.

If you have a blog, go and look through your comments. Are there any that make you smile, or that come from people who think you're awesome? Print out copies of any comments that inspire, amuse, or praise you (even if you don't fully believe you're as good as they seem to think you are!). Do this with forums and blogs you frequent, too. Any supportive, uplifting words directed at you should be printed out, but also look for inspiring quotes and stories. Wander round the internet for a while finding pictures and stories that make you smile, or inspire you to get up and keep working towards your goals. There are some amazingly uplifting blogs and sites devoted to publishing inspiring thoughts and ideas.

Now go have a look through your past. What are you proud of? I have some photos that I'm so proud of.  Whenever I feel as though I'm not overly creative, I go and look through them to remind myself that I need more faith in my abilities. When I finish my novel, I'll put a copy in my box. Anything and everything that you are proud of yourself for, include in the box.

The next step is something you do over a long period of time. Find yourself a little notebook that will fit into your pocket or bag easily, and a pen or pencil that will do the same. Every time you hear or see an inspiring quote, jot it down. More importantly, whenever someone says something nice about you, write it down. Keep track of who said what when, so on bad days when you flip through the finished notebooks, you can remember who said what and why they said it. When you finish a notebook, put it in the box and grab a new one.

The idea behind this is that when we're depressed, it's incredibly hard to remember all of the nice things people say about us. In fact, sometimes we start to think that the people in our lives are better off without us. Having a physical reminder of all the lovely things people say, and the moments where we've made a positive difference, is a way to combat our negative self speak.

There are variations for the bad day box, too. Some self injurers had one filled with distractions for times they wanted to hurt themselves. Other people had boxes of things that soothed them and calmed them down when they were angry or hyperactive.

So, now I've talked about one of my tools for positivity, I'm going to end this post with a question: what tips or tricks do you have for getting through bad days?

Mania or Making it Happen?

Tonight, I did something potentially crazy.

Let me preface this with an explanation. For two months now, I've been waiting patiently for my flatmate to cut my hair. We set time aside, and without fail, something happens. Someone gets sick, work needs something done sooner than now. Phone calls, emergencies. Life.

Two months is a long time to wait for a haircut. And before the obvious is pointed out: hairdressers are out for those same time constraints. I've cancelled enough appointments that I probably can't go back to the hairdresser any time soon. So I've waited, and gotten frustrated.

There's a deadline. I'm possibly road tripping on the weekend. I need my hair to be manageable. It hasn't been manageable in an eternity.

So, at 1am, when my flatmate was asleep, I put my hair in a ponytail, grabbed a pair of scissors, and hacked a large chunk of hair off.

Oddly, it doesn't look great. Ok, so it looks fine from what I can see, but I can feel empty airspace at the back that makes it obviously shorter than the sides. It needs work. Lots and lots of work.

But dammit, it's a start. Two months of skirting around, waiting for life to ease up a bit, and now I know it'll happen tomorrow. I have the day at home, and we have an hour between when she gets home from work and when we have to head out. There's our window, and because there's a hunk missing from my hair, I know it's going to happen. If I'm honest, there's also a part of me amused by the prospect of her reaction. I've left the three or so inches of evicted hair on the vanity where she'll see it first thing.

For me, it's an act of empowerment. I've accepted that life isn't going to slow down long enough to find time to get my hair done. I need to make time. And if I can't make time, then I need to make it impossible not to make time. By this time tomorrow, my hair will be done. No ifs, buts or maybes. Do I care that there will be uneven bits, that it'll be less than perfect?

No, I don't. I'd rather have it imperfect and done than wait for some never to be perfection.

The downside, of course, is that tomorrow my therapist will call this a manic episode. It's obvious I'm manic, after all, who in their right mind would cut a huge chunk out of their hair without giving it a thought? It seems sometimes that whenever I vary from what people expect, it's labelled 'manic'. What I see as putting long term contentment ahead of short term style is to my therapist a sign that my sanity isn't what it used to be. What she's never understood, what I doubt she'll understand this time, is that I'm relieved. I'm calm. With mania, I'm constantly in motion. Right now, I'm happy to sit and soak up the moment.

Three cheers for making it happen.

A week of curiosity

Last week, the Celebration of Wellness artivity was to embrace your curiosity. Ideally, it would be a chance to look at how your mind works, but I pointedly ignored that.

I know how my mind works. It's a source of near constant tension in my life that my brain bounces around like a gummi bear on speed. I don't want to waste a week dwelling on something that seems negative in my life. Eventually, I'll find a positive. But for now, I decided to explore curiosity in a far more fun way.

I have a confession to make. I love mixed media. I think that the people who work in mixed media art are amazingly intuitive and creative. I envy them their ability to create something so vibrant and wonderful from a variety of scraps, paints and inks. I wish I could create such beauty. I've always been curious about how they manage to do so. So here, instead of a work of my own (my computer is playing up, and it's not loving my photo files), is a list of sites that have inspired me this week to embrace my curiosity:

Artsyville Aimee is an amazing artist. I love the brightness of her doodle art. Without fail, when I'm net capable and feeling less than glowing, a few minutes of looking through her blog cheers me right up!

The Art of Collecting Yourself If you're participating in the Celebration of Wellness, you'll already know who Rae is. I stumbled upon her blog while looking for creative challenges, and stumbled upon a rare chance to find myself in the most creative, fun way possible. Rae's honesty inspires me every single day.

All I Did Was Listen Lordy, I love this. It reminds me of one of my favourite books: The Persistence of Yellow. Lots of beautiful thoughts surrounded by colour. Rachel is a psychologist, which is a career I'd love to have. I always worried that I'd take on all of the sad rather than being able to focus on the amazing strength and courage found in every person.

The Empty Nester Grammy is a beautiful soul who inspires me constantly with her wisdom and conviction to live life in as meaningful and positive way as possible. Sometimes, looking at how other people stand up and make a change in their life is a perfect way to learn how to make changes in your own life. I hope that one day I'm as wise and wonderful as Grammy is.

ABC Creativity Choc full of fantastic creative journaling prompts, this is the place that encouraged me to try creative journaling. I'm intrigued by the idea of archetypal self portraits; I can't wait to settle down and try a few!

Jenni Horne makes me question what new techniques I can try. Reading through her posts made me deeply curious as to what I can try to enrich my creativity. What can I use in a way I haven't before?

There's dozens more sites and blogs I could mention, though I might stagger it some so as not to get too overwhelming.

Enjoy! I'm off to try working with texture paste for a while.

Mother Theresa 'Anyway' Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered
Forgive them anyway
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives
Be kind anyway
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies
Succeed anyway
 If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you
Be honest and frank anyway
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight
Build anyway
 If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous 
Be happy anyway
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow
Do good anyway
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough
Give the world the best you've got anyway
 You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

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