In order to be successful, do we need to be static, rigid and keep going in the same direction, or can we deviate, over and over and enjoy the success of it all?
When I was a girl in school my art teacher told me that I was rubbish at paining. I had no reason to doubt her. I certainly was no picasso! I did like art class though. I’m not sure if it was because there was no real academia involved and it was more like a place to express rather than to ‘retain information’.
I actually really enjoyed school (until I was 15) which I know, is unusual for most. I wasn’t the most academic, I was middle of the road, average, but I enjoyed learning and seeing my friends.
Art and P.E were my favourite subjects. I quite liked English too because of the story telling more then the command and structure of the English language. I was a bit of a day dreamer when it came to other topics, like history, Geography or Maths. I did enough to get by and pass exams, but my interest in them was minimal.
There was a certain freedom in sports, art and English. A freedom to explore and do. It was practical, and allowed me to construct things in my own way. Everything we do, I guess, is down to effort, but also motivation.
Fast forward 40 0dd years and I find I still like to express myself or lose myself through art and writing. The only Physical exercise I do now is walking, but I love to do that, especially down at my local beach.
When I paint, I can get lost for hours just trying out new things. My art teacher would probably still tell me I am rubbish, but it is all subjective really. I am still no picasso, but I bet I get about as much enjoyment out of it as he did.
When we start out in our working lives, we are supposed to have a career in mind of what we would like to do/be. I certainly have had many jobs since leaving school. From bar maid to office worker. From paralegal to Beauty therapist and from volunteer to Social Care Worker. I changed ‘career’ many times.
The success of it all for me, was more about the getting there, rather than staying there. My personality is that I get bored easily. I have always enjoyed learning and I have always enjoyed ‘doing’. It is the ‘staying’ that I find hard to do.
The only thing I have ever stayed at long term is being a parent. It’s the hardest job in the world, but I have been a mother to 16 children over the last 32 years (not all of them were my biological children – I am also a foster carer)!
I am a flitter. I flit from this to that and I like it. I think it makes life interesting. So for the last couple of years I started to paint. I have done a few things that I even surprised myself, in that they were actually quite good. Good enough to hang on walls.
I have now moved onto painting furniture too and I am loving it, out in my workshop I paint. As I wait for a layer of paint to dry on a piece of furniture, I take a canvas and I paint a layer of paint of that and see what transpires. I flit between the two until I am happy that they are ‘ready’.
My friend jokes and tells me I am hyper. She is a mental health professional….. I laugh and tell her I am creative. It makes me wonder though, about how we view people. There are the great artists in the world, but can they keep house, boil an egg and hands on raise a family….. In order for them to be so brilliant it takes time and talent. Just look at Michelangelo, sculpter, painter, poet and architect. He had to dedicate all his time and efforts into those crafts to be so magnificent. He certainly was a genius with a talent.
The joe bloggs such as me, has neither the genius nor the talent or even the dedication to pursue a ‘career’ as an artist, but I do have the motivation to be creative in my own little way for as long as the joy of it allows, before the boredom sets in. I, nor God only knows how long it will last.
I also have another new creation which I am embarking on. I have married my photographs with names (Irish/gaelic) and made beautiful cards. You can find them at @taylormadecardcreations. I will post an example below.
Again, this is me being creative and going off in another direction. Am I hyper? I don’t think so, I think I am just not static. When I have ideas, I like to try them out. Whether they are good, bad or indifferent. Whether they are objective or subjective, the point is, I give it a go and while I am enjoying the journey of it, I keep going.
I say, it is OK to take a career and do it all of your life, if you enjoy it and it fulfills and satisfies your needs. I also say it is OK to deviate, move away, branch out, try something new, so long as you enjoy it and it satisfies and fulfills your needs….. and is legal!
I have met so many creative people who didn’t think they were creative or good enough. I am at the top of the queue, but then I realised, it is not about being good enough for other people to enjoy your work, it is about being good enough for you to enjoy your work first and if others like it, then that is a bonus.
So whether you are hyper or creative….. keep going and keep ‘doing’.
volunteering in a charity shop feeds my addiction, but on the cheap. I’m a shopaholic….. apparently!
Photo – authors own…
Apparently I have an addiction. It is not really harming anyone. I don’t get violent or abusive. I don’t fall about the place, forget my name or sell my soul to the devil. I haven’t wanted to feed my addiction that badly……..yet!
I am a shopaholic, there, I have said it out loud. Well, I have merely repeated what my husband has said I am. Thankfully, he supports me in this addiction of mine, and often times, he joins me.
If anything, I am helping instead of harming. It all started with the little things, but predominantly, the pretty things.
I am a volunteer in my local Oxfam in Wexford town and proud of that. I have been there over 5 years now, sorting out the books and what a great book selection we have there – just saying, if you fancy popping in and picking up your next read!
At first, it started with the books, some for me, some for my children and others for my grandchildren. Fiction, non fiction, autobiographies, you name it i’ve bought it. Lots of them look great on my book cases. Lots of them I have not read yet, but will, one day, I promise.
At the end of my shift I then browse in the shop, or when I am taking photo’s for our instagram page (check it out @oxfamwexford). It is then that my addiction really kicks in and I can buy anything from a hair brooch, to a high end hand bag. Pottery to a pretty painting or a special vase to a sleek sari. You name it, if its pretty, I will most likely buy it. I am one of our best customers and no, I don’t get nor want a discount. It is for charity, after all!
It is not just in Oxfam that my addiction takes place, it is any shop at all. If I see something pretty I will get a ‘figary’ and buy it, whether I need it or not. I tell myself, it will look nice there, or I can use it for this or I can give it to so and so for a gift or I can paint this and use it as that.
I do it all, I buy it, use it, put it in a cupboard, give it away, upcycle it, sell it, replace it, donate it and so the cycle continues.
Everything in life is not black and white and thank god, but those colours are cetainly not ‘pretty’. They have their uses, of course they do, like a blackboard and a whiteboard are very useful, but they don’t have the word (board/bored) in there for no reason! I am not opposed to them at all, but sometimes a splash of colour, a shimmery sparkle, a sleek and soft texture, a hand painted or hand crafted piece of art, pottery or otherwise, is just something lovely to look at, admire or use. It can lift your spirits the same as a lovely colourful bouquet of flowers, freshly cut or shop bought, it doesn’t matter.
The point is, if something lifts your spirits, and no one comes to any harm in the process and in fact you are also helping a cause, can that really be a bad thing? I don’t think so.
The only time it becomes a bad thing is when I run out of places to store my stash because my other problem is hoarding stuff, not being able to let go easily, and I know I am not alone in this one. Most of my friends and family are the same. So in that case, isn’t hoarding like an addiction too?
Why do we get so emotionally attached to things? Its a strange cycle because we think, oh I can’t give that away, or, so and so gave it to me, or I wore it on our first date or it was a gift (but I hate it) so I must keep it. Like it is some sort of security blanket. Yet when we let go and give it away, clear it out, donate it, declutter, we feel better, not worse. I have some clothes in my wardrobe that are over 30 years old. I have college books and papers that are over 20 years old too, why do I keep them!
I am starting to get a little better at being ruthless and getting rid of, giving away or donating things and I always feel great when I do. But watch this space, because it won’t be empty for long, before I fill it up again.
My Book Club Prompts, which I have put together and decided to blog it too
Eating in eating out
How to grow roses
There are times when we have to decide exactly the type of person we are or hope to be. It can be a truly conscious decision, but we may not realise that until we are faced with something that can fundamentally affect us.
As children we ‘just are’ until we are moulded and then we mimic. We have our own nature and then we may or may not be nurtured, depending on the family that we grow up in. As we continue to develop and mimic we then begin to make our own decisions and our nature may become more prevalent.
What if we have a nature that is bad or evil can we decide to change that and decide to be or do good.
What if our nature is good and saint like, can we do things which are bad even murderous?
Like most things in life, whether to eat in or eat out, it’s a choice but depends on motivation, money and desire. It depends on circumstance and context.
When I was younger, living at home as a teenager, I would do any amount of housework, but I hated gardening, with a passion.
Fast forward a few years later to buying and owning my own home and I suddenly want to learn how to grow roses and fill my garden with pretty things. I buy books and I educate myself how to do things I never thought I had any interest in.
As we grow, we build. We build ourselves, our opinions, our knowledge, our wants and desires. Sometimes though, we just conform to the social rules. Conformity is good as it gives us social rules and so avoids chaos in a lot of situations, like traffic lights. We know when to stop and when to go, otherwise we would be all crashing into each other, and that would not be good.
We conform to the rules at home, at school, at work, but what about conforming to orders? What if conforming to orders goes against your beliefs. Should a person’s sense of self and their beliefs matter more than conforming to orders?
If you were told you had to go to war and kill another person would you do it because you have been told to? If it went against everything you believed in, would you do it?
Desmond Doss was such a man whose belief and faith in God was to not harm another person. He was conscripted during world war II, but refused to kill anyone. He was a conscientious objector and he was taunted and badly treated by his superiors and his peers, but still, he held true to his beliefs.
He went into battle with not a gun or grenade, but a bible in his hand and faith in his heart. He was awarded medals of Honour for his bravery for saving over 75 soldiers, who would have otherwise died. Laying wounded on the battlefield he ran and picked them up, carried them and carried them down a ridge to safety. Hacksaw Ride is a movie made about this man. Some may say he was foolish, some may have called him a coward, but he was a hero. He was an extreme pacifist and because of it, he saved many lives instead of taking them.
I guess we all have to choose how we live our lives the best we can, without denying our true beliefs, whilst at the same time, not causing any harm to others. I am not saying we can go through life unharmed or without ever feeling hurt, or indeed without ever hurting anyone. That is inevitable on a small scale, but the big fundamental things, we must hold true, so long as we are not wilfully or maliciously hurting anyone.
Sometimes, especially in youth, things seem so big that they are insurmountable, but then you often realise that it is the little things that really matter and that anything can be achieved. Every day is a new day to start again, regardless of the big or the little thing. As we age and mature, what was the ‘big thing’ will often pale into insignificance and what was the ‘little thing’ is often the most important thing. Its called perspective.
Surrounded by her family, yet feeling so alone
all is safe and peaceful, in this happy family home
but as she sat at the table, concealing how she feels
the hurt and desperation are really very real
she doesn’t want to burden them, or tell them they were right
instead she’ll keep it with her and end it all tonight
she wants to say she loves them, but her throat begins to close
the words are trapped and stuck there, of the secret no one knows
growing up is difficult, but then to be betrayed
of the love in a relationship, how could she possibly stay?
for when the drink was taken, a monster he became
no one could control him, or even make him tame
so as much as he said he loved her, his fists said otherwise
no more could she bare the agony of the beatings or the lies
not yet even twenty, yet she felt life had no meaning
ashamed of what she’d put up with, had left her true self reeling
so as she went to bed that night, she studied all the pills
they only way to stop the pain – it had been a a battle of the wills
she thought about her family, and she began to cry
deep down inside, within her heart, she didn’t want to die
she knew no other way to stop the hurt and pain
and so she took all the pills and on her bed she lay
sometimes without explanation, an intervention occurs
for when she woke the next morning a ‘voice’ had spoke to her
it’s not your time to go now, don’t be so alarmed
the tablets that you’ve taken, have left you quite unharmed
go and live your life, you are stronger than you think
and then the voice disappeared as quick as she could blink
she felt a little groggy, astounded and so shocked
but soon she felt the strength enough, but her secret would stay locked
she swore she would do something, and make her life worthwhile
no more being trod upon and soon she would smile
now when she looks back on that time, oh so long ago
she’s thankful for that ‘intervention’, that helped to make her grow
and realised that a mind so young, can be easily disturbed
and loose sight of what can be achieved, if we share and we observe
so when around the table, at family dinner time
be sure to check with your young ones, that they are doing fine
and if they appear distant or even a little aloof
sometimes that is just enough to offer you some proof
that maybe all is not so well, so tread kindly and be open
let them know you’re there for them, and would help if they feel broken
it may must be the start, that they feel that they can tell
when all that’s going on in their life, is really not going so well.