“Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, & ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that there is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey.” — Daniell Koepke
According to ‘the Internet’ Daniell Koepke is the founder of a Tumblr called the ‘Internal Acceptance Movement’ (IAM) which discusses recovery, self care, mental health, body image, self acceptance & issues of social justice.
At first I thought, “sounds like a bunch of hippy crap…” “Platitudes & promises…”
I visited the site & started to look around. There are a lot of saccharine things; catch-phrases & clichés. However, I found that a lot of her Tumblr was relevant. They may sound fanciful but, when you think them through, a lot of the quotes & points Daniell makes resonate & remind me to stay on task. To not get caught up in petty arguments or feel rejected or neglected. I am in control of how I feel, no one else. How I react to a situation is entirely up to me even if I am baited.
On bad days I fall for the bait every single time. When I am feeling insecure or suspicious everything that is said & done around me makes me feel bad about who I am & I question my worth. There are a few people who remain in my life that seem to have the ability to take control of my self-confidence & flush it away. On good days, which is most of the time, I don’t even notice those people or I pity them.
My aim is to become indifferent to them. To see the barbs they throw at me & care not if they hit me. That would be a glorious experience.
It has been 450 years since William Shakespeare was born – a very long time.
It has been 20 years since I saw ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ performed in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with my wise Aunt Jan Marie – a long time.
I fell in love & his words have adorned the margins of every notebook I have scrawled in since.
So happy birthday Mr Shakespeare, you understood me then & you understand me now…
“Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen & shrewd! She was a vixen when she went to school. & though she be but little, she is fierce.” — Helena in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, 1590-5196
Oil on canvas by Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘Queen Mab’s Cave’ inspired by ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ & exhibited in 1846:
For my 30th birthday my family bought me a new camera. A Canon EOS 450D. I had always wanted to try my hand at ‘real’ photography – yes I was the annoying person at parties with the camera out – but I had never had a decent camera to really stretch myself.
I have been practicing with this camera for on/off 4 years now. So this year I decided I would do something that would stretch me & ensure that I learn – fast.
The aim? Take & present a photo of the sunset every day of the year 2014.
Each day I go out & take a photo of the sunset. Then I come inside, choose the best one & post it to the blog along with some words about sunsets.
I try hard to lay off Photoshop & only soften or sharpen the images with the occasional crop & colour saturation enhancement. This can be hard sometimes – especially when presented with a gloriously colourful sunset. It is easy to get digitally carried away – so I have learned to just take my shot & when it is a nice shot with lots of colours, I cross-post to Instagram (http://instagram.com/violet_ashes) with some fancy filters just for fun. That way I get it out of my system & keep my photos for the Tumblr as natural as possible.
I have tried to take the shot from approximately the same position every day – but sometimes I am out & about so I take it from a different location. On the odd occasion I simply cannot do it I ask a friend to ‘guest’ for me that day – which has produced a couple of really nice shots.
It is only April & already I have learned so much from this project – not only about photography but about commitment & patience. Getting that ‘perfect shot’ is harder than I thought it would be. I have learned all about my camera & I am still learning.
As I approach taking photo number 100, I look back on what I was taking at the start of the year &, already I can see how far I have come.
I feel positive about this project – it gives me a sense of accomplishment & satisfaction that I can produce something beautiful. I am gaining confidence, not just with photography but in my writing & presentation of myself to the world as an artistic person. It is a learning curve & I am happy to be on the journey.
“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy & vague. Who shall say where the one ends & the other begins?”~ Edgar Allan Poe
I have thought a lot about boundaries lately. Boundaries between friends, lovers, Man & Wife, the living & the dead; the best situations, & those in which I thrive, are where the boundaries are clearly defined so that one can push them whenever one needs. There is no point scratching at a door that disappears but if you can climb in through the window it is all the more exciting don’t you think?
So when you are a girl whose instinct is usually dead against her, who rarely follows her gut because her gut is almost always wrong, what do you do when it starts screaming louder than it ever has? When your whole body says, “no, no, no” but you brain says, “Hey, what they’re saying is logical, it will all be fine?” What do you do with that? At some point do you have to stand up & say NO. Or do you have to put your trust in those around you & in their experience & hope (because that’s all that you can do at this point)? I would like to hear from people whose instinct is always dead-on & learn how to find & follow mine… I have exhausted all the conversation options around me – they end in me telling other people that they’re right that I shouldn’t worry. Yet, there is this nagging, beating, banging in the back of my brain saying they are not right, they are not right at all.
My dreams are troubling me again. The struggle to make meaning from them leaves me unbalanced throughout the day. Some say that dreams are meaningless, a random filing system of zero’s & one’s made up into images. Some say that dreams have great meaning & the search for the true meaning could take hours, months or years of psychotherapy. I do not have time for either of those things. There are thousands of flip-dictionary dream books on the market. None of the solutions they offer feel real. However, I fail to come up with my own answers as to the meanings of the images I see. What do they mean? Why am I seeing these things? Would I be changed if I knew?
‘Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy & who’ll love you the same way back. & how do you find him? Forget your head & listen to your heart… Run the risk, if you get hurt, you’ll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey & not fall deeply in love – well, you haven’t lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.” ~~ Anthony Hopkins, Meet Joe Black
Spring has sprung & we have had some good news at last – just one more operation to get out of the way in October & all should be well. Running risks, getting hurt, trying, clawing, healing, screaming – all these things are living – but loving – that is still new to me every day & every day I wake up confused… he is still here… he must be mad, purely & utterly mad. ❤
I spotted this blackboard wisdom at Jeanneret Wines in the Clare Valley today on a tour around the valley with the purpose of restocking our dwindling wine rack. After what feels like an eternal winter the pickings are looking slim & we agreed it was time to go & grab some of our favourites. The cellar door at Jeanneret is probably our favourite of all cellar doors. A few kilometres up from the famous Skillogalee it is a little haven hidden away where the romance fills the glass because they have learned how to bottle beauty. The roads are rough but the view is beautiful & serene. I am in love with this little gem & if fate ever smiles my way with a lotto win this will be my first point of call. Now the guy who runs the cellar door is known to some as Richard, but to those of us repeat offenders we know him as Dickie. He is a splendid fella & chatting to him is just as special as the wines he (liberally) pours for tasting. The feeling here is that you are welcome – take a seat. Sit by the fire & enjoy your tasting – once you get to the Rank & File Shiraz this is exactly what you will want to do & you will want to savour every drop. Another resident of this little establishment is a sly cat who we refer to as ‘Sink Kitty’. He is the second incarnation & is a healthy vintage of 19 years. He lays about in the old sink by the window where he can keep an eye on newcomers & likes a pat & a piece of cheese. His predecessor lived a long 27 years & you would be correct in thinking maybe they have the key to a long life out here. Good wine, good cheese, a small forest of gum trees, glorious vines & an attitude that kicks the ass of any other winery in the region. We bought as much as the plastic would allow – but not so much we won’t have to come back just as soon as the season changes. I am already looking forward to our next adventure at Jeanneret…
Light many lamps & gather round his bed. Lend him your eyes, warm blood, & will to live. Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet. He’s young; he hated war; how should he die When cruel old campaigners win safe through? But Death replied: ‘I choose him.’ So he went, & there was silence in the summer night; Silence & safety; & the veils of sleep. Then, far away, the thunder of the guns. — Siegfried Sassoon: The Death-Bed
The desperation that filled me a month ago is easing slowly every day. I am distracted by the fact that in a month I will leave the job I have been doing for 10 years & training my replacement. A decision Corsmor & I made when we found out about Pip & now I have to accept & live with it despite the fact things have changed. They are moving my job to Sydney & we decided not to go – I try every day not to think about the ‘what-if’s’ & just hope that somehow this will turn out right. I remind myself that I am not alone. That many women & men have gone through this & so much worse before. I do get comfort from knowing that time may mend this & must be patient. It is an exercise in tolerance & fear all at once.
For you Mum…. The sun has burst the sky Because I love you And the river its banks The sea laps the great rocks Because I love you And takes no heed of the moon dragging it away And saying coldly ‘Constancy is not for you’. The blackbird fills the air Because I love you With spring & lawns & shadows falling on lawns. The people walk in the street & laugh I love you And far down the river Ships sound their horns Crazy with joy because I love you ~~ Jenny Joseph
PJ’s finally had her little girl, her first baby. She is so tiny, fragile little hands, deep blue eyes & a full head of spikey black hair. We were all concerned about PJ’s labour & what it would mean for her but all is well & we are all so relieved. PJ & Jezz named her Charlotte, & she will live up to her name, I can guarantee it.
Wilbur:I think you’re beautiful.
Charlotte:Well, I am pretty. Nearly all spiders are good-looking. I’m not as flashy as some, but I’ll do.
Well despite what Charlotte thinks, I agree with Wilbur on this one.
Far away from sleep In a room so deep With my soul in my throat The last few tears I weep I cry to darkest mind As leaves, in silence, fall Alone I will perish Forgotten in this hole Why can’t I grow wings To merge with clouds as one Why can’t I be as others Unashamed to hail the sun I cannot love this darkness But in darkness I will fall Helpless as a child By dark swallowed whole Feelings forever lost Thoughts so dark and old Blackness grasps my heart In a deadly icy hold Locked alone in a world of mine Being fed by their poisoned lies Despair Unspoken lives of leaves Unspoken lives of men Never again alone in the dark