I have had a wonderful, brilliant, exhausting day. I was up until the early hours finishing an art project I can’t wait to share with you all. I’m now home with Poppy sleeping peacefully in my lap, chatting with friends online and winding down. I’m still blinking with surprise at how beautiful my life is, my precious family, my lovely home. My kitchen is full of delightful pastries and my fingers have ink on them – all is right with my world.
Today we drove up to the hills and I saw a new therapist and talked about last year and my experiences of profound connection and then profound loss. We both wept a little, the therapist and I, talking about those experiences. That’s a good start and a hopeful sign the conversations will be productive. I’m working on a great many things at the moment, my severe anxiety among them, and I feel that things are changing and growing and getting unstuck. I have been very brave this past few weeks, many times, and I feel like a plant that cannot help but turn its face to the sun and reach upwards.
Having rested from advocacy work for a good stretch following the devastation of last year, I have found myself cautiously taking up the role again and feeling that passion and hope stir within me again. I am afraid of flying too close to the sun, of too much stress, too little wildness, too much unpaid work and containing other people’s sad stories. So I’ve set up two guardians and asked them to watch me and warn me when I’m wearing thin. Rose is one, she has always championed my work and art and watched me both fly and fall. I’ve also reached back out to my old supervisor and booked in regular contact. And now finding a regular space for my own struggles too – I’m hoping I’m setting up the care I need to protect me so I can take risks and do useful things, and manage the anxiety that comes along with putting myself out there.
Then we drove quickly back down the hill to the city. The highlight of today was being invited to the SA Mental Health Commission for afternoon tea alongside the other 11 artists who’s work were selected for display in the office. We all brought our art in today and it was a joy to see it all together. The work of mine they selected was a beautiful large gilded print of She Blooms. I feel very honoured! It was wonderful to meet the other artists and I wish I could have spoken with them all. I don’t often get to hang out with other artists with a lived experience of mental illness and I know they will have amazing stories. It was also lovely to spend a little time with the staff and meet the people who chose these works and hear why and what they mean to them. It’s wonderful to be standing in a mental health space again but this time with my identity as an artist front and centre. One foot in mental health and the other in art, it’s always been what has worked best for me.