I’m a self confessed ‘Googler’. Most of the time i search for answers on the Internet and find the most extreme outcome. Definitely not healthy for a catastrophiser. And when you become a parent you catastrophise about the health and wellbeing of your offspring as well as your own.
Talking as a former babyphobe, posts about parenthood are generally boring at best, nauseating at most. But if feel i need to rant this one out for the sake of my own sanity as well as for other new parents out there.
I have been scared into believing that if i don’t follow all the advice out there i’m going to create a monster. I’ve spent the last eight months panicking that i’m going to end up with a child that never sleeps.
You get told a lot of things when you are expecting or the parent of a small child but here’s two things that i did not get told. The first is a warning but i’m hoping that the second will bring some comfort.
Firstly, people joke that you can kiss sleep goodbye, but they don’t explain that this is a byproduct of the battle to get your baby to sleep. Whoever came up with the expression “sleeping like a baby” was the biggest joker of all. Yes all babies are different and not everyone will have this problem, but from personal experience and my trawling of the virtual world of distraught parents; some babies just won’t sleep!
Here’s the second bit of advice, the good news…. sometimes you just have to be patient so stop panicking and just enjoy your child. Trust your instincts and know that you’ve got this . It may feel that your child will never sleep through the night, or you’ll never get that magical three hour nap from them so you can actually get some time to yourself. But it does happen, they will sleep on their own and my eight month old is evidence of that.
So….stop believing everything you read, stop being scaremongered and enjoy those precious moments. Your baby can sleep in your arms sometimes, they can come into your bed and you don’t have to leave them to scream themselves to sleep.
Now i just need to remember my own advice when i reach the next hurdle! Oh, and as this is an art blog, here’s a sketch of my bundle of joy, well rested and fresh from his nap!
Usually when I blog I have troubles or unanswered questions. Externalising these is surprisingly cathartic. So, here we go….
With recent high spirits, my now stagnant mood has surprised me somewhat, which has naturally turned me into a sleuth, seeking clues as to the origins of this terrible affliction. I always from the outset look at my glorious vessel in relation to what it has consumed (diet, alcohol) and what it has or hasn’t been doing (exercise, mindfulness practise, rest and relaxation) If nothing seems too out of sorts here then I turn to the psychological and in drastic times even the metaphysical. I think I will leave the questioning of my existence to another day today though and stick to the psychological.
Interestingly, even giving myself the time to listen to myself has a positive effect. The blogger is her own therapist, and the audience a sympathetic ear.
So here’s what I think therapist Vicki would say to me today: “Life is full of ups and downs, peaks and troughs and even when life is good you cannot plateau at a naturally high state. After an extended time of feeling good it is natural for your mood to dip. You may experience lethargy, melancholy and restlessness. It’s common during these times to look forward to good things to come, but try to not spend too much time in the future. Even though this present moment is difficult it can teach you a valuable lesson. You will be more likely to return to high spirits quicker if you accept your mood for what it is and embrace it where possible. Low moods provide a contrast from which high spirits can be measure against. Be thankful for your low moods because they make those good moods great.”
See, I’m feeling better already!
It’s been a while since my last installment; I’ve obviously not had much to ponder or confess. Despite the growing general consensus that our government are incapable of running our country and that war and prejudicial viewpoints are neither big nor clever, we seem to be past the point of no return. And as much as it pains me, I feel as helpless as I’m sure you all do. My usual timely rants and creative outbursts seem powerless in comparison to the idiocracy that is our government. Particularly considering the ease in which they decided upon the appropriateness of violent acts in response to the Paris attacks.
I guess that my confession would therefore be that I am so overwhelmed with everything that’s wrong with the world, that I’ve lost focus. I’m being a proverbial ostrich and my creativity has been buried alongside my head. Maybe now’s not the time for action art, but I can’t just sit back and do nothing. It’s time to seek reformed ostriches and see what the rest of the enlightened world are doing about it all. And since I now live in a community-focused city I’m launching personal project “Research, Network and Get Involved.”
I have been reflecting on the past few years and the struggles I have encountered. I have finally realised I have actually been through a lot, and I’ve coped better than I gave myself credit for. I have dealt with the several house moves, several relationship break-ups, money problems, mental and physical illness, the loss of baby and the death of three friends. I have been physically abused, threatened in my own home, made homeless and had a mental breakdown. Throughout this I have upheld a job, achieved a first class honours degree and I’m still alive, still have hope and have plans for a big change and a bright new future. When you see it all in black and white it puts some perspective on life.
I think it is important to reflect every now and then and give yourself a pat on the back. Life is tough, we deserve some recognition of our survival on this rollercoaster even if it is from ourselves!
I listen to a lot of my friends problems, talking through them and coming up with viable solutions. With my interest in psychoanalysis I can see to some extent where problems stem from therefore helping to understand how to resolve them.
I use the same approach for myself; analysing the roots of my issues and recognising areas for change. Why doesn’t this approach ever seem to get me anywhere though? If I know the root of the problem and the solution, why do I keep going round in circles?
This conundrum has got me thinking about the mental states of similar thinkers. Are all psychoanalysts suffering from the same feeling that their worlds are spinning out of control? And does that mean that they are therefore not in any position to be helping anyone else with their problems?
The only conclusion I can draw from this is the fact that trying to deal with my own problems myself is counterproductive. That exploring personal issues internally, from my own viewpoint is doing me no good whatsoever therefore completely nullifying my attempts to “know oneself.”
Back to square one for me it seems…yet again.
Digressing from the realms of confessional art, my focus has landed on the causes our global epidemic, the symptomatic human condition. Where previously I laid blame on the design flaws of the human psyche, I have recently admitted that there may be other forces at work.
Yes we are living in a virtual reality, forgetting who we really are and living our lives through our egos like characters in a video game. Every completed level providing nothing more than a key to the next, where there’s yet more puzzles, more enemies to beat and more of a chance it seems, of ending up right back at the beginning again. But it’s not the ego alone that keeps us within this construct; it’s also the carefully designed layout of the game. The layout panders to our every want and need. Our own egoic traits being used against us as we blindly consume, acquire and own, whilst forever collecting those little shiny coins.
Now ideally I would like to stop playing this game completely. But until a considerable amount of people also make this choice; we are stuck here because we have no easy alternative. I am on a quest to bring about awareness and therefore bring about change. I, like many others, am trying to change the world. And I do so through my creative endeavours. My artwork is a direct consequence of my quest for knowledge, my search for the truth and my hope for change. My medium where possible reflects my dislike for materialism and consumerism. I use audio-visual technology and online writing to make immaterial art, temporary art and art that tries to escape the evils of commodity fetishism and monetary worth. It only “tries” at the moment because inevitably whilst we’re still stuck in this system it’s much too easy to get dragged back down with it. But this serves as a reminder as to why I am doing all this.
Where does art stop and life start? In the ever expanding concept of art, artists face great scrutiny when their artwork doesn’t fit into the outdated conventional standards of aesthetics and commodity fetishism. It’s somewhat surprising considering the advances in technology; where we are surrounded by a virtual reality, that artwork that doesn’t take a material form is not more widely accepted such as the email, smart phones or video games seem to have been. People seem to be slightly more at ease if the artwork is categorised, such as performance or relational aesthetics. But surely creativity should take us out of the bounds of such titles.
I suppose the one question is where do I think the line is between art and life? It’s definitely a blurred one. For a start, your life affects your art. Whether it’s your environment, your mood, the people around you and even how much money you have. Previously I have journeyed into my mind, extracting and dissecting parts of my subconscious. I turned myself into laboratory specimen, or a confessional artist as it’s known in the art world and opened myself up for all to see in a quest to find myself.
On my journey, I certainly didn’t find myself, but I did find some potential to ease my suffering and this is what lead me into the next phase of my artistic practise; working towards a better world, internally and externally. I suppose if I had to classify what I do now, it is a form of relational art. Whilst before I was bringing about awareness of my internal to myself through confessional art, now I am bringing about awareness of our collective exterior world, through art activism.
To create art as a commodity would be a contradiction of what I stand for as an artist; an anarchist, an empath standing up against the forces of capitalism, consumerism and materialism. How I choose to present my art is dependent on what I intuitively feel my audience would to relate to on both a creative and informative level. So the output of my creative practise and what others would scrutinise over as they stumble over themselves in the question to define what art is, would be anything that meets the criteria of my message – an empathic protest with a wide and varied audience in mind.
Action Art….that’s it, I’ve decided….Now for some divine inspiration… 😉