November 13 2017

How to Get Back into your Creative Life After a Break

Life Happens

We all have things that happen to us that slow our creativity down, or that put a halt to our creativity. I fell behind in my journaling, planning, and overall creative “things,” back in July when my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 aggressive cancer (chemo wouldn’t help and surgery wasn’t an option–so it was just a matter of quality of life during the time he had left), and Mr. Rockstar was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I tried to stay creative. I tried to journal. To Plan. To finish out #onebookjuly2017 and #campnanowrimo. But my emotions, thoughts…my mental state was all over the place. Insert Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, along with the roller coaster of emotions that come with finding out your Dad has inoperable and non-treatable stage 4 cancer, and your husband has a disease that isn’t curable either–I was a wreck!

Still, I tried to maintain some sort of routine, some sort of balance. I tried to be creative. And someday’s I managed to journal, plan, write, art… Other days–I barely seemed to function. The worse my Dad got the worse my emotional state became. My emotions were all over the place. I started grieving well before my Dad died on October 5th. But his death, and my Mom’s subsequent hospitalization (she was admitted into the very same ICU ward as my Dad–within an hour or so of his death she was up there a few rooms down from where he was (he was still in the room, they were kind enough to allow my Mom to say goodbye, for all of us to say goodbye). The doctor’s and nurses all knew who I was–first time they’d had that happen, and they were absolutely wonderful to us.

Fast forward a week, my Mom was in the hospital 8 nights and 9 days. So I was at the hospital for approximately 10 days, because I’d been there the night before when my Dad was helicoptered from their local hospital to the one in Charleston to ICU. By the time my Mom was released I’d already taken care of my Dad’s cremation, and a lot of paperwork for things like insurance, etc. I was on the ball in regards to taking care of my Mom. I was not, however, doing very well in the taking time to grieve for my Dad, taking care of myself (not really), much less housework, planning, journaling, filming videos for Patreon or YouTube, etc. I did manage to do a few loads of laundry somewhere in there so I had some clean clothes to wear when I went back to the hospital (my husband convinced me to go home with him to take a shower and get some sleep–I hadn’t slept but about 3 hours in about 3 days). (I’m sure I was in definite need of a shower by then.)

 

Falling Behind  

Grief is not like many make it out to be. It comes in waves. It’s very much like riding a rollercoaster ride, maybe like that one at Sea World that splashes you with water when you least likely expect it, so not only are you on the ride, but you have added elements of surprise. I took a short break, but I knew for my own mental health I needed to focus on positive things, on things that brought me joy, and let the grief happen organically. So I got back to work… I filmed videos. I even wrote a blog post. I tried to journal but I was having issues… I felt blocked. I wasn’t sure of what it was exactly, but the journal felt wrong, what I was doing felt off, what I wanted to do felt off–I was off kilter so everything was off.

I watched a few YouTube videos, specifically one by Documented Journey, and then a Patreon video by Courtney Diaz (LittleRavenInk), and I managed to create a few pages. I knew I needed to make a change. I wasn’t sure of what change to make, or if the change would even by much more than perhaps a new journal, but I knew I needed to change things up. I’d changed. What had happened was traumatic, and it had changed me, so everything felt off–I felt off. My routine was off. My psyche was off. My anxiety was high. I was fighting depression. My focus was all off so my ADHD was in rare form. I wanted so badly to jump back into my “creative life,” to create art, to write, to journal, to do something… anything–but I couldn’t.

And then something special, quite a bit of synchronicity, happened.

 

Picking Up the Pieces

Picking up the pieces after something like the death of a loved one, the hospitalization of a loved one, especially both happening at the same time, would be difficult for almost anyone, but for me it felt like my whole world had been turned upside down. Trying to explain how close a call it was with my mom, or how hard it was to try to remain positive for my Mom, about my Mom, while my Dad had just died a few door down in ICU, or how hard it was to watch my Mom suffer in pain, delirium, and not know exactly what was wrong… There are no words. No words at all, but I found solace in the words my Dad had spoken to me… “she’s going to need you… you’re stronger than you know… I believe in you….” Those words kept me strong, gave me courage. After my Mom went home there were/are still obstacles to overcome: physical therapy, outpatient surgery, etc, but my Mom is one hell of a strong person. I knew I had to get back to life, to my own life, to living life. I couldn’t wallow–my Dad would not want me to do that, nor did my Mom.

I came home to find happy mail, more than once…

I was overwhelmed by all the love and support… I couldn’t help myself from crying happy tears over all the thoughtfulness, the compassion and generosity that was given to me.

I am finding my way…Some days are harder than others. Some days the waves of grief knock me down and take my breath, other days I let the ebb and flow of the grief wash through me–it’s not easy, But I’m working through things one day at a time.  Synchronicity is something I haven’t talked about a whole lot until lately… but it was hitting me from every direction–like the Universe was speaking directly to me and I needed to listen. I’m listening… I don’t have any sage advice. What has worked for me may or may not work for you. But the best way to get back into doing something is to start doing it. To make time to do it, even if it’s just in small doses to start with. Or to change things up so that you can get your feet wet again before diving straight in. For me it took forcing myself to jump back in, but then I was blocked again. Then I changed things up to fit with how I’d changed. The “synchronicity” helped me do that. Creativity is a great way to help with the grieving process. It doesn’t lessen your grief. Nor does it take the pain away, but it does give you an outlet to pour your feelings, doubts, and thoughts into. It gives you a positive way to work through your grief. It’s also helped me find a little balance, which is helping me find my way back to a routine. I really need to get back on a routine, but I know that I have to make changes because things have changed, I’ve changed. For the better, I think.

If you’ve used creativity, whether it’s art, writing, music, or some other creative outlet to work through your grief I’d appreciate it you’d comment below and tell me about it. 😀

October 27 2017

Creativity and Grief

On October 5th as my Dad took his last breath in the ICU my mom was being admitted into the hospital and within an hour or two would be in that same ICU ward… I was a mental and emotional wreck but I held it all together in order to do what was necessary to save my Mom. I wanted to scream. To cry out. To curl up in a corner in the dark… but I could not do any of those, all I could focus on was saving my Mom. She nearly died.

At that moment when my Mom was being wheeled into the ICU from the ER, and my Dad was still in ICU in the room he passed away in, I had both parents in ICU–one alive and one dead. It was overwhelming. The ICU was wonderful to us though. They made it possible for my Mom, as well as our immediate family, to say goodbye to my Dad before the Crematorium picked him up. And the Crematorium was also wonderful–they were understanding and compassionate.

On Friday 13th my Mom went home from the hospital. It was such a relief. Such an amazing thing, and yet as hard as it was for my Mom to go back to the home they built together alone, she did just that… the two of us–me and my Mom–had not had time to mourn my Dad. She’d been in the hospital, half in and out of delirium because of an ecoli bacterial infection, pneumonia, etc and I had been so focused on her that I hadn’t really dealt with my Dad’s death. Needless to say, I crashed. Emotionally, mentally, and physically, but the crashes came in spurts. I was still in “fight/survive” mode…my focus went from taking care of my Mom to taking care of everything else… taking care of the laundry, housework, etc that had been neglected while I’d been staying at the hospital with my mom two hours away. I’d come home 2 of those 7 nights to take a shower and get a bit of sleep. The waiting rooms in the ICU ward are not conducive to sleep.

My Mom is one hell of a lady. She’s such a strong and amazing person…this past week I’ve been working on a memorial video for my Dad’s memorial service this Saturday morning… It’s been hard on me. I had to take a break from it because I just couldn’t…I hadn’t really, truly dealt with my Dad’s death. Rationally I knew he was gone. Mentally I understood but emotionally I had not accepted it. I was almost in limbo, perhaps because I had spent that whole week after his death concentrating on my mom, but once my mom was home and I was home (I live an hour 1/2 from her) things changed. My purpose changed.

Throughout the past few weeks I’ve gotten some art done. Some writing done. I’ve tried to get back into a routine but my focus is off… I am all over the place emotionally. I’ve used creativity, art and writing to help with my grief. I’ve been channeling my grief into doing things psychically so that I can deal with things emotionally as I need to, as they surface. And they have surfaced. Those damn phases of grief aren’t as clear cut as people make them out to be. One moment I’m sad and crying, the next minute I’m angry and pulling apart my whole house to find a few pictures–carrying on like a mad woman because I can’t find them. The next minute I’m a puddle on the kitchen floor. One minute I’m doing well, and the next minute I’m a wreck.

Once I finally got the video finished for Dad’s memorial service I felt relieved, but at the same time overwhelmed with various emotions: sadness and loss, gratitude and love. and anger–fuc*ing cancer! Tomorrow (well today now since it’s after midnight) we’ve got errands to run, bills to pay, a few things we need to get for the service, but tonight I am working on a few creative things. Creative things that help with my peace of mind. The past few weeks have been hectic, filled with stress and anxiety, but one of the things that has really helped me has been the ability to be creative. It’s not a band-aid, however. The wound is emotional and it hurts but I can’t will it away or fix it overnight. All I an do is what I can do, when I can do it. My creativity in some ways has gotten a bit stuck, and yet in other ways is open. I’m rolling with what feels right to me currently. In the now…the present, which seems odd since I’ve been planning my novel for NaNoWriMo, planning my Dad’s memorial service and creating the video, as well as trying to figure out a bit of a schedule for November to fit in all the things like visiting my mom once or twice a week, having Viktor (my beautiful grandson) sleep over at least once a month,  Patreon, Youtube, NaNoWriMo, and my FB group.

Thank goodness for the wonderful community of people that have been so supportive during this hard time. From family members, to friends, to my Patrons and YT subscribers and my FB group members. I’ve been so blessed and I am appreciative of all the support.

I’ve missed blogging. I used to blog every day. I miss it. But with so much going on I kept putting off publishing a post–I have 5 or 6 drafts that have yet to be completed. I will get to them. Better late than never, but from now on I’m going to work on having a post that coincides with my YT videos, which are usually on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

 

September 2 2017

Chh Chh Changes…

Hello my creative people…

How the hell are you?

It’s been a while… now I hear that song playing in my head… “It’s been a while…”

I’ve been busy spending time with family, busy creating content for Patreon, for YT, rearranging my creative room, revamping how I film videos and my journals–how I have them set up, as well as thinking…

Damn that thinking about things… but it was necessary and much needed. Between my dad having cancer (and dying… it’s now a matter of time and the quality of life while he’s still here), and Mr. Rockstar being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, my world was turned upside down. Mr. Viktor (my 5 year old grandson) started kindergarten. I closed one FB group and changed another to fit what I’d imagine all along–it was a progression… A progression of things that made me challenge myself, change things, and that changed my perspective.

In October my account with Blue Host has to be renewed… the notification came in my email this week… and I thought “Do I want to keep my website? Keep my blog? Do I want to really devote the time, effort, and money into something that has been hit or miss the past year?…” And the answer was yes. YES? Yes! It’s time to get back to me. To the things that bring me joy. To the things that I love and that I enjoy. To doing the things that really matter. And writing, reading, art, blogging, vlogging (well, I’m not a really big vlogger but I do enjoy making videos that inspire and motivate others, videos that are a sharing of thoughts, ideas, how to’s, and what I’ve learned so that I might be able to help someone else). I can do all of that within the space of this website. Share my thoughts, ideas, my videos, my pictures, my creativity, my life (to an extent) right here.

Truth is, I’ve missed blogging, but I kept putting it off. I evaded, avoided, procrastinated. Why? I’m still not quite sure, except that somewhere deep inside myself I was hesitant to put all of this down in writing and then share it… I was anxious, but now I’m past the point of being nervous about it and instead I’m excited about it.

Excited about the changes. So excited that I’ve finally created a YT channel trailer video:

And I’m finally sketching daily thanks to #sketchtember, and prepping for #NaNoWriMo and calling it #preptember, and I’m still on Patreon, still journaling and reading, and drinking coffee and watching mind candy TV movies and shows when I need to  relax and unwind (or I go for a walk or both).

I’ll be posting more here. It’s time for to get serious about coordinating my blog posts with my YT videos.

July 16 2017

A real hero

My Daddy

When I was 7 years old my daddy died. He was 31, my mom was 28, and my younger brother was 4 years old. We were all devastated. I retreated into a shell. I took to books, writing in my pink dairy, and talking to my daddy in my dreams. My brother became glued to my mom.

When my mom met the man who was to become our (step)dad I wasn’t sure about the whole “new” dad thing. I already had a daddy. He was in Heaven with the angels and God and I was just waiting to be with him, or for him to come back to us.

But he was such a gentle soul, this big and tall bear of a man. He never tried to take my daddy’s place. He stood by the car as he waited for us when we visited my daddy’s graveside. He talked to us not at us, listened to us–really listened, and he genuinely loved us like we were his own children. We couldn’t have asked for a better dad, and my mom couldn’t have asked for a better husband.

Now it’s forty-one years later, in May my mom and this gentle bear of a man were married 41 years, and I am heartbroken… I am losing another father, this time it isn’t unexpected like my daddy’s death (car accident). This time it’s cancer. Aggressive cancer that has taken over my dad’s body and reduced him to a shell of the man he once was physically. And I can tell he hates it. This strong man that I love and who has been a real hero in every way that a person can be a hero, has been reduced to being a victim of extremely aggressive cancer and all that that entails. I am devastated. My mom. My children. My nephews. My brother. Our family is devastated. My mom is losing another husband. We are losing another father. My children and nephews are losing their grandfather, and my grandson is losing his great grandfather–his Papa. His siblings. They are a close knit family and they stick by each other through thick and thin. We are all helpless, and feeling every single bit of that helplessness down to our core.

I have been blessed to have had three wonderful parents. My Daddy, my Mom, and my Dad. My Dad has taught me so very much about life, unconditional love, resilience, family, determination, and he is and will always be a hero to me. My father is dying of cancer. It’s basically a matter of when, no matter how much of a fighter my dad is, the cancer has taken over. I truly wish there was going to be a happy recovery story. I wish that Cancer didn’t suck. Like most people, just hearing the word “Cancer” made me cringe. It’s one of those words that leaves a bitter aftertaste when you say it. And now the man who has been a real life hero to me, to my children, to our family is dying of Cancer. I am past the denial. The diagnosis a few weeks ago was bad enough, and then the news that it was inoperable, but since then my dad has went downhill quickly. It’s like his body sighed and said… “okay, we’re done fighting…let’s rest now.” Only my dad is fighting it.  Is that worse or better? It’s heartbreaking is what it is. I want him to be well. I want him to get a shot. To take a pill. To  get some damn help and get better. But I’m not sure that’s going to happen, and today I realized that. Reality set in and it  sucks beyond words. I know that my words will not do him justice, but I feel like so many people shy away from the truth of what happens when someone becomes chronically ill, when cancer sets in. My mom took care of my disabled grandfather for over a decade and in the end cancer got him as well. We are not alone. I will never be alone. My daddy, my grandparents, my family, my dad, my mom, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my friends,  are with me. We’ve all been through something, and because death is inevitable will all go through things in life that are heartbreaking. My dad would not want all this attention. He loves me and is proud of me, proud that I am who I am and that I doing something with my life that makes me happy, but he really wouldn’t want all the attention. He’s a humble and proud man.

Doug (my son), Maria (my daughter), Viktor (my grandson), my Mom, my Dad, Me, and Mr. Rockstar.

My Dad is such a wonderful person. He’s laid back. Generous. Compassionate. Hardworking. Honest. Honorable. Loyal. My Dad has taught me so much about life, love, unconditional love, resilience, family, determination, and so many other things. Things like,  I am stronger than I think, worth more than I think, smarter than I thought, and I can do anything I put my mind to. That though there are some things that are not probable, there are very few things that are impossible if I put my mind to it. He is one of my biggest fans, my strongest supporters, and I would not be the person I am today without him.

I have not given up hope that today was just a setback, but I am realistic enough and tough enough to know that it might not be a setback. A few weeks ago my dad was tired, and he’d lost weight but he could stand and walk on his own. A few weeks ago, my dad could still walk without assistance. A couple of weeks ago my dad was still able to do all of those things. Today broke my heart and I’m not going to show the photos I took today right now. Maybe later. Right now I can’t bear to look at them. I’ve finally stopped crying. Am I crying because I know I’m losing my Dad? Yes. Am I crying because my mom is losing another husband? Yes. Am I crying for all that my Dad is going through and will go through? Yes. Am I crying because of all our family is going to endure? Yes.  My Dad knows he is dying. Most of us, my family, have now accepted that he is dying. Reality is setting in, or has set in. Have we given up? No. Has my Dad given up? No, I don’t think so–it’s not in his nature to give up. BUT I do know that right now I have a chance to tell my Dad how very much I love him, what a wonderful and amazing father he has been, how grateful I am that he came into our lives. We were blessed the day he and my mom met, the day they married (or as my brother said back then, “we’re getting married.”

Dad, Jacob, and Jimmy

For 41 years, my dad has done his best by all of us. I’m thankful for the blessings that he’s brought to us. I know he knows that I love him, but I’m not sure he knows just how very much I appreciate him, how much I value him as a person not just a dad. This is my chance to do that. To honor him with my words, although my words do not do justice to this man–my dad is a real life hero. He is a hero to me and he always will be.

I know the struggle has only just begun, not just for my dad but for all of us. Everyone who is close to my dad. I reach out across the divide of miles, things that keep us busy or keep us from reaching out to one another to say: “Life ain’t always peaches and cream, baby. You gotta make it happen if you want it.” I can hear him saying that to me throughout the years. I can also hear him telling me “there’s no such thing as can’t.” And my favorite, “You catch a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar.” He’s right.

My dad is a hero to me, and many others, and he always will be. Right now I have a chance to tell him and show him how very much I love him, how very much I appreciate all that he has done for us. And how very proud I am to call him Dad.

My Dad and my grandson.

 

April 10 2017

Coffee Chat Monday

If we were having coffee I’d tell you…

April 9 2017

Why did I need to update my art and journal supply tote?

Overall #backtobasicsapril items

On Friday I posted a “What’s in my bags?” video because for the month of April I’m getting #backtobasics. To be honest, when I was first thinking about all of this back in March all I knew for sure was that I wasn’t really using my journals or planner(s). And if I’m not journalling then there is something seriously wrong. One of the things that has really worked for me in the past is #onebookjuly. I remember the first time I heard Rhomany of Rhomany’s Realm talk about #onebookjuly–getting back to the basics of planning. If the system you’re using for planning isn’t working it doesn’t matter what notebook you use… And since then I’ve been working on my actual planning system.

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April 6 2017

#backtobasicsapril

What have I been up to for the past few weeks? Organizing, writing, goal setting, journaling, filming videos for YT, and so much more.

A few weeks ago I knew I needed to do something. I hadn’t really been journaling, at least not much while I was sick for approximately two months. Not journaling is serious, at least in Burgess Land. Journaling, of any kind, whether it is text journaling, common place journaling, art journaling, “smashbook” style journaling… it all helps decrease my anxiety, and helps keep the depression demons at bay.

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March 20 2017

If we were having coffee

I’d tell you about how I’m going to work on getting back to the basics in April, #backtobasicsapril. A few years ago, I participated, along with a lot of other journalers and planners,  in #onebookjuly with Rhomany’s Realm, Carie Harling, and MissVickybee. Since then I’ve participated every year since. This year I can’t wait for July, and there are so many other things in my life that I need to get back to the basics with I knew I needed to do something. Here is the link to the playlist for #onebookjuly.

I mentioned my dilemma in a previous coffee chat, as well as a different video on my YT channel. Many others said they were feeling the same way. Many asked if we could do #onebookjuly early. I don’t see why we couldn’t, but I need to do more than get back to the basics with my journaling and planning, I need to purge, clean, and organize my supplies, my house, my life…especially with Camp NaNoWriMo starting April 1st.

In the spirit of Rhomany, Carie, and Vicky’s #onebookjuly theme, which is getting back to the basics of planning, we thought we’d call our mission for April #backtobasicsapril. Some of us will be getting back to the basics with their budgets, or with their meal planning, their craft/journal/planner supplies, their homes, their planners, journals, or some of those or maybe all of those, as well as a few other things most likely. I am going to start the purging, cleaning, and organizing of my desk this week because I will (hopefully) be getting my new computer built this coming weekend, but everything else starts on April 1st. 😀 Continue reading

March 9 2017

New Journal Temptation

Nanamipaper’s Sevenseas Crossfield

As a lover of all things stationery, and a journal/book/DIY/art/book/writer nerd, I am, I admit, often tempted to start a new journal. Sometimes the temptation arises because I see a shiny new journal on a shelf in a store, or a new journal via someone’s YT video, FB post, IG picture, etc., or simply because I have gotten bored, anxious, or tired of the current journal I am using–or perhaps because I’m frustrated with what I’ve been doing. Maybe it started out great but somewhere along the way what I wanted the pages, and eventually the journal, to look like is not what it looks like.

I’m not alone in this. About once every few months someone asks me if I am ever tempted to start a new journal before I’ve finished my current, or how to do stick with a journal until I’ve used up the whole journal, or am I ever tempted to start a new journal–shiny new journal syndrome (much like the shiny new idea syndrome in regard to writing, which I know way too much about for my own good). Every time I start a new journal before finishing the current journal I regret it for all of about 5 minutes–the shiny new pages are just so pretty, the crisp clean feel of the new journal is overwhelming in its beauty, the newness… and yet–

I can’t help but wonder if all of this angst over my journals and planning system are about the journals/planning or if it’s really about the depression and anxiety that have increased from being sick for over a month. Being sick has definitely taken a toll on me. Now that I’m finally feeling better and more like myself I realize that it’s probably a combination of all of the above. I’m working on things so that I feel more better.

If you would like to see what I’ve been up to you can watch my coffee chat video from Monday where I talk about how I’m not feeling the journal/planner peace. Continue reading

January 22 2017

Coffee Chat, Journals, Planners, and more for 2017

2016 taught me a lot about what worked and didn’t work for me in regard to planning, journaling, drawing, painting, goal setting, editing videos, etc… I learned so much last year. Part of what I learned is the living a creative life is my passion, but it’s also part of my purpose.

Because there were a few things that did and didn’t work I changed things up this year.

Here is my coffee chat about some of this: