a life creative
I’m back! It’s been a while since the last post. Much of my screen time tolerance gets used up on translation work, so blogging and much of anything else online gets put aside in favour of mental (and ocular) rest.
Not that a great deal of excitement has taken place in my life – likewise for many of you out there, I am sure – so it’s good to save it all up for a series of posts now. In any case here’s a bit of a run down on the last 6 weeks or so, and some pretty pictures.
I’ve begun incorporating ritual as part of my daily routine, rituals that are based on self care and connection to my Celtic side of the ancestral fence. Identity is hugely important for me, and ties in with the sense of (and search for) home. I am a mix of two cultures, and my mother was a mix of two, and both parents were children of migrants. As kids we moved a fair bit. From the age of 5 until 16 I’d attended 7 schools for varying periods (including one school twice). It’s conditioned into me, both the need to migrate on a deeper level, and to keep moving on a superficial and fidgety level.
Rituals keep me aligned with everything, from sticking with a daily routine, and season, to helping me let go of things that need really need to be let go of. Before I realised that the first of Feb was upon me, I’d completely rearranged my house and now I actually have a dining room and, while they say you should never have your workspace in your bedroom, I do, and it has increased my productivity.
Imbolc and the Great Spring Clean seems to come to me naturally most years – an stirring urge that runs dna deep – and was a great, and rather smoky (read: holyhell Dutch oven that had the neighbours wondering), removal of negativity and passive aggressive stagnation from my house.
I “sained” my house in a solitary ceremony that we have come to incorrectly know as “smudging”, prior to waking up to the cultural appropriation of certain traditional and native peoples rituals. And even then one can get into the sticky in betweens of “saining” being appropriated if you are not magically ordained and living in Scotland.
So. I shall hereby declare that I smoked the fuck out of my house in a cleansing and purifying and somewhat magical ritual that I felt tied in with Imbolc, that feels down to the blood and bones to me like it worked a treat.
Not all rituals need to cause coughing fits, lifting injuries, or hang a question mark over its appropriateness. I also utilise meditation and exercise as ritual. I rise at 5am during the week and follow a routine that includes yoga (culturally appropriate? Discuss.), weights, journalling, and the extraction of fresh veg juice, so that I am not scattering or depleting my energy, but building strength inside and out.
Ritual, for me is a form of drawing in, of letting go, of crushing overthinking and negative inner dialogue, of creating boundaries that cannot be crossed by the uninvited.
Ritual is part of my healing as much as art and writing are. Through the gates of reaction – grief, outrage, fear, elation, euphoria – I can set the seismometer of life on smooth trails.
Through ritual I meet my true self.
As most of my readers know, I live in a different country from that of my birth, and I communicate daily in my second language – Italian – about 90% more than I speak my native tongue.
Up until about 18 months ago, I thought this was a pretty cool challenge that made me feel super accomplished. A decade before I would never have imagined I’d have learned the language to more than asking for what was on the menu, let alone to the progressed level of my language. But I did briefly allow a set of circumstances to strip me of this sense of confidence: against my better judgement I moved to yet another country – thankfully only temporarily – and among other coercive pressures, speaking Italian wasn’t allowed. Well, of course I’m a grownup and I could and did speak it, but the psychological consequences of speaking the “forbidden tongue” during that period were predictable in their unpredictability…and that was pretty unpleasant to endure to say the least.
So for a brief time learned to hate my second language at a Pavlov’s Dog style level.
It’s taken me almost a year to reverse that absurd feeling, and part of my process of self repair has been working as a translator again, assisting a University student with her assignment, which really gets my brain crackling into action forming academic arguments, studying for my Italian drivers licence, and studying for the PLIDA exam, so that I can teach the language and keep my option open for EU citizenship now that the extreme F***Up that is Brexit has cracked wide open…and THAT Brexity business, my friends, is another rant for another time.
Italian, for me, is a language I choose to speak because I want to. It isn’t only a means of communication; I like it’s mouthfeel, like a fruity Sangiovese wine.
I love languages, I love new words and cracking grammar codes… I always have. Just as I revel in what my native tongue has to offer, I am relearning to love speaking, writing and reading in Italian all over again.
I’ve been reunited with the rest of my artworks, one of which was a little worse for wear. I’ve repaired it and touched up and it’s nice to have them in this little home and sanctuary of mine, along with the current Works In Progress and other projects.
The inks, as ever have been staining my days with joy, becoming a new earring design, and the popular sketch journal covers.
Well, if you’ve read down this far this far, you’ll see that I am flexing the writing muscle a little. It’s there, it’s just been a bloody long time, poetry aside.
I have plans for entering a number writing competitions, just to get me honed again with polishing and deadlines. Stay toooned.
And no, I’m not talking about conspiracy theories. This is not the blog for that. This is about plans made and stalled, or evolved, or shelved at this time. Flexibility and patience are key, as any longterm plans are just unplans at the moment, thank you Covid.
After a collective optimism bordering on euphoric at the turn of the new year, in the last 6 weeks, we’ve continued to endure epic numbers of cases, lockdowns, coloured zones, tiers, curfews – and all of it seems so shitfully incoherent and disorganised wherever you are in the world.
Add to it all the shouty war between conspiracy folk and the mask-up camps, and it’s easy to see the regression of humanity on a micro level. Then the politicising of vaccines between the EU and Little Britain, the collapse of the Italian government, the closure of Australian borders, and the reopening of Australian borders but only if you’re particularly good at hitting a ball with a racket.
Grouting the whole shamozzle is the low hum of human grief and uncertainty in between these and many other questions:
Will I ever see and hug my parents and sister again? My artist mentors and friends…in person?
Will I experience being swooped by a magpie, woken by a kookaburra, smell the eucalyptus in the residual heat of Melbourne Tullamarine airport on a visit where I can be guaranteed I won’t be detained indefinitely?
Will I ever have another cuppa and an overpriced dirty durry with my best friend with my goddaughter making teenage faces through the window at us?
Covid has made plans and unplans of us, sure, but on the shiny underside, looking down the tunnel of the year behind us, there have been quite a number of blessings in between the shock/numbness of the year. It’s highlighted these affirmations, in juxtaposition the fear:
I know what I don’t want, and that’s a start.
Anything that robs me of creative energy and inner peace is not for me.
Passive aggression toward my vulnerability in my healing is not for me.
Fairweather friendships are not for me.
Gossip, social pack mentality and cruelty are not for me.
Boundaries and kindness to myself first and foremost – now that floats my boat.
Happy Friday everyone.
May yer boat float!