My Week…

I saved my neighbors plants the other day. He left them outside, in the back, where when the sun shines it bakes everything which otherwise soaks up the rain. A few days before leaving, he told me he would be gone, wasn’t sure what to do about his plants. I offered to take care of them. He mentioned he might put them outside. I moved them to a less sunny location. I might have to water them but at least their leaves will no longer burn or turn crisp and shatter.

It is the last day of spring break. Two days before I start my new job. Three days before I really experience how upside down my world has become.

It is now one week since creating a bullet journal. My first. In one week, I’ve already eliminated one log after adding a tracker which will reflect what I was logging, so much better. So far, I have 13 different types of journal pages. Things like, yearly calendar, monthly calendar, weekly view, daily log, gratitude log, etc. April will be a much cleaner spread. I’m not worrying about being artistic or fancy with it right now. That will come later once I have a firmer grasp of how to use it and what I want to include in it.

I’m a horrible mother. I set my daughter to creating her own bullet journal. Making it a “must do” thing right now. We will review every day. She doesn’t use her school planner, nor does she write things down. She keeps them in her head which only works part of the time. School assignments and projects have been late. Home chores don’t get done.

So far her teachers have been mostly forgiving but that won’t fly in her following years of school. They understand seventh grade is an adjustment grade where the students have to learn to be more responsible, figure out how to work within the change in having multiple teachers, and so forth.

I have been understanding the past two months with my not working, I took up the chores. However, this will soon change. This is my attempt to help her learn to be responsible on her own and track what she needs to do. Not just for school but for home too. I won’t be working from home any more. I won’t be here to be her task master.

I have put together a small case which will hold my bullet journal, a few supplies and my freehand mandala journal. This and lunch/snacks will be what I take to work with me for activities during lunch and breaks. I may expand upon this once I learn the rules, such as how long lunch breaks are.

In my previous job, breaks and lunches were very flexible. Working from home, I rarely had any structure. I would take a couple minutes break or no lunch and end my day early or I would take long breaks or long lunch and end my day later. I won’t have that option in my new job. This is fine. My time, years ago, in the military made me realize I don’t mind a structured environment. As long as I know the rules and they aren’t constantly changing or a mass of inconsistencies relegated by one person who changes them on their whim, I do well.

I have been watching various videos on YouTube. Some about bullet journals and how people set theirs up. I’ve learned the basics and could pretty much tell what I would want to include and what I wouldn’t want. But mostly they made me itch to get creative with my journal so I stopped watching them at least until I get the basics down.

Other videos I’ve watched are things like art journaling, which set me off to watching videos on painting with water colors and painting with acrylics. OMG, I so want to give both of these a try. I just haven’t come up with an idea yet of what I want to paint. I saw them after I finished my last art journal page, but had laid down a solid color of acrylic paint on my next page. It has sat there unfinished for the past week or so. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it.

My art journal pages mostly consist of an acrylic painted background, and some pictures pasted on top of it, maybe a couple stamps and a few words, inspiring or otherwise. In other words, very basic. The videos I saw on art journaling make mine look like child’s play but that is okay. I’m learning, experimenting and yes enjoying it.

I saw a video on making hot glue stencils, so I just HAD to try it. It was so easy and fun, I ended up making hot glue stencils for each letter of the alphabet in capitals and the numbers from 0 to 9 and some geometric shapes. I haven’t tried to use them yet, been thinking about using them somehow on my art journal page. I just need to sit down and give them a try.

A few weeks ago, I started reading “Visual Journaling, Going Deeper than Words” by Barbara Ganim & Susan Fox. Barb Owen referenced this book on one of her videos mentioning how much it helped her during some rough times. I decided to give it a try. Started it and then was lax for a week or so where I didn’t do the exercises. Chaper Four has a group of exercises which I felt needed to be done with only small gaps in time between them because the exercises are related to each other. I wanted the previous exercise fresher in my mind than when I did them originally, so I delayed working the exercises until I had more time.

I started doing them again yesterday, and added the Visual Journaling to my daily tasks tracker so I can see at a glance if I haven’t done one in a while.

For those who are not familiar with the book, it is about using art to get closer in touch with your feelings. Some may think they are already very well in touch with how they feel, and that may be the case, however, I’ll try and explain my experience.

When I was a child, I often felt very strong emotions without understand what it was I was really feeling. Was I excited or scared? Were the two most frequent emotions I confused. Often I would find myself really angry without understanding why, and later would discover my anger came from fear. As an adult, I started sorting through those emotions and trying to understand them better, however, I often found myself at their mercy instead of being able to control them or eliminate them. I knew I was suppressing a lot of what I felt, both good feelings and bad feelings.

The “Visual Journaling” book is helping me learn how to use art to not only know what I really feel, but also help me to release those emotions instead of holding them in or suppressing them. I have only just begun to get to the portion of the book which talks about using art journaling to access suppressed emotions and release them. I think I hesitate to move forward because I’m afraid of what it will bring up.

Art is a very emotional medium. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t pick up a pencil and draw like I did in high school when I was in art class with my favorite art teacher. I didn’t understand that picking up a pencil and sketching was accessing my feelings, and releasing them. I now realize, my art teacher gave me a place where I felt safe to do so.

After leaving school, I no longer had that safe environment. The new adult world without adult guidance was scary enough, so I put away or rather locked up my creative side. Oh I would dabble in something creative to satisfy my creative side just enough to keep her locked away, but that was all I did… dabble… I would do something for a few months, then put it away until the need, or hunger became too strong then I’d pull something out again, but none of it was truly my own creation.

There is something that shifts in people’s lives. Some people reach this moment earlier than others. Some may consider it what others call a mid-life crisis. I just call it a shift. For me, that shift started happening about five or six years ago when we moved to where we are now. My intent for this move was to find a home, a sanctuary, a place that was both safe, harmonious and inspiring. Inspiring for me is synonymous with creativity. I can’t be inspired if there is nothing creative.

Shifts can happen suddenly or in subtle movements. Events, incidents, experiences can bring about these sudden shifts or can send us down a path with various gradients of movements which bring about what we really need, whether we know we want it or not.

In fact, around 2000 or 2001, my intent changed for which I believe has brought me here. Every event which occurred since then has been for me to learn things about myself and to bring me to this place. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I, in no way, believe this is the end of my journey. It was a shift. It is still shifting. My thought, and my intent have not changed. What changed around 2000 or 2001 was I was sick and tired of living my life the way other people thought I should live it. I now wanted to find my way, create my own life, find out who I truly am.

I’m learning who I really am.

I had to go through some major upheavals in order to crack open the walls I had surrounded myself within. I had to destroy what I thought I had created to keep myself safe where in fact what I had built was only destroying me.

This “Visual Journaling” is helping me to see what lays hidden underneath the surface. The surface hides so much if we let it. And I let it do so for my whole life. For the first time in my life, I’m discovering the person I am underneath all the layers I built over the years. I don’t think I was afraid of who she was. I think I was afraid I couldn’t protect her from those in my life who tried to make her into something she could never be.

So, this week… I saved my neighbor’s plants… I’m trying to get through my daughter’s cynical shell and help her see the beautiful person she is and how she can let that beauty shine… I’m finding ways to crack the layers and let my creativity shine.

I believe without a doubt, the past two years, and more recently, was about the final destruction of that shell. I feel like I am a butterfly finally emerging from her cocoon.

What have you done this week?



About Kate Spyder

I'm a creative individual finding her way in her writing. I enjoy expressing my deep thoughts through poetry and stories. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them.
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