Taking Myself Out On A Date

I like to think of my creative practice, especially my writing as a lover. There are times when I need to fall back in love with my practice, my writing in particular. The muse might be acting shady or we might have just fallen out and not seen each other for a while. This is when I need to start dating my muse again.

In order to fall in love with my practice again, I need to start dating my muse again. I need to treat my muse like a lover and start putting dates in the diary. Make an effort to show up for my muse. Get dressed for an evening date. Spend time on my appearance. Put on my favourite perfume. Make my favourite drink and show up at the page. All part of the ruse to get my muse to show up and spend time with me again.

When I do this, start to treat my muse like a lover, I start to get excited about our time together. I look forward to meeting up, I enjoy the time we spend together and can’t wait until we meet again.

This is all part and parcel of attempting to keep me committed to my practice. To not allow anyone else or any other thing to come between me and my practice. As I need my creative practice like air. To be completely finished with my muse and my creative practice, to separate forever from my lover would be devastating to me, to my being.

So when I think or feel that I’m letting things slide, start taking things for granted and not even bothering to turn up at the page, I know it’s time to start paying special attention to my lover. To make the effort to show up and let them know that I do care for them. That I want to be with them. And that I love them and can’t do without them. I let them know how much joy they bring me. That I appreciate them and that I don’t want to be with them.

Treating my muse like a lover is not just a reminder to my muse that I care but it’s a wake up call to myself that I want them in my life. That I love them, my muse, my lover, my creative practice.

Really Pissed Off At The Moment

Land’s End, Cornwall

I’ve been missing in action. I’ve been going through the motions of getting up each day and doing what needs to be done. But I’ve been tired. Put it down to the 9 hour drive home Saturday/ Sunday from Cornwall.

So maybe because of this lack of energy, then my skin is thinner. My patience is none existent. Or I’ve just plain sensitive.

But some ways people are behaving and treating me is unacceptable and maddening and upsetting. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not accepting this treatment lying down. I’m pushing back and letting them know what they’re doing or not doing and how this is coming across for me/ affecting me. But that doesn’t lessen the sting. Doesn’t lessen the questioning that seems almost like a ritual I do through afterwards.

Why are they doing that? Why did they say that or not? Why did they not acknowledging my contributions? Why did they not thank me? Are they treating everyone else like that? Did they just do it to me? Are they doing this because I’m Black?

Yes. You might say, it’s not all/always about race. And I agree with you. But if we live in a white supremacy culture where we are indoctrinated into believing, thinking and behaving as if white people are superior to Black people then it’s second nature to dismiss, ignore, overrule, disregard what the Black person is saying or doing in the room. We are not seen as of value, of worth or even present. We don’t register on your radar.

So I won’t ask for forgiveness or apologise for bringing it up because for me these are daily microaggressions which depending on my current state of mind body and soul, cut deep or can be rolled off my back like water.

But this week. Today. Now. No way. I’m not accepting them. I’m not going to remain silent about them. As I’m here and I matter and I deserve to be recognised. Not because I’ve done or said something amazing or impression. Because, I am a human being, and I have a right to be here.

Here ends today’s rant and getting things off my chest as basically I was getting tired carrying them all ant

angtaround.

Musing On Palimpsest

Within each moment, we are all these different layers of being, at the same time

Invoking palimpsests – composite surfaces, sutured landscapes, seamed memories and layered absence and presence.

Like palimpsest; a manuscript written on, lines and words laid down before to be reused and altered. Trace elements, remnants of the past words, lives and stories linger.

Just as within the landscape there is a layering of different landforms, reflecting different timeframes and influences, so too within our bodies there are layers of identities built upon over time and space, histories and legacies.

Look closely to see the different layers mingle and become one in the present. Echoes, cries and laughter move as one in memory and body. What’s happened and no longer happening defining me.

I’m a living memorial of a people who no long exist.
I cannot not and should not be wiped clear of their testimony.
I owe it to them to hold them in my body, heart and mind.

Laid down in our bodes and souls, in the fabric of my being like layers within the ocean, hidden depths of influences and meanings living, festering in the darkness, to someone erupt to the surface, seeking air seeking justice.

Coming to an end of the journey

Visual Journaling Practice May 2022

There are only a couple pages left in this altered book journal of May.

The month seems to have gone by fast. I know I’ll complete this journal tomorrow.

I’m ready to move onto a bigger journal now. I can feel it. It’s my intuition calling for more space I feel.

I’ve already started prepping some pages in an A4 journal with paper that’s like newsprint paper. An unfinished kind of feel, off-white, rough and a bit shiny at the same time. It reminds me of the large sheets of paper the teachers used to put down to protect the tables before we got out the paints for art lessons/ play.

Already I’m envisioning what the pages within this journal will feel like when I’m working on them and when I finish a spread.

This is what happens really. Having one foot in my current journal honouring the process. And one foot in the next journal, shifting energies, feeling the pull and excitement of the open pages ahead. Getting ready for the next journey and where it will lead.

There’s no doubt when I finish one journal that there will be the next. A next one. This isn’t something that I can end if I even wanted to.

Visual Journaling is my life. It keeps me rooted in my life, the ups and downs, the backwards and forwards. Where ever it may lead, visual journaling is there holding my hand, guiding me at the same time as catching me when I fall.

And fall I will. And this might be when I feel the need to give up the most but this might be also when I need this practice the most.

I’ve spent this past month, opening up my journaling pages to this space in the hope of inspiring others; for you to take up the practice. At the same time as allowing myself the space to explore what makes this practice tick. The attempt to explore/ unearth/ pin down where it’s magic lies.

Of course, I’ve not achieved this. I’ve just thrown up more questions than answers. But in all honesty, I don’t know if I want to fully comprehend it’s magic. I’m not sure I really want to unravel the mystery around visual journaling, around creativity itself.

As where would the fun be in that? Or the point? As would it help me complete it better? Would it help me achieve more?To succeed?

I don’t practice visual journaling to succeed. To become better at it. To crack the code and achieve more.

I practice visual journaling because it makes me feel (better).

I practice visual journal because it supports me being me. {BE}.

I practice visual journal because it supports me to {BE}.

::REST::

I just posted this over on my Patreon page for supporters, but I through it was relevant to post here. These are the revelations my visual journaling practice through up!

Visual Journal Spread – 22/05

Hey hey hey

How you doin’?

Me, I’ve been hitting on myself hard. Berating myself for spending last week in a stupor of low energy and slow pace productivity.

The practice of ::SLOW:: accompanied with the practice of ::CARE:: was not being practiced last week.

I could start shouting, ‘Shame on you, Sheree.’ But then I’d just be repeating the no compassion, no grace, no patience attitude and treatment towards self of last week.

Do you ever learn, Sheree?  Are you just circling the same old wounds and territory? Are you just right back in the same spot as before?

Nah man!

I’m not circling, I’m spiralling ( in a good way).

On this healing journey back to self, the pathway is a spiral. Yes there’s circling involved but with each new rotation I’m further up and further in, deeper into the exploration and becoming.

It’s like going up a mountain when you reach a vantage point. You get a better lay of the land as your vista opens up. You’ve got more data to play with moving forward/ upwards/ sideways/ and sometimes backwards. But you’re not in the same position as before because you have that experience, thoughts and feelings, events and reflections that have come to pass in the interim.

My takeaway therefore from last week is, ‘When you know you have a busy week ahead, Sheree darling, put in the diary rest and recovery for the week after that one.‘ Capeesh?!

If I schedule in the downtime, make a date with myself, then I won’t be riding my arse for not having enough energy to complete the things that might give me energy. 

Instead of guilt-tripping myself,
I’d be able to luxuriate in the feeling of knowing that’s all I’ve got to do in the time and space available is ::REST::

Circulating My Preoccupations

Visual Journal 21/05

I’ve mentioned before how I’ve been granted a scholarship to participate in Susannah Conway’s Journal Love Club for a whole year.

It’s a gift that just keeps on giving. I get a prompt everyday, a growing community on Mighty Networks, people sharing practice and a live zoom call once a month.

Usually, I start my day with my visual journal practice as above and then by the time I’ve done that the prompt from Journal Love Club has come through so I can continue and respond to that.

Journal Love Club Prompt 21/05

In the past, I’d be on my case for using so many different journals. I would also get confused by what went where and then lose stuff, not knowing where to find the gems. Now, I’m much more of a mind that if I’m showing up to the page, at all or once or twice or more, it’s all a win.

The common denominator between all these different journals is me. And this practice helps me along on this journey of getting back to me. The core me. The authentic me.

After today’s prompt which asked me to look over my recent journal entries to pull out themes; what’s been grabbing my attention, this entry came out:

Nothing is a surprise when I look back and see what issues and ideas keep circulating the journal pages.


Identity, fear, never being good enough.

But then I started to switch things up in response to this prompt.
I’ll never to good enough in a system which is stacked against me.
In a system wired for us to aim for perfection even when we know it doesn’t exist.
But more so, if it did exist it wouldn’t be available to me anyway.

So knowing this I surrender. I let go. Not give up, but surrender means not allowing time and energy to strive for this, to even fight it.
But to use this energy and channel it into the things that are important to me. Not even taking into account the system, the white gaze but making my audience that little Black girl inside and the one in my house now.

And maybe through this I can heal as well as be a better mother to myself and my daughter.

That feels good, that feels better.”

Talking to myself

Visual journal 10/05

I come to the page bubbling with excitement. For what, I do not know.

I feel a change in my energy. It might be the light coming through my window. It might be the prospect of the day ahead. Or if might simply be the fact that I’m turning up for me daily when I come to the page and braindump, dream and talk to self.

Good Morning Sheree

Visual journaling 09/05

Good Morning Sheree.

I sometimes write this at the top of my page on a morning in my Good Morning Vietnam voice. And then proceed to have a conversation with myself. Checking in with myself to see how I’m feeling this morning.

It’s almost like a letter to self. My voice strong and loud in my head coaxing out the different thoughts and feelings and cheering myself on.

Almost like a long prep talk, I prime myself for the day ahead at the same time savouring then moment I’m in while completing my morning pages. The softness of my bed. The sound of the tumbling washing machine. The birds singing and the silence, when it’s there, humming.

I love this time of the day, just woken up and coffee brewed. Eyes and thoughts still hazy but an excitement rumbling on my belly. I get to do this each morning. This sacred ritual which I don’t take for granted but accept as a privilege.

I do share this practice, here, in workshops, in my writings and interactions with other people because it is a powerful source for mental health, dream making and becoming a better version of self.

I’d be crazy, selfish and inhumane if I kept this tool, this practice to myself.

We could all tap into this power and it starts with saying Good Morning to yourself. Your true self and continuing to turn up for the self who you see starting to appear.

The White Gaze

Visual journal 06/05

I do love a white gel pen on a black gesso page. I love the contrast but I also love that it reverses/ subverts the norm.

Quite fitting really when I was exploring my understanding/ operating of ‘The White Gaze’ today.

From Wiki: ‘ The White Gaze is the assumption that the default reader or observer is coming from the perspective of someone who identities as white, or that people of color sometimes feel the need to take into account the white reader or observer’s reaction.”

I wonder who wrote this definition? Loaded much, ‘assumption’ , ‘sometimes’ please. It’s our reality. It’s White Supremacy Culture. It’s the norm.

I’m learning ( all the time) how to survive the white gaze. And taking my lead from Toni Morrison, I know I have meaning and depth without the white gaze. My life has meaning without the white gaze. ‘ But we do language. That might be the measure of our lives.’

It might be a daily practice with need of constant reminders but I’m learning to create not for the white gaze, in spite of the white gaze and it’s repercussions.

I am learning to be free.