I was brought up to believe that the colour green was unlucky. Where could such nonsense come from when Mother Earth is partly green?
The belief, for a while, kept me in my place. Kept me is a limited space almost scared of the colour green.
I believe this superstition stopped me enjoying a closer relationship with nature, from a young age. There was a fear. But also a desire not to disappoint my family further by embracing the colour.
I’m not sure when I started to think for myself and embrace the green. But I know I haven’t looked back.
I’m loving the green.
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.
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.”
Sometimes lined paper and a pen are enough for the words to flow.
This past week has been way too busy for my liking. But it was to my liking in a way as I found it stimulating and so much food for thought.
What I need now is rest though in order to process it all and at some point it did get to stimulation overload.
My creative pot over flows and I need to channel this into something. Something I produce in order to process this last week somehow. as well as how it sits with my overall practice and how I show up in the world.
Showing up at the page each day has helped; mining my thoughts and feeling and reactions onto these pages has been a support.
I just need some more space and rest now to integrate it all. Yes that’s what I’m seeking integration.
And again this is where my visual journal steps up/ in/ through me to support this journey of becoming.
This page says it all.
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.
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.
Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep. Story of my life at the moment.
Could be the change. Could be tummy pains. Could be anxiety. Who knows.
I just know sleep will not come. So instead of mindlessly scrolling I got the journal out again and explored the thoughts and feelings that were at the forefront of my mind.
To go to Paris again in June or not? I fell in LOVE in Paris when I booked a few days there in August 2009 to complete the PhD.
I needed to get away and just focus on the manuscript and be done with it. And Paris was the ideal place to go as it was quick and easy and cheap to get to but it would have plenty of sights and sound and tastes so feed my soul as I dredged it all of everything goes in order to complete the PhD.
It was such a magical time where I would walk most of them day, stop for food and drink and work on the manuscript and then walk some more. Photos galore. And then I would run during the evening through the streets enjoying the fading light and voices and sights of families coming out to socialise.
It also holds a dear place in my heart as I was pregnant with Miss Ella during this trip and didn’t even know. She was definitely a gift.
So I’ve been itching to travel again and go back to Paris now as I’m much older and wiser and have more of a sense of self to really appreciate all this beautiful city has to offer my thirsty soul.
But as my late night/early morning muses explored, I can’t justify the expense of going at the moment, well June, as money is tight after a few weeks of little work due to sickness and tiredness and lack of forward planning on my behalf.
So I’ll continue to dream of Paris hopefully be able to share my plans to re-visit this magical place somewhere in the near future.
Until then I’ll dream about it with my eyes open. As there’s no sleep coming my way.
Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep!