I haven’t checked in for a while, for a number of reasons, but what I really want to focus on, is what happens when your passions are interrupted.
A lot of people who read my posts and see my work are in a working environment where they access their artistic sides on the regular. However, we can all have a period of interruption. It could be that the muse goes for a wander and days tun into weeks, it could be that admin takes precedence because of the financial end of year, or familial commitments could blindside you mid flow.
I've had an extended period of interruption over the past few weeks. At first I was interrupted full time because I was needed - there was a family issue and my presence was required. That stopped me from working right at the peak of my flow. I was in the middle of rebuilding and rebranding my website - a major task that has been needing serious input for a while - and right at a pivotal moment I was catapulted off course.
The need for me to step in and help with my family is fine, but what happened is a major bout of creativity:interrupted. The thing about the way I am is that in stressful situations, situations where I am needed to really be present, engaged, responsible and the best of myself, can be quite draining.
As a person diagnosed with anxiety and a serious issue with needing to be good enough, it can mean that in situations like the one I have experienced, I beome drained. Giving so much attention to the present moment is fine - but when you have the anxiety gremlins chattering in your head about whether you are saying and doing the right thing - in every moment is a lot. Did you pay enough for car parking, did you lock your car, where is X, should I say this, do I need to do that. Do I sound snippy, am I being positive enough? Am I being too positive? Should I shut up? I am definitely talking too much - no wait I am not talking enough.
It is a nasty loop to be in - and whilst the gremlins are doing their rollercoaster like loop and having a whale of a time, I am draining energy like a culinder full of pasta.
So once the event is over or whilst there is a lull in activity and I actually slow down and come to a stop- the exhaustion catches up with me - plus I usually still have the gremlins going on.
In my recent encounter with this wonderful interuption, I was drained more than usual. A combination of heightened emotions, nerves, worry, gremlins, physical exhaustion and a knowing in the back of my head that what was going to go on, would continue for a while. How long? Undetermined. And oh boy if I am not good with anything, uncertainty is the thing I am least able to cope with.
So once things had calmed I was done in. This being exhasuted led to me trying desperately to regain energy - but I was only grasping enough to help out with my family situation. I wasnt eating right - never going to help when you want to have energy! I wasnt drinking enough water, getting enough sleep and most importantly I wasnt working.
You may think it is odd to say that my not working is most important - a lot of people would take time off work for famly issues, illness etc and not working during that time would be a relief. Here's the thing though - thats not how it works for me.
When I dont paint and I am not creating - creativity being the working out how to code the secion of my website to look the way I want, or creativity being throwing paint at a canvas - I am not connected to myself. I am not being my best self and I am not fulfilling my life's purpose. I am here to communicate how I feel and what I know to be true, through my art, but if I am not doing that, I am not myself.
For me, my work, my passion, my creativity fuels me. I can spend a full day painting and be physcially exhausted but my brian will light up. When I am not creating, I am drab, down, uninspired and tired. I am a shell of my former self.
All I have needed for weeks was to carve out the time that I needed for myself in my studio to work. Work around paperwork, around errand running, around domestic chores, around appointments and social engagements and just to goddamn work.
Now whilst I wasnt working, I had no clue of any of this - its only come to me in the days since I have really managed to get back to my routine and fire the engines back up, that what I have been missing all this time is my work.
So I am back. Determined that I carve out my time for my work - and essentially for myself because my work and I are the same entity - and everything else works around it - make it work. Even if its incovenient. Even if I am sat at 9pm on a Friday night writing blog posts and catching up with my Patreon's rather than having a glass of gin in hand. Although I am sure a Patreon post fuelled by gin would be compelling, I am not sure thats what any of us need!
I suppose my thought here is that when you are interrupted, you have to find a way back - quickly and simply - even in the smallest way. Stay attached to what grounds you, keeps you sane and makes you happy, because when you do, everything else is so much easier to handle.