Friday, January 18, 2008

The Comfort of Strangers

I am feeling extremely tired but am forcing myself to write an entry tonight - even if it ends up being about nothing. I am struggling to get back into my writing or anything creative at the moment, although I think today may have been a turning point. Something has been brewing in my creative sector that has been put on hold for far too long now. The desire has never faded; it’s the motivation that I have lacked. Three complete strangers helped me find it again today.

I was at the gym this morning - something that I am doing to help myself both physically and mentally, and something that seems to be working and helping me manage my emotional self. Having been prone to bouts of depression since my early teens, I have always needed a vice to help me deal with my own emotional state. Some vices have been good, others more detrimental, but regardless, I have always relied on something, and occasionally, mistake or not, someone.

Since entering my 30's I have always tried to make that someone ME, however there have been times I have failed myself.

Clinical depression has affected most members of my direct family and we have all coped in different ways. A couple of years ago I was seeing a fantastic, and far from conventional, psychologist who helped me to realise that despite being diagnosed on more than one occasion with clinical depression and taking numerous amounts of medication at different points in my life, a lot of mine was reactional. Once I accepted this I felt quite empowered and after many emotional battles with myself I worked out ways to help myself. My tiredness and physical exhaustion has not helped my emotional state lately. My partner is going through some rather trying times at the moment and like most people, I seem to have taken on board the stress, and its effects, of the one I love and am closet to. It's a hard thing to take a step back sometimes, even when a step back is probably the right or best thing to do. Often during times like this, one can put so much time and energy into another’s, or everybody else’s, life and dilemmas that one forgets to save anything for oneself. I have done this recently and chosen to acknowledge it only now. It has all been with good intention but it probably needs to stop about now. My partner and I both agree that I have neglected myself and the thing that is most important to me - my art.

By giving back to ME I will actually be benefiting more people than just myself. I will be able to stand at the top of the well and throw down a rope rather than climb on in and join the one down there.

Getting back to the gym and the three women that pulled me out of my well today. Lack of sleep, being overworked, an irregular diet and unnecessary emotional stress took its toll on me today whilst in a cycle class. The class had only just started and I could not find a rapport with my bike or get comfortable - possibly one of the most insignificant things, yet it was enough to make me crack. I left the class and went to the change room and burst into tears. (Whether it is a good thing or not, and whether people understand it or not, I often use crying as a form of release rather than bottling things up or carrying them around.) I was so involved in my own situation that I didn't even think about anyone else being aware of me - in a public change room! Suddenly I felt a hand on my left shoulder..then a hand on my right. An older and calm voice asked if I was alright. I looked up to see two middle-aged ladies with a look of understanding more so than concern. A third and older lady approached shortly after. The three of them didn't seem know each other well, nor did they know me from a bar of soap but at the risk of sounding like a feminist - something wonderful happened in that room and reminded me of the benefits of relationships and communication between a woman and other women - whether they be brief or intense, whether they are a one off or a lifetime association. With no disrespect to men, as most of my closest friends are male, there are just some things that only a woman can understand about another woman. Perhaps the same could be said about men. We are genetically different after all.

Without knowing anything about me, or even why I was crying, they managed to say the right things - even when I wasn't wanting anything to be said. Within minutes the four of us were laughing in unison. One even embraced me. I enjoyed the moment and returned to the gym feeling more motivated than I had in a long time. Thank you ladies.

I left the gym with my motivation and it has followed me around all day. I decided to keep it and brought it home with me tonight. Whilst sitting on the couch with it I came up with an idea for my next body of work.

Perhaps today has been more productive than I had thought.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Simone, it sounds as though you really do know what you need...time and the comfort of those who understand! I, too, have found women to be very nurturing just when I need them to be. Like you, I also use tears as a release...it is a great feeling to finally get them out. It is like some people use ranting as a release and we use tears. Hang in there, I think you are on to something as far as being close to the end of this bout.

I like your blog and will be returning to catch up on how you are doing and what is going on in your art world.

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