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A fine day

Today has been nice, and certainly productive. I think starting the day with a blog might've got me into my own headspace a little too soon with the deeper thoughts and introspection etc. Normally I enjoy writing as a release to recall the day, and get out emotions and expressions.

The morning was a mix of tidying, recycling, working out where to put the printer and framing. The setup of the printer was textbook, and I'll get it moved across to it's new home tomorrow I reckon. As tonight I want to get my nice paper into the printer and trial run some prints of my work. Thinking about it, perhaps it'd be worth dropping by the supermarché to pick up some cheaper gloss photo paper in order to not use up the good stuff too eagerly. As I know learning print technique, profiles and papers will take some time.

Even when I have money, I sometimes feel like I'm thinking like a poor person. Forlorn to see money going out, mind you - with a startup business, that'll happen. Buying stock - frames, paper, card, packaging etc. Truth be told it doesn't feel great knowing this'll end up being another company that's adding to the industrial society we live in. Paper, ink, card, wood and perspex. These are all commodities and materials I'd be needing, and it's processes which aren't good for mother nature.

Things felt simpler when I just drew - before anyone ever mentioned prints. That was the era when it felt rather carefree - drawing simply for a love of drawing, and where my imagination was taking me. Whilst the first valuation of my work at the local gallery had me feeling euphoric and hyperactive - I was still stuck in an uninspired and dead end office job. Life stayed that way for a long time. Still, I'm here now.

Money never felt like a true problem until I began to earn a salary. Before then, whilst I was impulsive with my money - it tended to bring me more joy. Although saving up was a challenge for me, unlike my brother who was adept at saving up, and then buying something nice every now and then. There was me getting my £3 a week pocket money and rushing to the shop to spend it all on sweets or a magazine or some such. As I grew older, spending money started to make me feel more guilt and negative feelings. Reigning in spending and collecting non-essential clutter was a big step with my mental health journey. Wreckless spending is a short thrill, and the follow up isn't as pleasant. We don't need so much of what we own. Buying for the sake of distraction or the dopamine hit of simply shopping for pleasure.

I just recalled when I was very young I had wrestler stickers on the old pine headboard of my bed. For some reason I had 2 single beds in my bedroom. That always perplexed me. Now that I think about it, I'm sure I've queried that with my parents. It wasn't like they were wanting or expecting a 3rd child. I think it was simply in case of guests as I had the largest bedroom in the house. Anyway - I collected wrestler stickers, even though I never saw wrestling until I was a teenger, and then thought to myself "what is this nonsense?" It oozed script and fakery, yet I shared that opinion before with wrestling fans. Phew, they weren't best pleased. Perhaps I didn't use enough tact. I just stated my confusion that it looked theatrical. I was often corrected that there's a lot of technique and skill involved. Of course, that's undeniable. But there's also a lot of steroids, bad acting and very revealing clothing. Back to the stickers AAAAAAA. It was chewing gum, but I was young, didn't know and kept buying them and eating them. Wasn't until years later that I saw similar bubblegum with a sticker inside, and it suddenly dawned on me that for a prolonged period I was chowing down on gum without a care in the world. Mmmm fruity booty.

So, after I got the framing done for Jared I sent him a message and we agreed to meet early evening at his place in Cambridge. Before then, I went to Guy's house and gave him a lift to the pharmacist and then we went back to his for a chat. He was pleased to hear that me and Meg decided to make a go of things. It was nice to see that Guy was happy for us. I recall us agreeing that if you're happy in yourself, then you're good company for other people. It's very true though. When I'm feeling really good in myself - I notice that energy draws people in. Guy agreed that getting dressed up nice, and drawing in busy places in Cambridge is going to get me a lot of attention, and networking opportunities. Appreciating the artwork is one thing, but that's me on those pieces of paper. That's me in that ink, and within each one of those crazy critters and creations. Know me, and know my work. I want to connect with others beyond what they see on the page. So, we shall see. Guy is calling me the BFG (big friendly giant) and I find it quite endearing. It made Meg very happy to hear as well. I guess BFG is quite an apt description. Tall and friendly.

Bodacious Fawning Godzilla
Bumbling Feral Gyroscope
Because Freddie's Gone
Bethlehem's Finest Goat
Brian's Found Gout
Blessed French Gentleman

I do enjoy spontaneous word games and wordplay. Jared was quite impressed that it was something I've explored in my pictures, to add a new level to it all.

Back to being happy in yourself and being good company for others. Going withdrawn or into yourself is something that I'm no stranger to. Yet there is a true relief in being able to talk to Meg. Of course, bareing all brings people closer together, although she made a valid point that emotional stuff is very tiring. Throughout my time in the woods with her I felt lovely, and had many euphoric and heartfelt moments, but boy was I tired when I got home. I was probably running on a high and then when I was back to familiarity - that cosiness just made me sleepy.

I'm gradually opening up more to Meg with my playful side as well. With certain friends, and in past relationships I often played the joker at times. Much like being helpful, I find humour lifts spirits. Yet it's not something you can to adopt too much. Balance is key - as with most things in life. To constantly play the fool isn't a fulfilling experience. Much like Tony Soprano said:

"I find I have to be the sad clown: laughing on the outside, crying on the inside."

It's quite interesting how mental health struggles and humour are linked. Mind you - much like art, acting and music: it's another creative expression. The darker side to that imagination is where the depression and anxiety often lurks. We can just as easily create as we can destroy. The inner critic can be very self-destructive and tumultuous at times.

I have been taking a step back with these negative spirals when they occur. Because I know to continue down that road has you sinking lower and lower. Why allow the drain to continue? I guess because at times it naturally cascades. One thought into the next, and down you go. Noticing seemed like such a simple, if rather frustratingly obvious method to de-escalating. But it does help. You see the negative thoughts, and you notice what it's doing to you. Then you take a moment to step back - reflect, but also look to the world around you. What's running in the mind and the mind's eye often detracts from reality when you are feeling blue.

Catastrophic thinking is often rapid escalation - trauma or anxiety. It's quite lively when it occurs because I notice once the fight or flight chemicals are going. Almost like someone has turned on a tap - there's a feeling inside that something is flowing, and it can start to make me feel uneasy. The sensing of danger sets in.

Why am I talking about this? I think I was spiralling as I typed then. Truth be told, today has been really nice. A productive morning and early afternoon - framing, recycling, setting up the printer and organising my room some more. I still need to ponder some ingenius storage solutions to make me feel more at ease once I've got all this framing completed. 3 done today, and 4 had been done previously. Although this was reframing 3 originals again, one I had to do twice. Then framing one of my A4 prints. Boring, but eh - it's a record of what's been done thus far.

I got to Jared's and pretty soon he had guests over. A smoke in a crowded room can make me feel a little unease. Although I rode the wave considerably better than many occassions. However, the tone when the first guy showed up did change, as they worked together - and much like many people I know, even in their free time: they were still at work. Setting the world to rights and complaining about X, Y & Z.

Similar stories - incompetent and bitchy managers, things that needed to change but didn't. Lack of funding etc. Honestly, it's a tale as old as time. Not to say that I don't listen and take an interest - but after an hour? That's too much, no thank you. Plus it's quite a heavy mood that it evokes, especially when they're fired up and passionate about their complaints. I could relate to a degree, with past experiences of my own and others. Yet I was finding it particularly challenging as I don't know them all that well, and the times I tried to join in the conversations, I got talked over. 3 times and in the end I picked a moment towards the end to recap my thoughts, and it had them nodding in agreement. Sometimes trying to talk in a conversation feels like crossing a busy road.

Not to disregard people discussing work - because we spent the lion's share of our adult lives at work. It's just that the die is cast for so many - they just don't like where they work. It's unsatisfying and usually stressful and not well paid enough. 18 years of that - I know only too well how it feels, and it's exhausting. As was the atmosphere it was creating.

Still, Jared loved the pictures. His face lit up, his language was so animated and passionate. He was the happiest person I've seen who has bought my artwork. It was magical to see, and I told him that it had made me so happy to see that he loved the pictures. He also said that he'd share info about my website too. So this will help drive a bit more traffic.

Networking is what it's all about. I've got the look that draws attention, and I want to develop confidence and charisma further. Not that I think I'm not enough - or perhaps that is exactly how I feel. At times I feel capable, confident and enough. Other times the inner critic is like a ballast on a hot air balloon. Angry, spiteful sandbag. Be gone.

Got home and feel quite exhausted now. Again - decanting some grey matter out my noggin' and onto a blog has left me a little worn out. I had just pondered if I should contact Guy to see if he's about, as he's visiting his ex and daughter. But he's then out drinking - and I'll be honest, he does enjoy a few. He has a lot of confidence and likes to talk. But when paired with alcohol I can feel a little uneasy in his presence at times.

Today I heard a fair bit of talking, and it wasn't as recipricole as I'd have liked. Not to say I didn't have moments where I spoke, discussed and shared - it's just that often I feel like a bit of an observer. That's ok though - but it can also feel quite draining to circumspectat conversations, and also being in a smokey room with 4 people for 90 minutes or so was making me feel mixed feelings.

Listen to your gut. Again - this benchmark is "calm". Because calm is good, and tranquil. The fact I can sense when my body is gearing into fight/flight mode is noteworthy. Yes, I can ride the wave and "get through" certain situations etc. But I need to be true to myself as well.

It'll improve I'm sure. Fairs and drawing in public places will introduce me to no end of people. Networking and being social. My therapist said that perhaps I'm not as antisocial as I sometimes assume I am. That perhaps this too has been a trauma response. The fact I know and am willing to confront the social drain and unease with a belief it will improve - that says it all really.

Growth is key. Defeatism and negativity are valid. You can't just try and replace them with forced positivity. Noticing and accepting them is a good step. Distraction or pretending to be ok isn't really healthy. It might defuse the situation, and yet it's not healthy behaviour to become repetitive. When you look beyond the negative mindset and the defeatism - you can start to unravel core beliefs, and give voice to these feelings. They're powerful, and they are noteworthy. It's just that you shouldn't add to them - allow them to be, give them a voice or representation. Be true to yourself in that respect, but don't then create more and more negativity to pile ontop of it. That's not constructive - it's the exact opposite.

Destruction Level 100

I guess you could say there's method to the madness. We navigate through life and rarely is it ever smooth sailing. Yet the weather and waves are just as much a part of us as the symbolic boat that we use to venture through life in.

It's been a pleasant day all in all. Now it's time to relax with music. Close my eyes, continue to sway and drift into thought and narrative.

Swaying is something I haven't done in front of Meg either. Perhaps when stood still and talking - but I have pondered what my therapist said with regards to my swaying/stimming potentially being a traum self-soothing technique as opposed to an "on the spectrum" one. Truth be told, swaying helps me calm down, and being around Meg makes me feel calm. Stimming is self-soothing, therefore - there isn't the desire to sway when I'm around Meg. It's quite lovely really. Ahh, Meg says lovely a lot, and it is lovely. I notice she says sorry a lot too - which is something I have a habit of doing a lot. Mind you, seeing her do it has inadvertently made me do it less I think. In fact, I have announced an upcoming "sorry" as unecessary which felt quite amusing and noteworthy to my mind. Truth be told though, I find her saying sorry to be rather endearing - because I can relate to it. But I also find it quite adorable. It's revealing because I feel accepting of what she feels she might have to apologise for. There's no need to my mind, for an apology - and yet she does so. Ahh, she really is a magical soul. It's like I'm finally getting certain things in life now. There's a connection here that has me realising and feeling new things. Not exactly unknown moments, moods and feelings - it's just that a lot of this feels novel, fresh and new. Hard to really put into words I think. We just get each other - and it feels marvelous. Also, we can be weird (aka our normal) around one another :)

It's nice that Meg has knowledge of the spectrum, and her mum is on a similar journey of self discovery and awaiting a diagnosis assessment. But, as someone told me on this forum when I got my ADHD assessment back with 100% mark - when you know you know.

We're different - and that's a good thing. It doesn't make life any simpler, but it does make it more intriguing and beautiful in other ways. Peaks and troughs - oh, for sure. But we'll get there in the end. Belief is what we need. Envision what we want, and keep that goal in mind. Relax more, as we often try too hard to maintain, or to weather storms.

Calm is the benchmark. Let's keep it going eh? Stuff that gets us riled up - let that stuff go. Say we'll worry about it another day. Be present, and in the moment. That way you'll probably have a much nicer time of it.

I told my mum how pleased Jared was and she was thrilled to hear it. Ahh, his happiness really left a mark on me. Random - but I messaged a friend of mine to see if he wanted the 30 odd condoms I got left, as I'm going back to Durex: a brand where I know I had no irritation issues. He said seeing the message telling him to treat himself to a posh w**k or 30 had him in hysterics. Ahh - humour and happiness. Yes please.

Oh, and another friend I know through gaming has asked me to do a commission piece for him. Something a little differen than what I'm normally used to - but we shall see how this venture goes.

When I was at Guy's house I got all the measurements for the pieces he wants me to frame for him. Won't do any mark up on materials etc. but he was happy for me to charge for my time and consumables etc. when I frame the work. Whilst completing them all might be spread across various pension paydays from Guy - it should net me another £100 or so. He also showed me a friend who owns a company that make offroad, collapsible trolleys which would be perfect for when I do outdoor events and fairs. Rugged and with enough ground clearance to push or pull across fields. I had said to him a few months back that I felt a trolley would be an ideal way to go to and from events, and lo and behold - he knows someone who makes them.

I really loved how I had to unscrew individual bottles of ink, and then let them drain into the printer. Of course, there was some apprehension that it might leak. But I was prudent, patient and got the job done. Lovely jubberly.

Any-ways. I think I'm about done with this waffle. Going to ride this tiredness and see where it drops me off. Meg and her dad ventured to Cumbria early afternoon. Got a feeling it might be a bit quiet on the message side of things, as I know "me time" is what's needed for both of us. Recharge and reflect. Plus I can tell she's close with her family, and she's visiting her dad to go away fishing for the weekend. Our own space and time - it's good. And absence makes the heart grow fonder. Milkybars make the arteries grow furrier. Thankfully I've been able to open up and form a closer bond with my parents since moving back home from living in March. Dad told me quite emotionally early on that "it was like we have our son back." Which was a lovely way of phrasing it.

One final thing - the day me and Meg first opened up about our feelings for one another, we were sat on the swinging seat in the garden. A couple of times as we sat there, I looked over to my dad, and I saw him looking at us and smiling. Ahh, reflecting on it now is making me a little tearful. It was lovely to see, but not only that - it's a stark contrast to when I first asked if I could invite Kristy to stay over, having spoken to her online for a number of weeks. Whilst I initially approached my mum about it, she told me to check with dad, and I knew he was in the pub. This was back when he was able to drink - as he's on even more medication in his later years, and can't really stomach alcohol anymore.

I was quite scared by my dad when he drank, as sometimes he could be quite caustic in what he said. When I asked him if Kristy could come over, he told me that "it's not like any of your relationships have ever gone anywhere." Still, that's in the past. It was a sobering statement to make, and yet I don't resent him for it. Letting go. Ah yes - release the ballast so that we can be on our merry way.

Speaking of - time for music



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