We're coming to the end of January now - thank goodness! January is definitely not my favourite month of the year - all the lovely festivities are over, there's still a few months of awful weather left, things are dark, and (at least over here in the UK) TAX. Yuck! Thankfully, I've almost (honestly!) submitted my tax which is a huge weight off my mind. It's one of the very few times that I wish for a salaried, contracted job where I just wouldn't have to think about sorting out the tax side of things myself. But those wishes don't last long, it must be said. Self-employment suits me 43628954563 times better than a salaried job, at least at this point in my life.
|This is turning into a fairly wordy and reflective post, so I'm going to intersperse it with pictures, so you don't lose the will to live from All The Words TOO much! Feel free to just scan through the pictures if that's more your thing. Links to all the jewellery are beneath each image. |
January 2016 has also been made more unenjoyable than usual by my having flu for the first 2 weeks, and one or two other long-term health/body issues happening behind the scenes (we're trying to have a baby, but essentially, we are not even getting to the starting blocks right now due to my silly body). These things that I thought my body was being more co-operative with, it's decided it really doesn't want to co-operate with at the moment, thank you very much. Hoping that next month, things will settle a little. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I'm trying not to be too down-hearted about it all (it's been an ongoing issue for around 2 years now), but I can't help but feel a little flattened by this month's setback. Flattened really is the word too - like a compressed vessel, struggling to pop up into shape and structure and purpose again.
And really, it seems like a comparatively minor issue - but who likes short days and long nights? I miss the light. I miss the sun. I won't go as far to say that I miss the warmth (I do live in Edinburgh, after all!) but I am longing for a little more daylight. Soon; soon.
Onwards and upwards for sure, but I think it's important to recognise these upsets and setbacks before we try and move on, not to simply repress our feelings and pretend everything is 'alright'. Otherwise they pile up until you simply can't shut that lid anymore, not even if you sit firmly upon the case! I'm trying to count my blessings however, and more importantly (to me), seek solace through making. Through colour, through form - through other people's art and creating something new from that. I love these 'silent collaborations', as I like to think of them. We're working on improving my 'make space' in our flat - my Curious Bead Shop set up is generally good, but my Songbead space leaves something to be desired. And it's time that was fixed! Charity furniture shops (Big Love to these wonderful establishments) and Ikea (not quite so fun or potentially beautiful, but often, just what is needed), here we come!
Of course, in my solace-seeking making, I have been turning to hearts. I used to be a little turned off at the idea of using these within my work, but I've found over the past year or two, more and more hearts have popped up in my jewellery. Am I softening in my 'old' age (ok, at 34 I know I'm not what a lot of people would class as 'old' - but gosh, you don't half change a lot from your 20s to your 30s!)? Maybe - but I think it's also that I'm more confident that they won't 'cheese up' my jewellery, which used to be a worry for me. If that makes sense! I do look out for quirky, artist-made heart focals, perhaps in non-traditional 'love-heart colours' - but even so. If I look through the past year or so of jewellery, there are definitely more and more hearts popping up. (I won't say that it might be because I am incredibly fortunate to have an amazing wife with whom I share a very stable, loving and happy relationship, because that make you and me both feel a little nauseated. I'll spare us all that!)
|On My Soul|
January has also contained a few highlights, it has to be said. I'm not sure I'm ready to create a gratitude jar (too much potential for guilt over forgetting to use it, I reckon), although it is a really lovely idea. But I have been struck by something that a good friend (and astonishing bead artist) Julie Wong Sontag shared a wee while ago - Brene Brown's TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability (YouTube link!). I'm paraphrasing here, but one thing that Brene mentions is 'practicing happiness and gratitude'. Yes, that DOES sound like a platitude - but somehow, the idea that happiness doesn't just fall into our laps - that it's ok to have to work at it - really stuck with me, and it was something that Helen and I talked about, and that I have continued to ruminate on. Yes, sometimes you can really try to think positively and look on the bright side (as I mentioned earlier) and it is just too hard, and not something that feels or is indeed possible (I'm sure we've all been there - I know I have) - but the idea of seeking out small joys and moments of thankfulness when I can really struck me. So I am trying to remember those small moments - those morsels of happiness; those chinks of kindness and laughter - when I'm feeling blue. Balancing out. This month, I've reconnected with two old friends - people that I had drifted from over the past few years - and that felt good. It felt like an active choice on my part, rather than simply being passive to time and life's sometime erosion of certain relationships. I'm very good at being passive to life - it feels good to get up and meet it face to face.
So, you've made it to the end of this post, almost! It may have felt like a slightly dreary one, but it wasn't meant to be, I promise. I guess I'm just saying, January has been tricky, but I've kept on going, and there have been a few treasured moments there, and I'm doing my best to make note of them. And that I am pressing on with my heart-centred creations as a central part of this. Whether you gift yourself something for Valentine's Day - it's never wrong to celebrate yourself, in my opinion - your partner - or if you simply ignore it, and the hustle and bustle of commercialism that it can bring! - then I hope you'll like my current offerings. I'm still keeping up with my resolution to try and pop new items into my etsy shop every few days, so do stop by to see what's new.
January, I can't say I'm sorry that you'll be leaving us soon, but I'll be taking a few joys with me and hopefully leaving the negatives behind with you. Time to savour this last week and find more small joys to be thankful for.