It's my birthday darlings!
Maybe it's because I was pregnant.
Maybe because I relied too heavily of family/friends to organise things for me.
Maybe because I've grown distant to a lot of old friends and I'm still getting to know new friends.
I don't know.
Either way, last year, my birthday sucked. But rather then waste another year being miserable I decided that I would never have a bad birthday again and I would NEVER depend on other people to care about it either.
I like me.
I'm glad i've survived another year.
So I'm going to clap for my own damn self.
More birthday doughnuts for me.
So June is all about self-love, self approval and unashamedly celebrating myself. Because that's incredibly important and also incredibly difficult to do. I always think of Dr. Masaru Emoto's rice experiment when I think about talking positively about yourself. If I remember this correctly, Emoto filled two air tight jars with cooked rice and then over the course of a week would say nice things to one jar of rice and say horrible things to the other. The jar that had nice things said to it remained relatively unchanged after a week, yet the other jar turned black and mouldy. The experiment is to show that human thought can change things on a molecular level. If you're positive towards something it flourishes and survives. If you're nasty to something it can destroy it.
I actually did the experiment myself a few years ago and had some surprising results. My daughters got hold of the jars when my back was turned and started playing with them, shaking them violently like maracas. The contents of the ‘bad’ jar literally fell apart and turned to liquid mush. The contents of the ‘good’ jar stuck together and formed a perfect little ball. Who knows the science behind it. I’m a cynic, but the memory lurks in the back of my mind every time I consider whether I'm being abusive or supportive towards myself.
Is it worth the risk?
'Mirror mirror on the wall, Who's the sexiest of them all? Never mind I am' Vanity ~ Christina Aguilera
Organise my birthday
For June I have dedicated the whole month to indulging myself and giving myself a brilliant birthday. I've got birthday drinks planned and a picnic the following day. That's enough for me. No massive parties or trips away. I did consider booking myself in for a spa day alone but I couldn't find a place that looked nice enough. I actually want to spend time with people, not always be on my own.
Be my own champion. Self approval
This task aligns with how I've been feeling about being an online artist and the battle of wanting and actually needing attention for my work but at the same time recognising that it's more important I like me and what I'm making. I think you can imagine the inner conflict many creatives have from sharing their work online and not getting ANY feedback on it? It can be incredibly isolating and upsetting and you do need to be careful that you don't start chasing likes and making work that you think will please others. I've done it. We all do it. But ultimately it bites you in the bum because you end up making more and more work you don't even really like. In the end its YOUR approval that matters the most. So this is something I'll be thinking about a lot this month and probably supports why I've decided to move into illustration.
Take a compliment
A really powerful exercise if you're used to a lot of negative self talk is to start noting every compliment you receive so when you're down you can pull out examples of how you're not a bad/ugly/nasty person and that out there, someone, at some point, thought you were pretty awesome. After a few years of gathering this kind of feedback I've realised that I need to do more then just hear a compliment, I need to 'take it'. I need to feel it. So I'll be really listening to feedback and trying to get emotionally connected to it. When someone says 'I LOVE your writing style', I'm going to sit with that and imagine how I feel when I find someone who's writing style I love and then show myself... hey... someone thinks that about YOU, isn't that great? Also an extra step I'm going to take is to start giving out detailed compliments. Rather then say 'Love that', actually go into some detail about what exactly I love. I say this because I go through my social media accounts looking for feedback on my work sometimes and its very common that i'll see just love hearts or 'amazing!' and although that's wonderful, when I'm looking back at positive responses I'd like to have more detail and nuance to them... I want to have compliments with more power. That sounds very demanding, but hear me out... when someone gives bad feedback they usually put in quite a bit of effort to say how rubbish you are and because of that, it sticks in your mind. I want to do my bit and start putting more emphasis on celebrating the good. I can't expect that from people if I don't do it myself, so from now on, I am going to try and give full and thorough, detailed compliments.
Get to know myself
This one hasn't been going as well as I'd hoped. I bought this little daily prompt kit that's supposed to help you get to know yourself better and it started out okay but then the questions went all Freudian and it weirded me out a bit. It's 9am. Do I really need to ask how I feel about incest today? Like, REALLY? Anyway, I'll be picking through those to see if I can learn about myself. Some of the questions and prompts are quite enlightening.
I wasn't sure if I wanted this to be 'Invest in yourself' but then that sounded a lot like work. I rarely treat myself. Everything I get for myself is generally self improvement based. I'll buy myself new books, new art materials, a workshop, a subscription... something that'll make me a better person or will help me work better. I rarely just buy myself something as a treat. Something to have fun with. Something that says 'Lianne, you're perfect as you are'. So I've bought myself a few things... some new perfume that I love but nobody else likes. Some music. Some clothes. I've also treated other people to some lovely things too, because spreading the joy is what it's all about right?