Mar. 29th, 2014

redback_bites23: rainbow blanket (Default)
We all create our own realities to live in, how aware of this we are, as individuals is questionable. A few things have got me thinking about this over the last little while. The big prompter came from my friend, Flossie, who made a comment about the world she had constructed to live in.

We’re all shaped by our personal experiences from the time we are born. Our personalities and personal resilience can help determine the paths we choose to walk. Some people have more things that can chip away at their resilience than others.

Resilience is something that I have watched and had an interest in, in others for a long time. I have worked with many groups of people whose lives have been filled with challenges, the majority of people can barely imagine. Massive challenges that can impact on the person’s health and well-being. All people are different, some people have a strong resilience and are able to move forth and live happy, full, healthy lives. Others not so much so.

Any person has multiple narratives going on in their lives, but which moments they choose to grab onto for themselves will determine how they see the world, how they move in the world and how others see them. What points they grab onto effects their resilience and their overall story.

A few years ago, I had a moment in time, which I remember very clearly. I was driving along, on a work day, going from one meeting to another. I remember thinking, ‘Everything is fucked, what is the point, there is no hope for the future’. I had been working for a long time in various jobs that involved advocating for and teaching Canberra’s most vulnerable people. I know now, that that was a key point in time, in the decline of my mental health. I had heard too many awful stories about other people; I had supported various other people close to me with their serious mental health issues; I had struggled financially over the years, and had enormous stress that came with that; I had ‘come out’ as being a lesbian…..and many other things. At that time I worked in a job where I had to have a big picture understanding of; our health care system, including hospitals, mental health, aged care; what was happening for people with disabilities; what was happening inside our prisons and what was happening for people with drug and alcohol issues. Everything seemed in decline and hopeless, money was being taken away from various services, which meant life was going to become more and more of a struggle for a lot of people.
Everything just suddenly became too much. I was already shutting some things out. I ended up leaving that job, for several reasons, but maybe also partly because I didn’t want to carry all that information. For a few years now I have not watched the news, read any kind of news articles or watched television. My resilience had completely worn away and I ended up sick.

Sometimes I feel naïve because I don’t know what’s going on in the world, but I can’t deal with it. It’s overwhelming. There is so much information flying around and the quality of that information is highly questionable. News items are often people’s opinions rather than anything valid or real, but it gets presented in a way that many people believe it. People are often not critical enough with the information they take in.

Now I am getting better and have more resilience I still live in a reality I have constructed for myself. As I said earlier, everyone does this, but now I know that if I let too much of certain things in, I will become unbalanced and unwell. In constructing my reality I don’ always ‘dream’ the way ‘we’ are often told to. I have wanted a house of my own for about 25 years, I am no closer to his now than I was back then. I have wanted to travel, and see more of the world, but I don’t know if this will happen now. I have mourned not having children, and dealt with that. I have not amounted to ‘being anyone of note’ with my art practise. A contributor to some of these things being I have been a low income earner for many years. My current situation sees me as not being able to work full time, having to take a step back to ‘easier’ less demanding (in some ways) work because of my health.

Unfortunately so many things revolve around money, I don’t look at what I can’t have. I don’t go in shops where I know I can’t afford things. I don’t look at travel to places I can’t visit. In short if I know something is beyond me financially I don’t go there, and never have.

My constructed world now consists of trying to successfully maintain two significant relationships. Getting great enjoyment out of the home I live in, with one of my partners and my three pets. Spending time with my parents and assisting them with life as they age. Having a job, for now, that I can feel useful in, without having any high flying aspirations. Making art in various forms and doing all my travelling and dreaming through those processes. Enjoyment in life needs to be found in the simple things. Eating good food, the rain outside, patting my pets, my partners’ laugh. This is my reality. To really live in the now, with these simple things. It's not to say I won't have other things, or dreams I have 'wanted'. Everything else is too big, and scary, and precarious.


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June 2014

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