Friday, January 25, 2013

IF - Myth

I've linked to Illustration Friday for the first time ever :D

I wish I could say I'm going to be doing this every week, or even regularly. As far as this week's topic of myth goes, having time to do everything I'd love to do - that's a total myth, too. I've been trying to climb the walls of constraint, but heck, they're slippery! I know I'm going to have to accept that bit of truth, right there, but I'm not ready. Not quite. In fact, these days, the limits time puts on what I can do is my biggest frustration! It's like living at home with parents again - kicking against a regime that won't budge! Darn ;)

There's a blog post in that, but not today. Time has put a spoke in that wheel & all. But it's okay - I'm here, and that's what counts! Besides, things have been a little on the heavy, soul-deep side here. And while there is nothing wrong with that, because I'm embracing the way I think about things, and this is the perfect space for hugging my warts in public - perhaps it's good to break it up with something light & fun ;) A reminder that whatever else I write about here, my life really is good, and I do have a fully grown funny bone! My kid is hilarious, and he so takes after me ;)

I bought this pair of heels spur of the moment. Cheered on by my four-year-old - he loves heels, and that's not because he regularly sees me in any ;) I'm 1m80cm tall. That's always been my excuse not to buy heels. I'm not sure why - but I guess that's what comes with being almost forty and finally finding comfort in this skin. Why not? I asked myself last Wednesday, in the face of hot sales prices (they were a bargain!) and a dancing kid.

It didn't take me long to figure out 'why not'. Haha, it will take me weeks of indoor practise before I'll be able to merely take them around the block. On my feet, that is ;) Talk about outside my comfort zone! But in a way, it's perfect. It's called for. And I will practise :D

I did this drawing for Koosje's ecourse Just Draw It! I'm having so much FUN!! I'm being dragged out of another comfort zone - pen and watercolours - to get into the basics of drawing, and it's awesome! I taught myself everything I know about drawing, so far. And by teaching I mean a process of trial and error on repeat. Which is great, of course. But it's really informative to be taught the basics. To go back to where I've never really been and see both what I already do know - just from getting my hands dirty for about three years now - and what could use (serious) practise. And I am practising - all the pockets of time I can find! Up to my wrists in graphite this week, and loving even the eraser rubbings - which is a stretch ;) Koosje is a lovely, patient, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, inspired and inspiring teacher. I'll share the next course dates on this blog, because I really think you'd love taking it. I'm just sorry we're not in class together now :)

One day, my son will bring home a girlfriend in heels. That's a given. All I can promise him until then, is that I'll work my butt off to be able to walk him to school in these one day. While I'm the woman in his life. And before he's too old to care ;)

What's taking you out of your comfort zone these days - and are you leaning in? :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013


So I’ve promised myself that I’m off looking for the truths of me. I want to find myself beyond what I believe I am. Not who I want to become when all the growing-up is done; not who I think I should be. Not who my mother would like me to be, and not necessarily anyone’s next best friend, either! I’m going to be spending time getting acquainted with myself – with the little girl inside, as well as the she-devil! I’ve embarked on a trip to learn to embrace myself, warts and all!

& it goes deep. It means I need to change my operating system – update my software to run on a new promise. I’ve always been working the idea that I was growing towards a better version of myself, but I just don’t believe that’s true anymore! I’ve always sort of held back from really looking for myself inside my life, because I thought I should wait till I’d be right-er, better, ready-er. But when will that be?

Never. That’s when. When the bottom-line is growth, you’ll never be fully grown. You can’t be, because when you are, the bottom falls out! At least that’s what I think by now. I’ve never quite put into words what I wanted to be at the end of all that becoming, because I’ve never felt equipped to know who I’d be when I’d finally find myself as something that I’m most certainly, quite seriously NOT, yet... Do you know where you’ll be when the growing is done? It’s a never-ending process of looking at lack, looking at not-quite, looking at room for improvement.
This whole new way of being – as opposed to becoming; learning – as opposed to perpetually ‘growing to measure up’; it’s a process, again. Of course! I’ve lived with the old words for so long, that there is no way I won’t slip up, fall back, get left behind, forget to bring my je ne sais quoi! And the beauty is – it doesn’t matter! It’s all me, it’s all you – it’s the being human in ‘human being’! I don’t have to berate myself, belittle myself because I think I might have missed an obvious signpost that’s supposed to point me towards my life. I’m not missing the point; there is no growth chart, no manual, no map to guide me on the Road to Me, because I’m already there! I’m the me inside this skin, beautiful, warts & all!

This is all new, and it feels good! It feels solid! It feels right to walk towards myself, showing up to meet me, instead of dreaming about who I might be when I’m finally finished! Yes it does! In moments, it does. In theory it does. When I’m chatting about it with myself, in my head? Awesome idea! But in reality, trying to live this? It doesn’t just feel awkward, it feels utterly alien! Who am I when I can’t curl up into a tiny ball, feeling like I’m always coming up short when things spin out of reach?

I’ve got a beautiful answer, here it is: “Well, I’m the little girl inside myself who can feel like she’s coming up short, and curl up into a tiny ball! But I’ll tell myself I’m not always coming up short. That feeling this doesn’t change who I am inside. That it’s okay to feel what I feel, as long as I don’t swallow it, become it, wear it like it’s mine. And that curling up into a tiny ball really feels comfortable, at times.”

But the truth is – in daily life, I’m back to baby-steps again, and it feels really, really weird to be kind to myself. I know that rock-solidly means I’ve been chewing myself to the bones of me for too long, but I have – for most of my life. And there is no quick fix.

In a way, the idea of perpetual growth, the not-quite-ness of it all? It’s a perfect excuse! Which is why it worked for so long – especially the past three years, when I rubbed it in more gently than I did before. That means I’ve been patronising myself, of course, but it feels – comfortable, looking back! Like a sweater worn soft by years of daily wear, never mind the gaping holes... When you’re not quite anything, quite yet, there is a lot of room to manoeuvre! Because you’re not all there yet, anyway, so it doesn’t matter all that much. But of course it did matter! & why wasn’t I ‘there’ yet?! There was a whole bloody castle worth of room to get really angry and endlessly frustrated at the whole process – so what, exactly, am I calling comfortable?! I mean, I’m not going to pretend that I’m here trying to embrace those dratted warts because I was bored ;) 

But this whole new thing? It’s just – really hard work. And I’ll admit that somewhere, deep down, I’d hoped that – because I already am that Me with Those Warts, it’d be sort of easy... That all I had to do was see and embrace and we’d be done with all this crap! Okay, it might need some tweaking, some fine-tuning – but essentially, it’d all fall into place, land softly, and I’d be on my merry way to where I was meant to go! No! Hold on! That should be where I already am, albeit unbeknownst ;)

Instead, of course, I find myself utterly lost and unable in so many ways – this woman I already am? Uncharted, alien territory, people! – and I can’t even tell myself “don’t worry, honey, you’ll grow into your skin, one fine day!” Can you see why that would help? Why that, to me & to how I’ve always done things, would be a sweet song (like a lullaby...) right about now?

Because the new answer is harsh! It could be something like “I know you’re lost, sweetie, but that’s a truthful part of you, right now. You need to lean in, see the bottom and embrace it.” And while that’s true, while I know that if I let myself be where I find myself, without fighting it tooth and nail – I’ll get back up much quicker, I might learn that it isn’t such a scary place to be, because the little girl inside does know how to swim – yes, while that really is the bottom of how I want to learn to see, I just don’t know how to talk to myself like that, be patient like that. I’m really trying, but to my untrained inner ear, it sounds more like “That’s the you inside the you, silly cow. Yup, that’s the pathetic extend of what you’re trying to be happy with! Lost? Again?! Sounds about right! Good luck with that!”

I want to hold myself accountable, this year. I want to chart this process & stick with it, because it really matters. It feels good to realise that I do know how to answer my own questions with love, even when at times I feel utterly unequipped to hear myself beyond the twisted, loveless version.

It’s more than a learning curve, it’s about mothering myself! It’s about learning how to listen to the wisdom inside. As told by the person who knows me best. To meet myself as a friend, instead of someone I need to grow away from. Because when put like that, isn’t that a crazy thing to strive for?! Leave yourself as far behind as you possibly can! That way... Uhm... Yes, well... Indeed!
“Stick with ME, sweet pea!” This mantra popped into my head the other day – just like that, walking back from taking the kid to school; out on my lonesome, minding the dog poo, not looking for wise, per se. But the words stuck with me, and they help me focus! I don’t know who Me is, exactly, and it might take a whole year to make a mere dent in all that, but wisdom is mundane at times, especially when it comes unbidden. Sometimes, all you can do is not wander off. Even if that – almost paradoxically – means meandering on a new path without a map. Sometimes, courage is nothing more than telling yourself to stick with you – because you’re worth it. & that’s not a small thing!

So stick with you! I’m sticking with me! I really believe, right now, that the courage to do that is the start of everything else!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I have made so many conscious attempts to be here more that I've lost count... And I have finally made a dent in - figuring out why it hasn't been happening. It's about fear. The fear of showing myself out loud and finding no one who cares. To meet shrugs. That's what's stopping me. This old, well-worn idea that being me and everything I bring is nothing to write home about. It's subconsious, and it's been sneaking up on me, but there it is...

Over the months, it's been harder to get here. I've been up to - much, in my head. I've been growing, soul-searching, drawing, changing some patterns, and thinking about all the above. I've been doing a whole lot of grieving, too. The hard stuff I wrote the monster post about; the way my life changed - as lives do - and the need to grab a hold of the stuff I say matters. Figure out what really does matter, and how I want to live it! What I want to show of it, what I want to be honest about, and when to basically stop babbling. And what to do when I do shut up! I've been everywhere, travelling long roads inwards - but I haven't been out, much.

I miss it. Being out. Meeting up with friends to talk and draw, to walk and talk, to hang out in coffee shops... Meeting friends online, reading blogs, hanging out in that virtual coffee shop, too. I feel like I've lost my voice, a little. Because I've been afraid to talk out loud. I've been hanging around with the wrong crowd and my inner critic a little too much for the past half year. I won't say that some things haven't changed for the better, I've had a couple of meaningful heart-to-hearts - but mainly with myself - inner dialogues & long monologues where the other side of me merely nodded and grunted in all the right places. I've spent some time slaying dragons, and trying to put my mother-issues to bed. I've dusted some shelves and figurines - broke a few, too. Shelves and figurines. But at some stage, enough really is enough, and you need to get out. Get it out & all. Get your courage on and be. Out loud, that is!

I've spent a lot of time thinking about blogging more. Thinking about re-invention and direction and change. But my blog is called Muddle On Through for a reason. That's me, that's who I am, that's what I do. I could pretend otherwise, but only for a while, and it would feel like a lie. I would love to be known for my wisdom - for how I grab life and don't let go, but if that's what you're looking for here, you have to read between the lines at times; find the truth where it resides for you. I suppose it's more likely that I'll be known as honest and human. Warts and a tendency to over-think. Shrugged about, perhaps, but the question is whether that matters, deeply. Whether it changes who I am. Because that old shoe fits, and I'm learning to be okay, to bend with the truths of me. I'm not as flexible as I'd like to be, that's a truth, too. But I'm working hard on not breaking quite as much anymore. And you'll find my purr-mode in working order when you least expect it!

I'm not challenging anyone but myself to stick around, of course. My blog was always going to be about who I am and what I make - whether that's sense, a mess, or art - so I'm pushing through this idea that I need to change course in order to blog. I'll stick with what I know & who I am. No more imagined apologies for posts never written because I'm worrying who will care.

I'm renewing my vows to document what makes me tick. To be like that if that's the mood that shows. Whatever the mood that shows. To show my warts, my art and my je ne sais quois. This is where I learn to bend, and where I'm breakable. This is where I take up all the space I need. Where I clash with the décor. Where I'll try to be all that I already am.

So I'm welcome here. That's my 2013 gift to myself :) And you are more than welcome here, too! With warts of your own - whether you're ready or willing to share or not. You're so welcome. It really is lovely to have you!

& here's a question for you:

If we all really are our own solid ground in this mayhem called life, what does yours look like? This is mine! For now ;)

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I've been busy, over the past months - figuring out what I love, what's important to me, and how I want to find room for it all in my daily life - there is at least another blog post in that, and it's in the works ;) - but right now, I'm here to share something with you!

If you're FB friends with me, you will have read this before, but Koosje, my talented, prolific and brave friend, has put together a drawing course that's rumoured - and I really do believe those rumours, Jodi is awesome too - to be amazing! She's running the course for the second time, starting on Monday the 14th of January, and I'm going to be in class :D

If you love drawing - whether you think you're talented or not - and you're ready to explore and expand your skills - or just curious to see what you can do - Just Draw It! is definitely worth checking out!

I would love to be classmates - please join us!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Here it is, January 3rd: my New Year's wish for you - and for me!

be you

I know I used more words in the illustration, but in the end, that's what it boils down to. Nothing else, that's it. I feel it's about time - for me, anyway - to stand tall and wear it on the outside. To be proud of who I am, and to start owning my warts. To no longer wait until I've grown beyond 'not quite there yet' - but to make it happen with what's there; here, in me and within reach! Because there's plenty to work with, right there! Me and my warts, we'll go a long way once we start working together - I'm sure of it!

Of course this means stuff. About putting myself out there, about being honest, about what it is I do exactly, and what I want to share... I'm not altogether clear on it all - quite yet. But I've cut myself some slack. I didn't need to have the past year wrapped up - bow on top - by the 31st of December, and I didn't have to have this one all mapped out by January 1st! How's that for going with my warts, leaning in and being gentle?!

There is more where this came from, but not right now. I just needed to be here, before the first week of this New Year is gone. Because not having it all figured out quite yet doesn't mean I can't just show up. And be. Here. Warts and all. To wish you the best year yet! A happy, inspired and creative year. And to wish for you to come out and be you. I think you're gorgeous!