Stuck To A Stop

2020 has proven to be a very challenging year for everyone. And, as a person who uses her creativity a lot, be it writing, scrapbooking, or drawing, I have found it suffocating. Which is why this blog has been rather quiet, compared to other years.

The things that I see and do, are what helps get my brain ticking over on what I should create. At the moment, for most of 2020, I have been working, going to the supermarket, and then going home. There are only so many interesting things one can get out of the monotony of it all. I try to be productive, try to think about what media I am consuming. So, I try to think about the programme I watch on the TV, or the computer game I am playing.

It’s not working though.

I feel like I am stuck in a cycle. I think and write about the same things all the time. It is not on purpose, but my thoughts seem to retread the same steps because I am not seeing anything else. It’s hard not to talk about masks or COVID restrictions, everywhere you go. Because that is everywhere, and it is something that worries me a lot. This feeling that the governments of the world are dealing with something unprecedented is not a nice one.

Sometimes, though, I think about what matters most. And I suppose it’s honesty. Talk about what I experience, as it is important. You see, I think I do that already, but it is focused around my mental health. So, the picture of me, that this site holds, is not a complete picture, it shows only a side of me.

So, I am going to try and make this more fun. Going to still talk about my mental health, because (unfortunately) it is the biggest thing in my life. But going to try and write about things I like, the music, the shows, the games, and the books. I am not the most articulate of people, but i want to write about more. I’d say it’ll be a ‘lifestyle blog’ more, but I see that and I see lots of things I am not. So, I will simply say that it will be more varied.

Anything is better than this continual bashing of my head against an imaginary brick wall.

Insta-hate Filled Hole

Over the years, social media networks have come and gone. Instagram, is a social network that I have used since I learned of it’s existence, back in my college days.

It’s the social network that provides me the most joy. I can post opinions, memories, or even wee stories of my day. And, in return, I get to see what other people create. I have made friends, followed artists and people that inspire me every day, and genuinely have fun on Instagram.

My profile. It’s full of nonsense, but that is me.

Instagram seems to get pulled up as the worst social media site, especially for the content that young eyes can find. People need to understand that social media sites run off what information you give it. What information and hashtags you may use, is what helps create the content you view. I think people need to be educated on how to use social media, before they start blaming it for everything. Social media makes money by curating a timeline that a user will interact with. Because heavy interaction, means there is more chance of adverts being seen, clicked on, and maybe sales made.

I follow accounts of artists, friends and people who post stuff that encourages me. I save topics like ‘alternative’, ‘Naruto’, ‘BlackPink’, ‘journaling’ and many more. I am not interested in fashion or make-up, so I find that I don’t get recommended pages of models and diet focused accounts.

My Instagram ‘explore’ page is mostly BlackPink. Which is fine by me.

Parents should always be aware of how social media sites work. Educate themselves. If you don’t like what you find, you protect your child. Teach them how to use social media responsibly, show what dangers lie on the internet. Because it should be taken just as seriously as dangers outside in the real world. If a parent refuses to understand how a site works, they can’t expect their child to.

My instagram is like a journal, a bit of a visual blog. I post what catches my attention, rather than just selfies of myself. I understand different people use it for different reasons, and that’s okay. But having such a outlet, has helped my mental health. If I am struggling, i try to go for a walk to take some pictures. And it really helps me gain some focus. It makes me sad that some people see everything on the internet as bad. To me it’s the opposite.

Going Offline

The world has become a little crazy, hasn’t it?

I have found myself writing my feelings into a traditional journal. It’s been good. It means, that I am still able to get my feelings out, but don’t seem to overthink, or procrastinate as much as I do when there is an internet connection involved.

So, I write a few pages of rambling, before bed. And it actually has been helping me sleep better. Because I am not clicking on another tab, or looking through Facebook nonsense. It’s a positive thing. And in these, very challenging, times, it’s good to try and claim any positivity we can.

The Long And Short of It

I got a wee email from WordPress the other day. They like to send emails to help content creators get inspired and motivated. And during a period where I find myself struggling to create, this can be pretty helpful. This email said that sometimes posting smaller updates can strengthen a connection with an audience.

Now, I love reading blogs that have long posts, and that is what I have found myself creating. However, I do use sites like Instagram and Twitter, so I do see the benefit of small, punchy posts. It’s not something I ever thought about doing on my blog. Which seems really strange, the more I think about.

A lot of the information that is posted, is about growing an audience. I never started this blog to gain any kind of audience, it was something for me. But, I do have a lot of people who do follow this blog, so maybe it would be nice to provide them with more. Because, honestly, i post so sporadically sometimes, that I think folk get surprise when they do see a post by me.

The main reason behind the lull in content, is because I can’t focus. As I’ve already mentioned, I start posts and give up. So, maybe smaller updates would help. I don’t know about anyone else, but I do put more pressure on myself if I haven’t posted in a while. So maybe wee updates, more like Tumblr or instagram would help.

Blogmas day 1 of…

Every time I see a challenge for blogging, I want to join in. I want to see myself do something, than I can say was successful. Because, I will be honest, me and success don’t necessarily go hand and hand. I am a serial failer, it is like a talent. Not a talent anyone actually wants to have, to be honest.

The aim of blogmas is to create something every day of December and post it online. It is supposed to be a boost to your creativity, something to help kickstart flagging creativity. It sometimes works. A lot of the time I don’t keep up with anything, and I fall begging after a couple of days.

This doesn’t mean that I can’t try. I am optimistic, but life is rather busy at the moment. I know a lot of people are very good at being creative regularly, and when speaking to them, they have said that constantly challenging yourself is essential to keeping creativity alive.

Booked

I love reading.

I love the idea of getting lost in a world when the real world is becoming too much. Reading is something I do when I need to chill out. Something that is becoming increasingly necessary in this world, as it becomes more angry an confrontational.

That’s why books have come to mean so much to me, as there is no confrontation. Everything that could cause anguish is contained within the pages of the book. And if it stresses me out at all, I can close the book and do something else. Because if I am really invested in a book or character, I can find myself panicking if the storyline turns suddenly. And I am aware that seems really strange.

My issue these days, seems to be on focus. There are times where I can get right into a novel, but other times my mind can’t focus. And it is really hard. Something that I’ve used to help me relax, might not help me anymore. I have discussed this quite a bit on here, but it is so annoying.

I am currently reading Limmy’s (Scottish comedian) autobiography, listening to a book on the Korean War and reading a thriller on my Kindle. I have to be able to jump back and forth so that I can take in a book whatever my mood is. The problem is that I often end up reading the same stuff over and over again. It’s not really a problem, but I feel like it is. I love the feeling of getting into a new book for the first time, where you can’t put it down. But, due to the problem with focusing, it’s hard to get into something new.

Head In Sand

Recently I haven’t been sharing at all. Which is not like me, but it’s hard when you are dealing with something that you’d rather not be dealing with.

Unfortunately, life is not that kind. I have been sick, had a major crash with my mental health, had course work due in and the busiest time of the year for the ol’ day job. And it all kind of left me functioning, but that was it. I didn’t want to talk about it, still don’t, because I didn’t want to think about how much stuff was happening all at once. It’s kind of calmed down a little, my coursework is done and Christmas is a week a way, which means no overtime. And it’s allowing me a little time to reflect on why I burrowed myself away from the internet.

For years the internet was where I could let my feelings go, where I could write about stuff that no one cared about. It was very therapeutic and it was completely disconnected from my real life. However, every day there seems to be more merging of both my private life and the one I talk about on line. People who I know in real life, are able to access what I am writing.

Now, this doesn’t seem like a huge problem for some, as they see things being made public, and surely it doesn’t matter who reads it. But… that’s not really how it goes. In my life, I try to put a smile on as I soldier on through whatever the day throws at me. Inside, I may be falling apart, but I don’t want people to see it. I always feel like my mental health issues makes me a burden on others, so I don’t want them to know. That way people don’t feel pressured into being nice, they are being nice because they want to, not because I’m not right in the head. And when these people I share my daily life with can read what I really feel, I feel like I have let them down. I mean, surely I should be able to talk to folk, right?

So, sometimes it is easier to bury my head in the sand. Pretend things are okay, when they aren’t. It’s not perfect. But, it can get me through times where I don’t have the strength to deal with questions about things that I don’t know how to put into words. That’s what writing helps me do, sometimes, put what’s in my head into words that (kind of) make sense.

Sketchbook

Since I was little I have kept sketch books full of drawings, diary entries and cut-outs. It’s always been a good way to be creative and work out some anxieties that I may have.

The only problem is, that as life gets busier and I get older, it becomes harder to focus on drawing and stuff. For example. My current sketch book was started about 2 and a half years ago. Which is quite bad. Considering there was a time that I could go through a sketch book every few months.

I am trying to say to myself, that it doesn’t matter how much I do. It matters more, that I am doing anything. Because I look at how little I have done and I feel bad, guilty almost, that I haven’t been doing as much as I maybe would have liked.

But in the last few days I have filled 4 pages with doodles, and it’s kind of motivated me again. So, I thought I would post some of the bits and pieces from previous pages of my sketchbook and try and push myself on further.

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Going Underground

Music is something that has helped me get through my life. I like, that how music can be a journey of discovery. That different songs can make you think about different things, and can even change your outlook on things. It is very strange, when you think about it.

People often talk about music taste, like it is something static. Like, how you find one genre of music, and that is what you will stick with for the rest of their life. But, that isn’t how it really works, music is more like a journey. A journey where you might tip your toes into a particular type of music, and depending on your experience, you could venture deeper into that particular journey, or you could wonder off to something a bit different.

I was a Pop fan for much of my childhood. Music was there, but it wasn’t anything too crazy to obsess about. I liked songs, but no artists in particularly. I fell in love with Hanson, then B*Witched, followed by a1. It sounds like a list of guilty pleasures, but those bands kind of got me into music. I started to notice that certain songs made me feel different, I would get meaning in the lyrics and it became something of an addiction. I would buy albums and read the lyrics on the inserts. I did find, that as I started reading into song means more, I got bored of what was on the radio. I wasn’t interested in getting a boyfriend, I just wanted to read books and draw, so I gradually turned away from the chart music.

This was the time, where I would start frequenting my local library, to use their internet. I didn’t have it at home, so when you want to discover new music, that wasn’t on the radio, you went online. I started to become a fan of music with a rockier sound, the angst and anger matched how I felt in life.

The music that I felt most connect to was old punk stuff, mostly from before I was born. I bought this compilation CD from a charity shop one day after school, and it had The Clash, The Ramones, X Ray Spex and like 40 other bands from the late 70s/ early 80s. It felt like there was a fire in my belly, when I listened to those songs. And the first song on the compilation was Going Underground by The Jam (see know I would get back to the prompt), which actually became a favourite song of mine.

Since I started listening to punk, my taste developed, I started to listen to metal, thrash, emo, grunge, alt rock, just about anything. In fact, the more I listened to, the more I began to appreciate music, in general. The phase that I had, where I turned my back on my poppy roots, was over. I listened to old albums, and realised that those songs still meant a lot to me. Favourite things, become our favourites for a reason.

So put on that played out album from your teens, and have a party. Relish in the memories that those songs have for you, and realise they are more than just words and a tune.

via Daily Prompt: Underground