Paper crushed into pellets
Boxes of pins
Blots of dark, dark ink
Bottles of pills
A sad forsaken doll
Pencils burnt to ashes
And shut doors.
Paper crushed into pellets
Boxes of pins
Blots of dark, dark ink
Bottles of pills
A sad forsaken doll
Pencils burnt to ashes
And shut doors.
I have come to terms with the fact that I cannot stop overthinking. I used to be thinking all the time – there it was, the unending flow of words, sentences and ideas, images sometimes, thoughts rushing so fast I could barely keep up. It still happens to me everyday, but at least it isn’t stopping me from enjoying life anymore. I do not overanalyze and observe every single little detail anymore. Or at least, I don’t do it so much that I cannot entertain a simple conversation or activity.
My thoughts are not as dark as they used to be either. But… I still feel bugged. It seems to me I speak volumes, and I think volumes, but I cannot feel satisfied because I don’t act enough. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
The harmony between the do and the say/think association doesn’t even come close to being realized in me. I keep thinking and saying: I’ll write in my blog once or twice a week; I’ll read more books; I’ll complete a painting every week and draw a little bit every day; I’ll
make sure to write some poetry or prose each day so I can complete my art and writing projects; I’ll be hard-working and study well to make sure I make my PhD dissertation the best I can make it… I think all these things. I say them too.
I envision my life and my sense of self would be like and how I could, most importantly, help others in any sort of way by achieving all these goals, by making all these dreams come true… But, happiness set aside, what makes the difference between a successful writer or artist and a would-be artist or writer if not the “doing”?
I don’t want to become bitter over time, thinking of myself as some sort of failure because I simply haven’t got myself to do what I dreamt of. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that all my dreams have passed me by. I don’t want to let the fear of failure and rejection stop me. I don’t want to let the remnants of my depressions tug at me and chain me, so they can take hold of me again.
I have made progress though… I do not seclude myself as much as I used to, and thanks to that, I have met my wonderful girlfriend. But now, I need to find the drive and dedication. I want what is swirling inside of me to be fully realized on the outside too. I wish not to only speak volumes, I want to create volumes!
We go about our daily lives – working, speaking, sleeping, eating, thinking, working some more. And when we do not work, how we worry about tomorrow’s tasks ahead! What about that deadline getting closer? Or that meeting we yet have to prepare for? Work, taxes, money issues, the trifles of the day, the burdens of the night, and the old memories of wounds we believed had closed that keep coming back to us in dreams, and the one negative thought that triggers a train of associations sending some of us spiraling down, down, and further down… That is when you are looking at your own personal life only, the life we get caught up with, sometimes forgetting to look outside ourselves and beyond.
My girlfriend, my wonderful, complex, curious, clever, beautiful and funny, but terribly anxious girlfriend, knows all too well what it feels like to be overwhelmed by her own thoughts, and to become trapped inside her mind. The best I can do to soothe her is give and show her love – and I have plenty to give her. But there’s something else that we love to do to heal our nerve-wracked minds – we simply just play!
We are adults – young adults for sure, but still, we are supposed to be grown-ups. We have teaching jobs that place us in a position of responsibility towards teenagers and still we find ourselves playing like little children all the time. When we went to Auvergne together, we tried going to the top of a mountain, but had to stop halfway up the road because the wind was too strong and we couldn’t see anything for all the snow that was flying and dancing in the sky. So we made our way to the foot of the mountain again, but made a pause on the way to do a snowball battle and to run in the fields. We did it again the next day, and we had fun in the swimming-pool at our hotel. There was an older couple there who looked at us tenderly, probably thinking we were quite a bit younger than we actually are.
But the games that we play – the real, innocent, funny games that we play together – make us laugh; they keep us smiling and feeling alive and happy. Adults tend to stop playing – or perhaps they start to believe that it is no longer for them; maybe some of them even forget how it feels to have childish fun – but there is no better cure for dispassion and sorrow than a good laugh. Playing triggers the imagination and lets your soul rise and shine.
Playing is living differently for a few moments, with different rules.
Playing is reuniting with your inner child. The one who is still there, holding on to your dreams, believing, always, that you can make it.
So go out and play… Go out and heal yourselves!
I am back! Looking through my blog, I am realizing that it has almost been two months exactly since I last posted an article here, which might make it seem as though I had given up on the resolutions I had set for myself in Magic Number Ten. Such is not the case though!
First and foremost, I wanted to thank everyone who has followed this blog, commented on posts or liked them in the past year. It means a lot to me and if I can spread the slightest bit of joy, warmth, help or even beauty into the world thanks to what I paint, draw or write, then I am happy.
The past two months have brought a lot of changes into my life. I was quite busy teaching and thinking about the direction I wanted my life to take. I travelled to Auvergne, in the mountains and sleeping volcanoes of the centre part of France, and I moved into my very own little flat. I also discovered meditation, which has been very helpful. It proved a perfect way to start heal some old wounds and clear a number of blockages that kept me from moving forward. At first, it felt like an explosion, or rather, an implosion that I gave colour to.
Now, I am a lot calmer and driven. I could always feel, deep down, that living in a place of my own would improve my mood and concentration because I would feel much freer, but I was far from imagining how true it was. As I am presently almost done arranging the flat, I want to take up the list I had written two months ago.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Trust! She has spoken!
Easier to ignore
Oh, granted – for sure.
But she comes back more
And if she tells you
Then maybe you
Should hear, listen to
The little voice meant to
And protect you,
Here to guide you.
Not all of us feel intuition the same way. According to the Myers-Briggs test, some personality types rely on intuition to make decisions and others don’t, but in all things linked with research, creation and feelings, I cannot help but think that it plays the most important role in guiding us and leading us to the right path. Sometimes, I just have a sense of things and I know, deep down, no matter what my logic and reason tell me, what I have to do and how I must do it. It applies to human relationships, but also to the choices I make in research for my PhD and to the way I teach my students or handle them in class. And I am not the only one.
William Wordsworth wrote: “Faith is a passionate intuition.”
Albert Einstein said: “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
A poet and a man of science who agree on the power of intuition – what could be more beautiful than that? It not only resolves the mind/sensation conflict, but also the ridiculous separation we force ourselves to make between art and science. Even psychology accepts that intuition must be used as it creates a link between our reason and our unconscious and our instincts, making us more aware of ourselves and probably happier in many ways.
Lately, I have been overwhelmed with a very powerful intuition and gut instinct about a number of things and somehow, every time I went against it, I felt sick. Now that I have embraced it, I feel more at peace with myself and perhaps it is the best thing I had to do, along with avoiding self-deception.
I hope you all have a wonderful night/day!
2016 is coming to a close. It has been a strange year in many respects. The world lost so many wonderful artists that I have lost count. We have sunk deeper into fear and unrest. It would be much easier to refuse to see, but there we are… This world is a mess, and in spite of this, we still, on a personal level, break the beautiful things that we have.
As for me…So much has been offered, and so much taken away from me… I started this blog, and my PhD. I have been writing, reading, travelling and painting. I have taught wonderful kids and made some amazing new friends. I am grateful for everything, even for the bad because I hope it will help me grow.
2016 is coming to a close… 2017 is going to open its arms to us and I would like to share my hopes for the future. My first hope is that I find the strength within myself to work hard on my PhD and the classes I am going to teach so as to bring something good to the world. The chance that has been given me is incredible and I do not want to ruin it. My second hope is that all the people I love can be well, healthy, happy and fulfilled. That their troubles, if they have any, are solves and their pains alleviated. I hope that my inner light shines for them to protect them, and shines for me so I can stand on my own two feet and move on. Move on with my life, move away from what and who hurts me, move towards the future with a heart full of kindness and wonder.
But even though I know that it is time for me to move on – and I will move on – my last and third wish is that my prayers for love are heard and that the promises made once are fulfilled rather than broken. If there is such a thing as fate, please let the odds be favourable. Let what my heart feels to be true indeed be a reality in time. It might take a long time, but I still truly hope that what we told each other was real and will come to be realized. And if it doesn’t, please let there be someone, somewhere out there, that is meant for me or please let me be at peace when I am by myself.
Three things: work and create, health and happiness for the people I love and for myself and hope for a better future full of love, the real kind. It is cheesy and cliché, I know… But these things do make life brighter, don’t they?
Some time ago, I started a three part series devoted to feminism. I did not want it to take that long before I actually completed it, but it is never too late!
The first two parts were about teaching feminism and gender equality in high school and about ways to study feminism. Of course, they were just my personal experiences, but they were both very interesting to write as they enabled me to see how much could be done in the classroom (from experience) to improve gender equality and to realize how much more can be done still.
This is when part 3, living Feminism, comes in. It is one thing to read about feminism and gender equality; teaching the subject is another – in both cases, you are making steps towards equality. Even if both these experiences can be painful, as you may very well be discouraged to discover how sexist the world still is or to hear students tell you that feminism is for angry, ugly women, they are enlightening. There is also something intriguing about searching “feminist” on Pinterest and finding pictures like this one, which rings very true:
Only to find that one as you scroll down:
Don’t get me wrong. I love fashion and I am always impressed by the creativity of some pieces, but how do you go from searching “feminist” online to being shown images of fashion, jewelry and makeup? Is that because feminism is about women, and just because it is about women it must lead to what we are all told women like: shoes, dresses, mascara, diamonds (a girl’s best friend for sure ^^) and pearls? And in that context, is it really possible to live feminism?
Some people will tell me: yes, it is. Of course, it is! I do not disagree… But there is still a long way to go. A little anecdote will serve as my example.
I know a girl who studies feminism; she does not study it as I do – it is actually her field of study. She rages and revolts when she hears sexist jokes; she is very independent and she lives her life like a pro. But then… love comes in and everything seems to disappear. We are back on the same old tracks. All of a sudden, it is alright that the guy she likes has sex with her whenever he likes, but will not be there when she is the one who wants some affection. He will go, take what he wants, and refuse to sleep next to her. And she finds excuses for him – and she will say that it is normal that he did not agree to be with her when she wanted to because he was busy and she was being tiresome, as if she had forgotten that she, too, could say no and that her body was not his object. That he should treat her with respect.
Of course, in real life, things are a little more complicated – there are issues of self-love, trust and commitment on both the boy and the girl’s sides. And I am not saying that the boy is an ass, only that my friend sometimes forgets about all the values she defends so fiercely when she is around some men, as if male presence muted her.
The sad part is… it is true of many women who believe in equality. How many times have I seen very outspoken lady friends fall silent when around men? How often have I noticed that in a group composed of both men and women, men usually speak the most? They just direct the conversation. Then again, not always. Not all men. Not all women. But the pattern can be observed everywhere…
Such observations make me wonder if I am quiet because I am girl and not simply because I am quiet. They make me ask myself if I like cooking and a clean house and being a good, nicely dressed hostess because, as I often jokingly say, I was “raised to be a housewife” or just because I actually do enjoy these things and would still like them if I were a boy. They make me wonder where I would be right now if I had been born male.
Because of such observations, every time I see a girl wearing a lot of makeup, clinging to a boy, I wonder if she is happy or if she does everything FOR the boy because that’s what magazines have told her she must do ever since she was a child. If she’s happy and she loves makeup then it’s awesome. But what if she is afraid the boy will not like her anymore if she does not wear it? What if she is actually really self-conscious because other girls are mean to her because of her looks? Then it is a sad situation.
In a weird way, I think maybe that’s what living feminism is: rather than just trying to live by a set of rules, it is questioning the world around you. Always. And questioning yourself, your habits, your thoughts, your prejudices and preconceived ideas, for we all have them, and taking a close look at the way you treat women, but also men.
As as Maya Angelou would say:
“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this world a better place for all people”.
I cleaned my bedroom today and was perplexed by the sheer amount of my belongings. I am not one to simply go around and buy things just for the sake of acquiring goods, but I am a keeper, and over the years, the little things I had became many.
So I started questioning myself: do I need all this? The answer was: “Mostly, yes.” Most of what I own is painting and drawing material, books and anything essential to being a student and teacher, or memories.
However, even after I answered the question for myself, something still did not feel quite right. I kept wondering why we surround ourselves with so many items and knick-knacks, as though we never had enough… It is a perplexing issue and there is no clear solution to it. I suppose some people try to fill the emptiness inside of them; others are envious; others still perhaps simply enjoy pretty things and decoration… And things accumulate… If you never get rid of anything you buy, even if you are a reasonable person, it will accumulate and little will inevitably become much.
Then, I remembered some of the quotes by Epictetus that I read yesterday on WordPress:
“First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do.”
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ”
Perhaps it is these quotes that prompted my reflexion this morning. I do not need more things, for I already have what I need. I have lived away from home with very little and was quite as happy, if not more, as I am today. And I have told myself what I would be – I must now do what I have to do.
That’s why I would like to try and not buy anything new for myself (unless it is absolutely necessary) for a month. It is not about rejecting society and wanting to go out to live in the woods like a hermit. I just want to spend more time appreciating everything I already have, because really, I am content.