This last lockdown has hit me hard, I am not working, my landlord took away my garden, and the tiny house project I wanted to have for this summer may be a no go. Also I Really, Actively Hate Suburbia. The sweater a week project that was to keep me busy is quite a few sweaters in (I Actively do not know how many I have done at this point, but my closet is exploding and my kitchen is covered in yarn.... also the rest of my house.)
I was just ... miffed? Unsatisfied, uncreative, and kind of angry all the time. My son went back to work, he does landscaping, my partner has been working this whole time. The world is still going to Shit, and I let my Demons push me into The Pit. I let those little thoughts or demons in my head do that on occasion, but this was the longest I stayed in The Pit, and I think it was a quite shallow one too.
So there I am in the bottom of a rather shallow pit. I sat in the bottom, dissatisfied and unmotivated. All the while my demons looked down at me, and laughing and mocking me. Finally decided to make my ladder. Now I am not sure why, I wish I knew what turned the key in my head, but I finally decided to climb out of the pit and get on with it. I couldn't make anything, I couldn't do anything, it was a stretch to get out of bed. So I didn't. I fell back on what I typically do, I just didn't show up, I didn't have any light in me left to give the world, so I kept my darkness to myself. Only I wanted out of that pit. For that I needed a ladder.
So I started walking, I started meditating again.
I finally had decided to get unstuck, and once I decide something, I will do it. I can be very persistent. To get Unstuck, and build that darn ladder the Carrie way, you need books and information. So I turned to the Library, as most people do (right? We all reach for a book friend to help?)
I borrowed books, so many books (digitally, with so many more of my choices already out or on hold, it was nice to feel community in that). I was reaching for every tool I could find, with any stretch of the mind, anything at all to build that darn ladder. I turned to what has helped me in the past, books on Spirituality and Meditation. I wanted more this time though, as I knew part of my Stuckedness in The Pit was my lack of inspiration and creativity.
I also walked the neighborhood, I shut off the noise in my life (binge watching whatever) and I reflected, sort of a walking meditation idea. The best part was when I realized I didn't have to look at all the empty houses full of crap, I could look up at the trees. I was still listening to those horrible Demon voices in my head and I still believed them, for a while. For whatever reason (they may be allergic to pollen, they get very quiet around trees, sunsets and Dance Music playlists). Looking up at the trees helped, the demons got quieter.
I searched for joy, I searched for creativity, and found nothing. So I finished a few projects out of desperation, but I was empty. The challenge of a Sweater a week was stalling. At that moment I had about 4 to 5 sweater WIP that were above my knowledge base to finish. Pieces that because I don't use patterns, or sometimes have no more than a picture in my head are just not coming together as I had imagined. Normally I can alter the pattern, adjust the picture, do something to make it work. I had no energy left to problem solve. These are projects I am excited about, I didn't want to frog the whole piece or in some cases the whole project may have to be frogged. I didn't want to do that, but I thought about it. I thought about frogging all of them, getting rid of all of it. I thought about it. Alot.
I have since frogged and redone bits of this piece, I had apparently forgot to count, or miscounted my rows. Its waiting in a stainless steel bowl in my living room for help.
I was well and thoroughly Stuck, with none of my normal Unstuck options available to me under Covid lockdown. No visiting my parents farm, no wild dance night, no meals with friends, just me. In my house. (Also, I apparently really enjoy other peoples company, and am very social... who knew?). So I watched Inside Out, yet again, working up the courage to read those library books. That helped, reminding me that I am grieving, even if no one I know has died, I can't squish the ones I love. I can allow myself to feel Sad. It would have been the easiest way to build that ladder, but I needed other options.
I turned to the borrowed stack of books from the library on meditation, amid many other things.
The library books kept coming through like little pings of "Hey, here is the help you ordered." Ping, ping, ping. Libby just quietly pinging me with the help I had already requested. I aggressively swiped Not right now, letting the holds lapse.
I walked, I listened to demons and finished projects already started.
That may have taken another week to get too. A week of Pings until a book came through and grabbed me by my sweatpants, it looked me in the eyes and said you will listen.
I always forget Meditation initially when I'm stuck. "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron (I don't know how to do the oomlates over the O's) really helped. It helped me get my feet under my body and outside into the air (sometimes even showered). Instead of being curled up in bed, unwashed in ugly pajamas where the demons are very loud. The loudest with their whispering little voices. "When things fall apart" got me outside where those little Demons and their allergies are a bit quieter. Where I could think my own thoughts.
But I was still stuck, I am still a little stuck. I finally have all this time to create, and no inspiration. I see others creating up a storm all while feeling guilty and ashamed that I can't and don't. Like a little kid who's overtired but won't go to bed, I'm screaming and throwing myself on the floor.
"I Want to Make! I WANT TO WRITE, AND CREATE AND PAINT AND HAVE BEAUTY AND JOY!"
But I'm empty inside, there's nothing to fill me up. The spark has gone out, as gone and I feel like I am blindly circling around the uninspiring: finishing up projects, making bland sweaters, or 4 feet long scrap pillow covers with nothing. Nothing left to give, I kept letting those darn demons have a voice. I believed them.
So I borrowed yet another book from the library (truthfully I have many borrowed), and though I am not done reading it yet, so far it is going well. The book is called "Make It Mighty Ugly" by Kim Piper Werker. Please read it, (or buy it, if you can). I do love the digital copy because the links are all there. With a little click you are off to your next Homework. She says in the beginning if there is anything you are shying away from, make sure to do that one, which I am doing, it isn't easy. There are Tedtalks, Videos and Podcasts, links to articles and lists (and more lists, I have quite a large notebook that is rapidly filling up). I have a load of Happy little tabs cluttering up my tablet now, and I'm not done.
It is forcing me to do some Serious Self Reflection and facing those Stupid Little (or sometimes large) Demons inside me.
For a recap I am doing lots of SSR on the SLD.
I am fricking hilarious
Or delirious, thats a possibility too.
The Mighty Ugly has prompted me to fill pages and pages in my notebook of what I'm good at, what those demons say to me, sometimes shouting, but normally at a whisper (which is somehow worse). I have created a Very Ugly Creature, named Blobby. The very ugly creature made me Very Uncomfortable. I also have a Cute one, named Wiggles that is very similar and simple. The idea was given to me by my sister over a video call.
This is Blobby, representing everything I don't like, poorly made, a little rushed, uninspired textures, fabrics, colours, and rather lumpy because Blobby is filled with beans. I also got out the hot glue gun. I have hated hot glue guns ever since my sons castle project in grade four. I don't think either of us had fingerprints left after that.
I had to write a backstory for Blobby, so Blobby loves TV, Reality shows and "chilling on the couch" Blobbby does Not enjoy reading, or museums, theater or art galleries and looks at most art with incomprehension and suspicion. Blobby doesn't want anyone else to have fun, or be creative and distrusts learning new things, just wants to live in their Suburban house, cut the lawn on Saturdays, go to work just enough to get by, and come back home to more mind numbing TV. And probably fast food or microwave dinners, no cooking for Blobby.
Also, there is a cameo of a picture of Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows that my nephew made me a while back.
This is Wiggles, Wiggles love to cuddle and loves to be supportive for creative endeavors. Wiggles is a stand up kind of guy, and though simple in appearance, is quite complex and loves long discussions, art galleries, reading and creating. Wiggles would like to speak up more, and be better organized.
So, I'm not Into the Woods yet, but I am doing the work. Wiggles, Blobby and I are working on a collage. I'm planning a post on it, it may be quite an ugly collage, but its helping. As much as I don't like them, I think I may do a few more. I like writing about how they make me feel.
As for The Pit? It's still there, it always is there, just there. But that's what ladders are for.
And ladders are really interesting because they are different everytime.