Iggy and QOTSA were the saviours of an otherwise shambolic event.
We took my mobility scooter to Brighton Racecourse for an Orbital gig, and…WOW!
Sometimes I see a collection that truly makes me stop in my tracks. My heart soars and my spirits are lifted as the shoes, clothes or bags I see before me embrace fun, transcend fashion and forgo practicality to flip lightly up into the realm of utterly breathtaking.
I inhale the items on the screen before me, image by image, angle upon angle, sucking up the details, marveling at the design, exhaling deeply at the astronomic prices. I expect it’s easier to have artistic integrity when your product retails at the price of a family holiday, but I don’t think about that.
Instead, I think about art for art’s sake, about creativity as a form of self-expression, about having a tangible result of your experience and endeavour. And then I imagine the emotion of holding true beauty in your hands – beauty that you yourself made happen.
And then I want to share that feeling.
Ever a Contrary Mary, the damaging result of the US election has inspired me to compile a short playlist of three love songs to humanity. Perhaps together we can kill the hate with kindness.
Because I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that today was a very dark day for America and by extension, the world. Despite living in the UK, what happens in the US causes ripples right across the Atlantic. Personally, I feel less confident in the stability of our worldwide community due to the incoming American president’s clunky understanding of international politics, disdain for the environment, his complete lack of diplomacy and his trigger-happy headspace. Let’s not even mention his casual racism, xenophobia, misogyny and accusations of sexual abuse (oops! Too late!).
Yes, all signs are now pointing towards Danger. Even here in the UK I feel less safe and less secure, yet increasingly certain that now more than ever we need to celebrate the beauty of an interracial, international community and show our solidarity for those the incoming President is marginalizing (essentially, anyone who is not like him).
I mentioned in a previous post how living colourfully makes me feel mentally and physically brighter, and with this in mind (literally!) I’m currently co-curating an exhibition in Brighton called, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life (or, The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is Not A Train)’ to raise awareness for the charity C.A.L.M.
The Brighton exhibition will be part of a nationwide event to look at a different side of suicide, and we need you lovely lot of any gender to contribute your artistic endeavours for the exhibitions and spread the message about C.A.L.M.’s good work far and wide. As the Wonderful Life mission-statement reads:
“We are going to attempt to take this out of the darkness and into the light. Our aim is to uplift people, not send them spinning downward.
Trawling through Instagram for Halloween inspiration I came across several Pop Art-themed portrait photos in the style of Roy Lichtenstein. Various different Make-up Artists and bloggers had attempted to ape his classic pieces from the sixties, so there were plenty of impressive imitations to choose from. Now, I’d like to think I’m fairly adept at faceprinting, but these talented people take it to a whole other level – impressive stuff.
Nevertheless, with a disability-friendly evening out incoming, I decided on my favourite Instagram picture and had a go at replicating it on myself. Since my hair is currently various shades of green, I thought I’d keep that colour as a base for my face – as you can see!
In recognition of Invisible Disabilities Week and Invisible Illnesses Week this coming week, I thought I’d share with you my own story about living with chronic illness. I wrote it in May this year as part of ME Awareness Month here in the UK.
If you’re not sure what ME is, you can read more about it here.
This is the hidden side of ME – and of me.
ME exists: it’s an invisible illness that’s disabling and isolating, no matter how sociable you are or how many friends you have to help when times are tough (and I love you all – thank you for your support).
It’s not just ‘tiredness’ – if only it were that simple! – it’s constant, chronic pain, pea-soup brainfog and nausea, and exhaustion so draining that you can’t lift your toothbrush to your mouth or brush your hair, let alone leave the house.
I’m lucky in that these days I’m no longer bedridden for weeks/ months, nor challenged like some ME sufferers who are so weak they struggle to swallow or speak. My friend’s cousin Sophia was so sick and weak she actually died of ME.
In the past, a glimpse of sunlight through the curtains, and any unexpected noise translated into acute physical pain for me. It was agony, and left me in continuous pain even today – albeit on a lesser scale.
I felt nauseous for two years constant, and my periods stopped. My whole system went into freefall and for a few years it was absolute hell.
Since my allergy to peroxide made itself known (read more about it here) my hairdresser has had to bleach my roots in foils extremely carefully, ensuring none of the compound has the potential to touch my scalp. This takes aaages, but thankfully my hairdresser is extremely patient, and we’ve even become friends from spending so much time together. Needless to say this is when we tend to have a quality girlie catch-up.
Prior to my appointment I also do a patch test with each individual coloured dye – even if I’ve used it before. I generally find Manic Panic to be the kindest on my hair and scalp.
After the bleach my hair is usually dyed in crazy-coloured streaks, which means yet more foils. Since I like a trim too, this becomes a lengthy process, resulting in almost a day at the salon.
Well, I don’t know about you, but between work and kids I don’t have a day to devote to my hair – especially if I want the colour to last. Add in a chronic illness which means I’m not great at being upright for any length of time, I’ve had to come up with an alternative system to speed up the process.
Sarmistha from Styleovercoffee was sweet enough to comment on one of my posts, and from there I discovered her blog and Instagram.
Needless to say, Sarmistha’s my kinda girl, blending pattern or print with a certain style sensibility. Take this image, for example: yellow and pink being one of my favourite colour combinations (the other is pink and orange). I also love the way she’s chosen a bright blue tarp as her background, which makes for an atmospheric image! Clearly not only a talented lady but a resourceful one too: I ❤
I’ve suffered from Depression on and off for decades now, and I find that wearing bright clothes helps lift my spirits. When I wear colour I feel as though I’m fighting my inner darkness from the outside.
Medication, yoga and a SAD lamp help as well, along with a healthy diet and music (very important!), but it’s the little everyday action of putting on colourful clothes in the morning that sets me up for the day.
When I’m at my blackest I’m actually projecting how I’d like to feel: bright and cheerful, not shrouded in cloud. This means that when I’m feeling painfully low I’m carrying my shield around with me: I am the sunshine.