This is who I am | The diverse textures of my lifeNov 11, 2020
Following the recent lockdown, relaxing of lockdown and who knows what of lockdown, I found that on returning to the studio in Hucknall, people really want to talk about their lives and how they have come to be where they are.
PEOPLE WANT TO SPEAK AND TO BE HEARD
It’s inspired me to open my Guest Blogging doors in the series
THIS IS WHO I AM
I was born in Staffordshire and brought by parents with a keen awareness and empathy with animals and nature so I had an early introduction to the pleasure of being outdoors which continues to today.
What developed me again at an early age was a three-month trip to Oman aged 5 with my mum and brother to see my dad who was working out there.
Arid, hot and sweet would be how I describe Oman and many strong memories still stick with me - such as the gardener I loved, called Mohan, my dad's aftershave which he gave to distract me on a flight (I kept that bottle for a long time), the cotton fabrics including the cobalt blue dress my mum made me.
Cardamon again reminds me of Oman; as do cornflakes and those plastic toy sweet shops. I still like dry and hot but also I like the contrast of wet and cold and snow, too, so being a UK resident is good for me. I think
CONTRAST OFFERS GROWTH
and this is what I seek.
These very textural memories reflect how I interpret life; as a texture with many layers and relationships forming part of this texture.
I have learnt more through relationships than I have through any of my education - even though I am so grateful to have had access to the education I have had.
Textures can be dark and challenging. Domestic abuse is experienced by many. Some who are aware of it and some that are very conditioned and not aware. Many books are written on domestic abuse and one is called Lundy Bancroft’s “Why does he do that”, which is written by a man on the psychology of an abusive male.
In order to survive during and then heal after, building trust in yourself through having a constant can be very important. That constant can be a pet or even the sun; but it must be totally reliable and without agenda.
Society still has a long way to go with domestic abuse. American psychologist Amy Cuddy (who has done a brilliant Ted Talk on the power of body language) spoke on a podcast how we hold shame in the body (reflected in posture) and on the same podcast spoke about women that have been domestically abused still receive social judgement. Once you get through the layers of torment of the aftermath of domestic abuse the world has a different level of beauty; it truly is miraculously beautiful.
Brene Brown’s take on trust is really clever to me and you can hear her chat to Oprah or look her up on YouTube. In her view, someone has to earn the right to hear your story and I love her story of putting marbles in a jar; so someone has to earn those marbles in order for you to trust them. If they tell one of your secrets or maybe discloses secrets of someone else to you then you take marbles out of their jar.
TRUST IS PRECIOUS.
For knowledge of trust I also really like books by Professor Steve Peter, Peter Levine, Gabrielle Bernstein, Louise Hay and Steve Biddulph, and podcasts by Jocko Willink. I also like looking at David Goggins instagram for little nuggets of gold – all of these resources talk about the importance of trust and resilience and how they are linked. All really good resources for inspiring emotional discipline in a time of uncomfortable uncertainty.
I love being a mother to a boy and I love men and meet many different and well-balanced men whilst out walking my dog. When I read Steve Biddulph’s book ‘Manhood’ to become a better mother to a boy it really helped me to understand some of the lies that I had soaked up from society about men. We project a lot of negative words and stories onto men some deserved and some not. Some of the nastier social (including group bullying) behaviour I have seen has been from women to both sexes and not from men.
I believe that the first woman becoming the first female U.S. Vice president will ease some of the underhand competition between women; we can have ambition and be friends.
Sound is a texture of my life; music first introduced by Dad has acted as book notes to my life, and I very much associate varying music and artists with different experiences in my life. I have always been a bedroom dancer.
At a university in Nottingham, I studied textiles and then fashion and found what I really enjoyed was creating stories through styling; collaborating with excellent photographers and makeup artists.
Trend forecasting at the creative university and then studying Horizon Scanning as part of a Post-Graduate Certificate at a Russell Group university (both in Nottingham), combined with a past hobby in tarot reading has given me knowledge of alternative ways to predict trends. Of course, you don’t need to go into an educational setting to be able to do this; life will teach you. Many clever and perceptive people don’t attend university and I have learnt this through meeting and chatting and learning with people from many different back grounds.
Another textural part of my life that has been a constant has been food and being shown how to nurture and connect and show love through food.
I have been shown different diets and ways of eating; from eating on the floor in Oman, to the traditional English roast round a dinner table, to having macrobiotic meals sat on couches with a close friend’s family at their house many a time as a teenager whilst watching soaps on TV.
I also assisted an excellent photographer whilst he was taking food photos in a Michelin-stared hotel in Manchester. This experience contrasted with the look of the home cooked nourishment of the mothers that have looked after me.
Throughout my life I seem to have a contrast of logical hard workers to the free-thinking mystics. I am grateful and love both, and the balance seems to work well for me and helps me to keep my feet on the ground whilst having an open mind which is great for learning.
I think once Covid stabilises and maybe even becomes normal, we will see much post-traumatic growth and recognition of businesses that offer community wellbeing practices such as yoga.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this, I know that I really did! I particularly enjoyed the references to materials designed for empowering individuals. It just goes to show that you can spend lots of time with a person but unless you ask the right questions, you don’t really have any idea about the wealth, colour and indeed, texture of their lives and their experiences.
I am very, very grateful for this extremely brave account 🙏🏼 💚
WHEN YOU ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SPEAK YOUR TRUTH, YOU GIVE OTHERS PERMISSION TO DO THE SAME
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If you are affected at all by issues surrounding domestic violence, please, please seek some help in the form of a trusted friend or GP or in an official capacity with Refuge, the UK’s support network.
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I WANT TO GET TO KNOW YOU
I would love for you to contribute to my blog so that I and the whole world can learn how wonderful you are. Submissions of guest blogs can be anywhere between 400 and 800 words, but don’t let the numbers worry you. Let me know how you want to be credited as the author of your story; “Lee-ann, Nottingham”, “LC, United Kingdom” etc. Of course, if you would rather not be identified that’s fine too, we can call you Anonymous, because hiding can be fun too, right?