Dear Future Jenn

Dear Future Jenn,

I know you’ll look back in a few years time and think ‘What the Hell was I thinking?’ You’ll be feeling guilty that you spent your spare time drawing, and it’ll probably be the only thing that you’ll really remember from this period in your life.

But, try to push that strange, guilty feeling of ‘I didn’t do enough,’ aside and try and remember a few other points.

Like, most of the time it feels like you’re in this alone. Sure, you’re married and have a loving, caring husband – but during the day it’s just you. Doing everything. On your own. There wasn’t anyone you can impose upon a ten minute walk away to get things off your mind, or hand Marcus over to play with for a while so you can clear your thoughts – it was just you and the house and the dog and Marcus.

Also, remember you went to baby groups three or four times a week to play with different toys and so that Marcus could interact with children his own age and start being a social little Mr. And, because of the choices you made, you got to be a part of that and enjoy that time with him. Not everyone gets to witness their child growing up and to personally take them to such places – this was a good thing for the both of you and don’t worry too much that you didn’t get close to any other Mums, you were there for your son during his formative years.

Remember that you tried to make the most of the time you had together; remember the trials and the anger and the guilt, but remember more that you did your best. Yes, you did a lot of drawing during this time, but that was a sort of therapy to you. You drew because it helped you to forget that you felt lonely and isolated – drawing for people online made you feel like there were people that you could talk too; even if it was fleeting it helped you too cope with the trivial day to day struggles that you couldn’t get off your chest any other way.

It was difficult enough, without you beating yourself up over it now.

Also remember, you wrote this on a particularly bad day in the best and worst month in the year, but you got through it again – it won’t always feel this gloomy!


Past Jenn

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How have you been?

Hello everyone.

I wanted to know how you have all been?

And, I’ll share with you what I have been doing! Mostly, I have been making a huge complicated mess of things! I’ve often tried having a blog dedicated to a single thing; like art or book reviews or wargaming (never video gaming though) and while I’ve been able to keep at it for a month or so, I never seem to be able to hack longer than that before I flip-change and want to write about something else.

It’s a mistake I keep making with the end and inevitable result being I come crawling back here with regret all over my face.

Which is what I am doing again now.

I’m facing it with that same resolve as ever though; I’ll just stick to things over here from now on. I honestly just need to repeat a mantra that I am a person of different levels and interests and trying to compartmentalise my life and thoughts is exhausting and far, far too time consuming.

So, if you’ll forgive the mess that I keep making, I’ll carry on here and pretend nothing happened and just blog everything under one roof because there is to much to my life and thoughts that just a single aspect.


Jenn

Bury Agricultural Show

I’ve been holding off on writing this blog post, mostly because I have been wondering how it really relates to my creative journey and my artwork. Yet, the desire to post and talk about this even has still been within me, so maybe it’s just through writing this post that I’ll find out?

Bury Agricultural Show is an annual even, hosted at Burrs Country Park close to where I live each year. It’s family orientated show, with a host of different events, animals and entertainment acts throughout the day. Although we didn’t spend that much time at the show this year, mostly due to a rather poor offering of things to look at. There was a good show of horses and people doing various things in the arenas, yet on the side of stalls we found the show a little on the dull side – which is a shame compared to previous offerings.

However, seeing the animals with my son was really sweet. He found particular entertainment in the chickens, ducks and sheep which are more on his eye level.

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I think it was while we were at the show I realised just how important out-doorsy and naturey stuff is to me, and us as a family, while on our recent holiday we did a lot of walking around new places and we all had a wonderful time; even the dog who like all other dogs, loves his walks. So, it was here that I really started thinking about how I could get that important element into my artwork.

I am still yet to try out my most recent art idea for getting nature involved, but I have gotten a few elements in place so that I can start when I get a bit more spare time – I am hoping to get a start on something tomorrow and I am really, really excited about doing so, which I cannot tell you quite how amazing that feels. I am actually excited about art and creating something! I’ve not had that feeling in such a long time! Not about art at any rate. So things are actually starting to work.


Jenn

Thoughts

The nice weather has got me thinking that I should be outside painting and enjoying the sun – but whenever I think about doing anything remotely art related I just think of all the canvas’ I’ve already got finished upstairs and how they’re gathering dust because I have absolutely no business knowledge or any ideas what to do with them.

The truth is, I enjoy painting, I enjoy doodle artwork, I enjoy furry fandom artwork and I enjoy writing. I don’t have the ability to focus on just one thing and stick with it for any real length of time without facing burnout and ending up unable to do any of these things for a length of time.

I think burnout is fine (or as fine as it can be) when you’re an established artist (or writer, or blogger or any other thing that can be established) But when you face it after a short length of time and you’re a noboby facing eviction from nowhere land, then it impacts you more. It hurts and damages you, knocks your confidence maybe?

Imagine, you’re just trying to get off the ground with a new venture. You put everything into it and then whollop, you’ve been burning the candle at both ends and just can’t seem to do anything anymore. It’s especially difficult when there is little to encourage you to keep going. Sure, you’ve got your cheerleaders behind you; your friends and family, that’ll support you, but other than that, reaching out feels like it’s next to impossible.

I’d love to have an art career, I’d love to be able to tell people that as well as a full-time Mum I am an artist, because right now I honstly just feel like a failure. I’ve no income and completely relying on my Husband for everything and despite is having the talk of ‘Thats what we agreed on’ I sometimes feel like it isn’t fair on him to provide for us on his own.

But… as with everything, it seems like art and selling is more of a popularity contest than anything else. You get popular on sites like Society6, more people see your work, you sell more. Your not popular. You’ve had it! You’re popular among the Furry Art Community, you get support and commissioned (Seemingly regardless of artistic merit) You don’t have the right friends, you’ve had it! To the point where I joked with someone that you need an ‘Art Sugar Daddy’

I know, I know, it’s mostly my own fault because I have asolutely no sticking power or dedication to keep something going. I don’t know why but I shoot myself in my own foot because as soon as I am ‘getting somewhere’ and talk to people I completely clam up and run for the hills as though getting close to people is a problem – which it really is, but thats a story for another time.

Thank you modern society values

I feel the need to rant, and I’m sorry if what I am going to rant about doesn’t resonate with you, but I feel like I need to get this off my chest.

I just want to say the biggest fuck you I can to those out there that think as a full-time Mum, I sit on my ass all day and do nothing! Being a Mum isn’t all luxury hot chocolates in cafes with other Mummy friends or lazing at home in PJs watching crappy day time television with the kiddo. Sure, it’s not the mega stress that I am sure a lot of women will lead you to believe either, but it’s still damned hard work and tricky as anything to get right. Or even feel like you’re getting right. Mostly it’s being tired the second your child is asleep, looking over at your partner wondering if you really know them anymore because you can’t remember the last time you did anything with them, just the two of you. But it’s a decent, wonderful thing to do which you only get validation for when you look at your child’s face when they’re finally asleep and down for the night.

And of course, everyone in the wider world has an opinion on both parenthood and the way that you are doing your parenting specifically. Judgement is rife! Honestly, people who work a ‘normal’ job will be resentful because you get to stay at home all day and do nothing without knowing how hard it can be unless they’ve been there themselves. 

But most of all, I just want to say the biggest up yours to those that make full time Mums feel like being a full time Mum isn’t good enough. Feminists that belittle women that choose to stay at home rather than pursue a career; believing them to be doing women a great disservice because they chose to bring up their children themselves. Heaven forbid a woman that wants to be a Mother rather than carry the flag of activism against a patriarchal society!

I once had a friend that believed everything wrong with the world was the fault of people that chose to have children. I didn’t understand this logic, but never questioned it until I had a child of my own – then I just labelled them as strange and moved on. If their parents didn’t have a child then he wouldn’t exist, if everyone followed that mentality then there would be precious few of us left in the world! 

It’s an odd and ugly world out there right now, people you don’t know pass glances at you for the choices you make and way to do everything in their power to say that their way is the right and only way to do things. This really isn’t the case. Sorry I don’t share the sentiment of most feminists, I love being an active part in my sons childhood. If that’s not the choice that you’ve made as a woman or as a fellow parents then that is comepletely your choice – but don’t make me feel like utter shit because it’s not ‘good enough’ in your little heads. 

Victory Not Vengeance

dsc02487For Christmas this year, I was very lucky to have been brought two tickets to go and see a group I love very much. VNV Nation. They are a group that I have treasured for many years and for some personal reasons too. So, my sister and I trogged off to go and see them at Manchesters Student Union Bar for one of the most personal and heart warming gigs I have ever been too (Not that I have been to many gigs, but hey-ho)

The venue was rather small, which actually really helped the gig feel a lot more personal. We had a good place at the back of the venue where we could still see everything and let the music flow – neither of us are the type to want to be barged about at a gig, it’s all about the music. What really struck me was how sincere the ‘Thank you,’ sounded at the end of a song, and the personal compliments to the crowd. They all sounded absolutely genuine, not a hollow, arrogant sort of ‘Thanks’ that I seem to remember from other concerts.

I am used to gigs having support bands playing first. Here, there was no such thing. It was all VNV Nation all the way! From start, right up to kick-out time. It was absolutely amazing, the energy was just sublime, from both VNV and the crowd – I think I only stopped bouncing to run to the ladies room.

There was a real sense of belonging, a connection to other people at the gig, even though we were a little removed from the main assembly. And I admit, it brought a tear to my eye when I heard Illusion being sung. And they played all the ‘favourites’ as well. Which was wonderful to hear. Beloved. Homeward. Chrome. Electronaught. All the ones that I had doubts about them doing (Because they might be a bit old) So I was just stoked.

It was a humbling experience and I am so pleased to have been able to be a part of such a small gig. I apologise for my ‘crappy’ photos, but I was there to experience the music and atmosphere not stand behind my camera – which brings me to another wonderful point. VNV have no qualms about being photographed or filmed, as long as you don’t use a flash or get in someone else way. Both points are backed up regularly by Ronan (The singer) who sees it as his job to get you to enjoy the show, rather than feel stuck behind a screen. Another humbling aspect in my opinion.

What more can I say, other than thank you VNV Nation for shining your light on me.

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10 songs I am into right now

Okay, tricky list right now. I’m not really up-to-date and ‘hip’ when it comes to music. I have songs I’ve been listening to death for the past 7 years and still into! But here we go!

Lacuna Coil – Losing my Religion
Disturbed – Sound of Silence
Vitas – The Star
VNV Nation – Homeward
Lady Gaga – Electric Chapel
Hozier – Take me to Church
Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
Silent Hill Soundtrack – You’re not here
James Blunt – Tears and Rain
Take That – Kidz

My tastes in music are pretty varied and I have added some links to youtube videos incase you’d like to check them out.

I just noticed there wasn’t any P!nk on this list, which makes me feel somewhat sad.

Plenty of religious references though. Hurrah!