Hello there you! Here you will find stuff about living a creative life in country Australia. I am an illustrator who also creates, takes photos, faffs, teaches & hosts workshops. Watercolour, collage, colour, cheese, salads, travel, collecting, & dreaming make me ridiculously happy. And gardening. And op-shops. And art supplies. And the word serendipity. And you reading this. Oh and so you know, all the art & photos you see on here are done by me!

Friday, 8 June 2018

THE INVISIBILITY OF THE COMMONPLACE

THE INVISIBILITY 
OF THE COMMONPLACE



There is nothing so invisible as the commonplace. So ordinary that we do not see them, so plain and unassuming that we pay them no heed. They do not make us notice them until they are out of place, do something or are seen somewhere out of their expected domain maybe. Or maybe someone has drawn our attention to them. 

Like the breadtag. Or breadtie or breadclip, whatever you choose to call them. To me they are breadtags.

They are just there, they just do their own little thing. Single use, disposable and humble.  But since I started The Breadtag Project, it is AMAZING how many people have messaged me to say... I AM NOW SEEING THEM EVERYWHERE.  

And I do too. I see them on the ground, in car parks, on shelves, on picnic benches and in gutters, amongst other places.

And like me, they are noticing them in the supermarket on breads, the fruit and veg section. They are noticing the colours and shapes and size. And seeing how many different types there are. 


And it has been making me think... I know that some may say it is a long bow to draw, but the the little breadtag reminds me of mental health issues. 

Why? Why would I say this? Huh?

Because for the longest time, mental health issues was not paid much attention to. It was unseen. Unnoticed. Hiding in plain sight.  But all around us. Common but invisible, unless you were looking for it. Or had to live with it, or deal with it.

It has always been there, always been part of our world. But ignored if we could. Shame, fear, mistrust, miseducated and misinformed, in the past the general population did not seem to want or need to know. We shied way from it. 

Slowly, very slowly, over time, thanks to many wonderful brave people, many organisations, programs, specialists, ordinary people, amazing people, have raised the profile and the importance of mental health issues. We have begun to notice. We have begun to see that there are many types, shapes, colours, symptoms, levels of, peculiarities, aspects to, and varieties of mental health issues.


I have had low self esteem all my life, and this developed into depression and anxiety in my early twenties. But I had a great support system, and I had instinctive desire to live with it, not let it define me. I went travelling, and did not let it have the time nor energy to take hold again. Instead I filled my days with new adventures, sights, sounds and smells. I stepped outside myself and soaked up all the wonder. I had diaries, and I drew, sketched and scrapbooked tickets and ephemera as souvenirs. I drank it all in. 

I got back to Australia, I moved to the country. My hubby and I began breeding. I started my second degree by distance education. Life was full and busy. I honestly cannot remember if depression was there all the time. I know it was when I lost a baby between my first and second child, and I needed counselling. I was aware that my emotions could tip wildly. But I was always exhausted, and thought that might be to blame. 


I started teaching. I stayed full and busy and life was never dull. I functioned, with moments of despair. Then...  it snuck up on me. Something was happening. It happened incrementally. It happened so that I could try to ignore it. It happened so that my family were not fully aware of how much I was struggling. Until eventually, circumstances brought it to the fore. I crashed and burned. Badly. I started seeing doctors and counsellors, and thought it would get better. 

But it got worse. Much worse. I had new diagnosis. I was put on meds. I had lots of counselling. I had to talk about it all, seemingly ad infinitum. Because it was no longer invisible. It was right there in my house, with me. Next to me, part of me, all through me. 


And so I started a new project then too. Project GET BETTER. Project live with this, and live WELL. 

And 5 years on, I do. I live with it, I manage it. I see it, I appreciate it, I acknowledge it, I know its range, its moods, its colours, its forms. Its types, its characteristics. I still dance with it, and it plays tricks with me, and from time to time I forget to appreciate how beautiful and wonderful just simple happiness and contentment is so bloody awesome.  Simple is good. So good.

And so... sometimes I have thought about mental health  and mental health issues like a breadtag. Lots of varieties, taken for granted, unappreciated and common. 

And... the subject of my new project.


Time to make people notice!

*ADDENDUM*
Edited June 9 June
In the last few days, two well known creative, people, talented, successful, people have died, at their own hands, and drawn attention to mental health issues. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE 
if you feel depressed, anxious, overwhelmed then talk to people who are around you. Tell them , tell them tell them, communicate, even if it is with tears, that you are in pain. If you are angry, anxious, scared, feel hopeless. Keep telling them. Keep expressing it. Tell them you need help. There is so much more understanding now. Trust in them, and yourself.
Contact Lifeline, Beyond Blue, and other organisations. Ring the doctors, the local hospital. Put a message on Facebook or ring a friend. PLEASE! 


  Read my first blog post about the Breadtag project HERE.

I am still, and will be for ages, collecting stories, anecdotes, poems, art, interesting stuff, photos of peoples collections, etc etc etc... 
I would love to hear from you! Drop me alone here or on my Facebook page,
 The Breadtag Project
or message me on Instagram @rarepearstudio