Lisa Congdon is an illustrator, artist and author who, ironically, is very successful, despite the fact that she doesn't see herself as such, and this is something that she touches upon in her talk. Bizarely for me, I had no idea what to expect from an illustrator who was talking to bloggers, but as though she had seen straight into the very workings of my brain, she talked about all the areas I have been mulling over for far too long.
In current times we all now have a platform to air our thoughts publicly through this thing called BLOG, and when you talk to most bloggers you will find that they came to it almost by accident, they assumed that no-one other than their mum would read it (speedily followed by a phone call from her asking if they were ok), and actually for me it was because I didn't have a mum or dad any longer that I started.
Strange yes, but I started to take photos again, my father had taught me and it felt like a fitting tribute to him to become good at it. I also needed to sit and focus on the positive things in life as the death of both parents had left me with mental health problems. So what better way to focus than to write a blog with nice pictures about all the good stuff. I never thought anyone would see it.
So now a few years down the line, I see I have been joined here by lots of people and this has brought me to a crossroads.
During my years of working in the music business I saw that with many artists fame brings responsibility, and I really admire people who go "look, Im well-known enough now that if I talk about something I can make a positive change" - Bob Geldof led the way. Andy Bell from Erasure talked a lot about HIV and AIDS, Moby would speak about animal rights and some of the other artists I worked with spoke about their drug addictions. And maybe because it was a time before the dreaded Twitter, they could do so and not get lots of insults from anonymous trolls.
So whatever your reach, whether its just your mate over a coffee, or a few hundred people you have never met, it is in my opinion good to tell people stuff that might help them in their lives. However, this often leads you into the 'vulnerability hangover', the after thoughts that follow the dinner party when you had a few wines and became the life and soul. The blog post where you 'share' about personal things.
So this is what Lisa and Kate did this weekend, they shared their vulnerabilities, their insecurities, and guess what, we all had the same ones. They told us that we are not alone with feeling insecure. (Interestingly they too have lots of tattoos, which comforted me enormously, and is totally unrelated).
It is our own insecurities that stop us sharing the deep down dark stuff because we think that maybe we will be locked up, judged and that no-one else could possibly be this bonkers and so we hold it in and thus perpetuate the myth that no-one else has self doubt, it is a vicious cycle.
So my dilemma here was this, I have been sharing my happy stuff, my pretty stuff, and my seemingly perfect life stuff ... but guess what? There is a lot of other shit happening!! It worries me that while us bloggers share their 'perfect life' photos we are fuelling the pursuit of perfection which is, quite frankly, bollocks.
I don't want to start taking messy photos, I would like my photography to remain my meditation and my practise of an art-form, so the photos here will remain in the same style - (that which is pleasing to my eye). If you could see the chaos that is in my house daily, trust me you don't want to see the piles of clothes on my bedroom floor (I call it the floordrobe) or the unwashed dishes. However, I do want to 'talk' more about real life stuff, and as Im approaching 57 years old I may have some things to say that can help and re-assure some of the younger ladies.
I will, of course, continue to share cool stuff I've found in the shops and what I've done with my house, the urban jungle fun, the styling the seasons moments, it won't all be doom and gloom, but as I want to take you with me I thought I should start now with my story. So far here, I have felt that the words were just padding to the photos, I was embarrassed to write too much about 'me' but this weekend has changed my view point on that and I want to be more honest.
So, for Kate from "A Playful Day" - you were my WOW moment, and this is the start of a new path for me, I've stood at the crossroads for far too long wondering which way to go, and here it is.. the road to god knows where .. let's just hope I don't disappear up my own back passage.