...It's something every creative person wants to know, right? And I think I've found the answer... at least for me, anyway.
And the answer is so far from what I imagined it to be; Something I thought I'd rather stick my head up an elephants bum, than actually do... and something completely non-creative. And actually, even though the answer sucks even more precious time from my already busy days, I feel more and more inclined to draw/paint/write whenever I can as a result.
And it's all down to energy levels, both physical and mental. It really is as simple as that! Who knew??
So... just how did I go from feeling like I'd been put through a washing machine cycle, squished through a mangle and hung out to dry... to feeling fresh off the shelf? Well, I added the gym to my already bursting diary! Okay, so I did a little bit more than that, in the form of a complete lifestyle change... But exercise, I think has been the key. Seriously!
From the 1st September, I changed my diet completely. And I did it because over the next few weeks not only am I working on a bloody huge commission, but I've also been summoned for Jury Service. Humph! I've a good mind to throw whoever it is in jail, just for dragging me away from my studio!! (Oops! Did I actually say that out loud??)
Aside from that, I run my husbands business for 30 hours a week, not to mention keeping up with the other stuff that marriage and motherhood brings... shopping, cooking, cleaning, dog walking... I knew that if I didn't do something pretty drastic, I was never going to be able to cope with all of the added extras I was about to take on... I needed to find a way to up my energy levels (preferably legally), if I was ever going to do it without having a complete melt-down. And divorce really isn't an option as even after 24 years, annoyingly I still love the guy. Shouldn't I at least be a little bit bored by now?? Apparently not!
So, in preparation for the tasks ahead... I completely cut out all yummy flavoured, tasty foods and swapped them for cardboard-like alternatives, such as grains and oats. I'm currently also full of unidentifiable 'green stuff'...vegetables, fish, nuts, super-foods, juices etc. Also, I cut out drinking beer at home and instead I enjoy (or rather endure) the odd glass of red, but only when I feel like it and not 'just because it's Friday.' And besides, a detox does seem like a good idea on the lead up to Christmas, right?
Not that I'm going to pretend I'll never over-indulge again... After all, there is nothing more fun than falling out of a taxi, waking up in a skip (it's been done) and spending the day with my head down the toilet wondering what on earth I did the night before, but understanding nevertheless that it must have been sensational amounts of fun for me to be in such a near death state the following morning... But once I reach my optimum fitness level, let's just say that I will be doing things in a little more moderation (most of the time) in order to maintain my newly found fitness level!
Anyway, when I started these changes, I presumed that in time it might help me to up my energy levels a bit, but I had no idea just how 'bionic woman-like' I would feel in such a short amount of time! There is something to be said for all of this 'my body is a temple' malarkey after all!
On the 1st October, I decided to add joining the local health club to the equation. Since then, I've been alternating between working out in the gym and swimming, five times a week, determined to have a bum like two tennis balls by December. I think my body has gone in to shock, but the last time I felt this fit was probably a decade ago!
And I realised over the weekend as I was working on my large commission, that I had been standing up for 4 hours straight. Normally I sit down to paint, partly by habit and partly pure laziness! But for a canvas this size, sitting down is impossible. I realised that had I not have prepared myself for this in the way that I have, I would have found it physically far more difficult to stand for that length of time and I'm sure my back would be suffering the consequences already... But it feels good. I feel good. And the most surprising result is, that I feel the urge to sketch and paint almost all of the time, regardless of where I am or what I'm doing... so I'm picking up my pencils at times when I would normally almost certainly be 'flagging.'
I can't deny that I hurt. I hurt everywhere. Even my eyebrows hurt. But I'm noticing of course that my muscles are becoming more and more defined. No pain, no gain, right? And this comes at a good time as I need all the strength I can get to kick my 'inner critic's' arse out of my studio!!
Yep... she's back... sitting on my shoulder, yacking away in my ear as I paint! But I'm doing a good job of ignoring her and just focussing on the task in front of me.
Q. Meanwhile, how do you shut yours? (Share in the comments below)
Week in a nutshell...
Enjoyed:This interview with Author/Playwright 'Lita Doolan' Planning: Our next Podcast episode, this time looking at creative online challenges Watching: 'Our Girl' So far, so good! Inspired by: 'Big Problems'... Could not have plopped in to my inbox at a better time!
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