Canvasses come in many shades of blank. Sometimes you start painting a picture and you realise it’s not flowing- not working- not looking right when you take a moment to step back.
This is what happened with me. I was considering a job application for something locally. I thought it’d be perfect, all I wanted-until I realised it wasn’t.
I only have a set amount of energy to work with. I don’t have overflowing energy. I need to incorporate more rest time than the average person-but not because I’m lazy. I hate that word. I am not lazy- I have just come to learn it is ok to rest when your body and mind is tired-and as someone living with mental health challenges it is not only preferable, but essential.
I’m lay in bed tapping on the laptop. There are a lot of neutral colours around me wherever my eye falls. That’s what I like-subtlety (in interiors anyway).
As much as I love the stimulation of colour in my life-I need a lot of blankness too in order to feel rested and safe.
Applying for the job I was considering would have been adding extra colour and pattern to my life canvas, but I have come to the conclusion that I am someone who needs a certain amount of natural canvas left bare and unpainted in order to feel well and stay well. It frustrates me, but I have to learn to tolerate this aspect of me.
I am resting in bed having a duvet afternoon now, so that during the coming week I have sufficient energy. Retaining some blankness on my canvas of life is my personal insurance policy against overstimulation and overwhelm-two aggressive wellbeing limiters that plague my differently wired mind.
Mental health disorders are not figments of imagination. Our brains and neurotransmitters and synapses and brain regions are literally different, and process life differently and also other people differently. It takes a greater quantity of gas in the tank for people like me, just for our psychological engines to tick over and remain in idle mode-poised and ready to drive ourselves forwards some more when we need or want to. We just need more gas-more fuel-more replenishment.
We achieve that by allowing periods of blankness-rest-inertia-pure nothingness.
We must keep some of the canvas blank.
I’d rather have a blank(er) canvas and allow my imagination to paint pictures, than for the whole canvas to be obscured with bold stripes of colour and murky dirty water chaos.
I like precision and purity-for work to lift my heart-for what I do to be meaningful.
The job was meaningful. I would have been useful to people, but would those people have been useful to me? Would my heart have been enriched by doing that job-or would it have drained my precious reserves? I suspect it is the latter, which is why I held off on applying.
It has been a good thing-to consider adding a new stripe in, as it has reaffirmed how that is one stripe too many, and that I have more than enough to focus on with the projects I already have going on.
I have fallen in love again with blankness.
I know I need it.
It may be a limited life just now…but I have to work within the limitations of my illness. I will not always find life this hard. It will not always be this much of an uphill struggle.
My post-traumatic shine will come-as long as I embrace my greater than average need for blankness-calm-quiet-minimal pressure-minimal productivity. That is OK. I am learning that.
Blankness is part of the canvas of my life. Just as a writer considers how many words are required to describe an idea. I need to consider how many brushstrokes to make on my canvas of everyday living-what saturation of colour-what mix of contrasting colour-and what bits must remain blank.
Today is a designated blank day.
I am keeping today blank to conserve energy for another day where my inner sunshine will burn through and melt the clouds away-creating shine unlimited.
Nobody can shine all the time.
True warriors know that, so are not ashamed of their lesser shiny days.
This post is dedicated to a blogger friend who wrote a brilliant post on this theme. (The truth about being a warrior). I think she and I are very alike as we are both people with inner demons, yet people who also wish to inspire and benefit others by our writing.
In order to shine, we must accommodate space to remain blank and un-scribbled over-[not even with the new sharpie pens that I received yesterday as a surprise pressie from my other half a.k.a Mr perfect] ;)
Liz C…daily warrior. This is for you. I don’t have the concentration to add a link to your blog I’m afraid. Sorry 🙈 But if you leave a comment then people will be able to find you and your fab blog that way. Loads of love to you xxx 😘