Where are you now?

I was in a group discussion the other day. We were talking about how some communities can be a wonderful safe space an individual can grow and be encourage to do so with safety, peace, and love. It was an awesome conversation to witness and also be apart of and got me excited for how this little community was growing and moving as a whole. 

Peace with sadness – felt pen and water colour on paper

Apart of this discussion was that we spilt off into groups and talked together about different topics. One of the questions was “Where are you now?” That is a really intriguing question because I have never really thought too deeply about this. Most people have either asked me these types of questions with either a future or a passed tense, never the present, ie. “What are you doing?” “What have you been up too?” “Have you got any plans XYZ….? ” Never simply “where are you now?”

We were all given a small scrap of paper that we had to write either one or two words in response to this question, and pop it in the middle of the table. Now I was a little freaked out about this at first, because I did not know what to write. There was no correct answer, I could have said sitting in my my chair and that would have been fine. However even though I was indeed sitting in a chair, in a sense it would not have been completely honest. So after the initial panic of, what do I say, It came to me. 

You see as a non boundary placer/holder I would gloss over, wave away, or make light of this type of question. It is easier to do this than lifting the surface, especially in-front of people I do not know very well. This flippant response to deeper questions was a usual M.O of mine, it made (me) people comfortable and any further questioning would be directed else where leaving me nice and safe, balancing on the surface, not requiring any boundary placement what so ever. 

You see by setting boundaries, not only does it prevent people treating you badly it is also a guide for how people are to see you. Setting boundaries forces you to claim and show yourself as a solid personality. You have to stand there and say “this is me, this is how I want to be seen” there is no compromise there is no “This is me if thats OK with you” or “This is me but I can change that if you like”. It is simply “This is me, you need to respect this.” 

So where was I now? 

It is funny how the universe can place you in a space that can give you an opportunity to grow, it is just up to you to take it. You see recently I have just realised I have never consciously put boundaries up and have only done so in the dramatic sense, mostly out of fear and anger, to an external event. I have never done it willingly, I have never really shown many people the real me until it is absolutely required. Why? Mostly I had no idea who I really was. 

You see, quite recently I have started understanding who I am, and for the first time I feel unapologetically confident being this person, not the person who I want to be, not the person I feel everyone wants to see, but simply the person I am. However this journey is not finished, I am still learning the different ascpets of myself, as I have been so good at pushing others away I have also done this to myself, but I am sure the rest of me will show with time, giving me space to unfurl my wings, soaring into love and peace.

So what was the answer to this thought provoking question? Where are you now? 

Well the answer was easy, I am recovering from sadness. I never fully understood the notion of sitting with sadness until now. Sadness was something you needed to be afraid of, it wasn’t allowed to be. If you felt sad, there had to be a reason, there had to be a fault, there was something wrong with you, “here eat something it will make you feel better.” Sadness could not just be. 

However, this is incorrect, sadness is apart of us all, it can be big like a loud thunder clap or it can be small, hidden like a pea underneath a mattress. But once you simply acknowledge it and see it for just what it is, respecting its place as apart of you, this sadness will not leave, but you will find peace with it, you can find safety within the sadness, allowing you to move forward.

This is what has inspired my latest work, a water colour illustration titled “Peace with Sadness” felt pen and water colour on paper.

I hope everyone is having a peaceful start to the week and may you endeavour to find where you are a peaceful and safe space. Stay safe everyone and know you are loved.  

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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