Safe Spaces

I put a shell by the west window. There's a bit of water there for the Costus rhizome. It's Sunday. There's thumping music from two households nearby. It will be village fiesta on Tuesday. Some people are celebrating. I think many aren't. There's no running water for 5 days now. It has been raining hard. It is overcast and cold. I love it because the sound of the rain drown out the noisy thumping music. The rain is harvested in the ponds for animals to drink and for cleaning and washing. I like this corner, I feel safe here.


I started this painting the other day. I set it aside for a while because there were lots of other things to do all of a sudden. The roof is being cleaned and repainted. The outside kitchen is being renovated. The indoor toilet and bath will be renovated soon. There's a lot of junk  in the garden and under the house that need to be thrown away. But the village and municipal authorities are not collecting garbage anymore. The island has a garbage disposal problem. People burn their garbage instead. They do this at night. During this time you can smell garbage and plastic being burnt. It's not good for the health. Lung disease will be on the rise again, like what happened four years ago.


The south window is darker so I put a lamp there. I paint here. I started a new painting. This is someone with two children and two cats. I want to start painting other people. I am comfortable painting myself. I want to be comfortable painting others. I often worry that when I paint others they might not like it, they might get offended by my depiction of them. I have no real reason to worry about that because this painting is not a commission, the people in the painting did not ask me to paint them. When I paint my pigs, I don't worry that my pigs will not like my painting of them. 



I put a whiteboard in my room. I got this whiteboard several years ago but I didn't use it. I wanted to plan things but I couldn't. But now I think I can do it. I wrote about the pigs and the date they were in heat. I wrote the date when they return to heat. I wrote the date when they were artificially inseminated. I hope they are pregnant now. It would be wonderful to have piglets again. I love piglets. It's hard work but I love it.


I use ceramic saucers as palette. They are very good for the purpose. I use acrylic paints now. The paints are water based and don't have irritating odors. I want to work with oil paints soon, but I can't do that in my room. When the outside kitchen is turned into an art studio, that's where I'll paint with oils. I designed it to be open, well ventilated and well illuminated. It will be wonderful.


I am still doing Intermittent Fasting. During the fast, I drink water, tea, sometimes I drink coffee. This is my kitty cup. This had a lid with the head of a cat. But our cat had a fight with an outside cat and broke the lid. The handle of this cup broke too. But I put it together with some contact cement.


It gets cold in the night. The blanket is furry. My mother sent it to me several years ago. The cushion is for my reading chair. I got it a few weeks ago. I love the colors. I love colorful things now. I think I've always loved color. I am starting to see things better. I can focus a bit better now too. The Intermittent Fasting helps. I feel safe and comfortable with this blanket and cushion. It really feels wonderful I can't describe it enough.

I really like how I managed to transform this room. This used to be our bedroom, my husband slept here. Now I sleep alone here and I feel safe. I didn't realize what safe felt like until I made a safe physical space for myself.


My cat Little Grey stayed outside. She liked staying in the outside kitchen because the indoor cat Electricia bullied her. But now Little Grey stays indoor because the outside kitchen is being renovated. She's not so afraid of Electricia anymore. She's still nervous though. She's on the mat looking towards the studio making sure Electricia doesn't attack her.


I put a pot of basil plant by the kitchen window. I got some coriander leaves from the supermarket. There are roots so I planted the coriander. Maybe the coriander will survive. I love coriander leaves, I love the flavor, it is one of my favorites. I notice coriander leaves and grapes go together very well.

A friend gave me amaranthus seeds from her garden. She has a wonderful young garden with lots of things growing. Her garden will be a rich natural garden with forest spaces that are safe for wild species of plants and animals. I planted some of the amaranthus seeds already. There's more and I will plant them when the rain stops. I had mahogany and coconut trees cut a couple of months ago so there's much more sunny spaces in the garden. Now I can grow sun-loving plants. The flowers will love it.

I love my safe spaces. I am not afraid. I can paint and write freely. I didn't have these spaces and these feelings for the past 17 years. It's not too late. 

Yet there are still a few spaces that feel scary for me. One place is the corner where I pass when I go to Tagbilaran City. I'm in a tri-cab and I pass there. It's the corner of the place where my ex-therapist holds his clinic. I feel strange when I pass there. Sometimes I look if there are patients there. I worry about the patients because I know the psychologist there is unskilled and badly trained. I once saw a woman come out of his clinic and she was distraught. She said the psychologist asked her to do some cognitive reframing. She was gesturing with both hands over her head. I didn't think that would work out well. The psychotherapist was supposed to help her challenge her thoughts and change them. But you can't just tell someone to do this without helping them gain the skills first. My new therapist is very good. She asked me to identify some unhelpful thoughts. She did not use the psychological jargon "cognitive reframing." And she asked me to do this after I became better at managing my emotions. It's hard and can be harmful to try challenging your own thoughts if you can't regulate your emotions first. The woman that came out of the clinic looked like she was emotionally overwhelmed.

So, I feel emotionally disturbed when I pass by that corner. The high stone walls of the facility is imposing and disturbing. There's some religious signs on the huge front gate. That gave me a bad feeling. One day I will overcome these negative feelings. I have a very good tri-cab driver. I feel safe when he's the one driving.



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