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Gauntlet Thrown - Challenge Accepted.

And the Ass Saw the Angel - Nick Cave

The #100dayproject was probably one of my biggest challenges to date. Not only was it just a huge challenge to paint 100 pictures is as many days, but there were others too.

Starting with my nemesis; Pacing. Since developing fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue I have been faced with this brick wall that I can't seem to get over, around, or knock a few bricks out to see through. I had always been very active, a keen cyclist, hiking/photography, work on 4 hours sleep kinda girl. To suddenly find that you can't do these things any more is the hardest part. The constant pain is a mind over matter (providing it's fibro pain and not pain there for an actual reason), with depression you can use CBT techniques, I have never found any trick to combat fatigue, not in the 10 years that I have been managing it myself without the use of medication. In fact, getting rid of the medication was a huge help, but beyond that, once the fatigue takes hold, I just have to go with it.

Finding the things that trigger fatigue and avoiding them is the closest thing so when I was planning what I would do for this project, I had to take into consideration fatigue.

Doing the paintings first thing in the morning before work, while I had no distractions and more energy, but also setting myself a time limit. This meant carefully choosing books that could be translated simply into a quick painting. Each painting took 30mins, from start to finish (except for the time it spent rolling around in my mind - the planning). It naturally became part of the day. There were only a few days where I just couldn't manage it but I refused to give up, just dusted myself down and picked it back up again.

The Butterly Ball - Alan Aldridge

Enters Anxiety, my old friend. I've been a shy, anxious girl for as long as I can remember but when you're a kid, you can get away with not saying a word, refusing participation and shying away from parts of life that require standing up and speaking. I think it comes from moving around all the time as a child, being put through the same situation, over and over. Introducing myself, putting myself in the spotlight. But as you get older, you pick up tricks, not necessarily dealing with the issue, but skirting around it.

Even though, after being a felt and knitting tutor for years, where showing my own work off was the norm, showing it to the world was an entirely different thing, even from behind a screen. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and will not usually show any work unless I am absolutely happy with it. During this project, I didn't have time or the materials to do things twice. What I had produced, had to be what I showed. That was hard and I hid away from Instagram for the day so I couldn't see any 'likes' and just moved on to the next one. I learned some important lesson from this; 1: I missed all the lovely comments despite what I thought of the painting. 2: I discovered what it is people like/dislike about my paintings. Being able to analyse this was incredibly useful to me and by the end of the project I think I got to grips with it all.

The Land and The Sea - Kyffin Williams.

Almost everything I do poses a challenge, mostly my choice. I like challenging myself, my abilities, my mind, my issues. Just because the challenge is not at the same speed as they used to be does not mean it's not a challenge. The lessons and sense of achievement is worth all the struggle.

I suppose the moral of the story is that there's a real person behind each Instagram, Twitter or Facebook page, another human being, who if you saw in the street, would maybe just pass by, or smile. It wouldn't even occur to you to comment on their appearance or their life choices so just because there's a screen between you does not give anyone the right to do so. We all...ALL have our demons, our challenges, they are what makes us who we are. We should be sharing our knowledge, helping others grow and setting an example to the next generation.

I thank everyone who follows me, sends a 'like', reads my ramblings, buys my work, from the bottom of my heart.

If you'd like to sign up for the 100 day project next year, click this link

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