My New Era

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Where I have moved to in Amsterdam West. I live in a lovely ground floor apartment opposite this park and close to the canal. Its like living in a forest compared to my former home in inner London. Its so very quiet here!

Hello everyone 🙂
As some of you know, I have moved to live in Amsterdam. I plan to set up a studio from which i will do my sculpture work in clay, sewing soft sculptures and create bespoke clothing and soft furnishings. I have decided to return to this blog in order to record the progress of this mini adventure. It has been a great start 3 weeks in. There are also issues arising – because this is life!
My current issue is with an infestation in my new apartment. The past residents did not have hygiene at the top of their list, so i inherited a community of…cockroaches….EWUGH!!! They began to show their faces about a week ago. I got into such a state today and wrote this piece of writing (below) for the Gratitude Project that I am part of on Facebook, run by Iris Van Ooyen I am using this to update this blog today and contribute a few lines and photos each week to mark my progress:

Day 17 Thursday 2nd October
I’m feeling very isolated with a problem I’ve discovered in my new home – cockroaches 😦 I tried chatting to a good friend about it and she just squealed in disgust constantly! I’m now afraid to tell any of my friends about this. My partner is very blasé about it and tells me i have to accept it as this is an old building and ground floor location. Its not possible to block all the holes to keep them out. I am LIVID! I feel so unsupported and isolated. I’m struggling to see the ‘benefit’ in this and I’m near to tears. I got some boric acid and made up poison which i’ve put everywhere. All my foodstuffs are sealed in containers. This morning was the last straw for me, as i found one climbing up my Buddhist altar! I now feel that the whole apartment is heaving with them – a whole commune of them under the floorboards just waiting for dark then they take over the place. I know I’m sounding quite hysterical, but i’m feeling very overwhelmed. Most of my belongings are still in boxes so now i’m panicking thinking they’re living in the boxes with my stuff!!!

I wrote that first paragraph around 10am this morning and have sat here in a pretty vulnerable state for 2 hours, crying my eyes out. I tried but couldn’t think of anything to be grateful about, I was just too upset. As I sobbed and sobbed it slowly dawned on me that it is not just about cockroaches. Thats just triggering other stuff I realised. I decided to seek out what the bigger picture was about this infestation. What do I have to learn from this? As I asked my life this question, the word that came to me ‘out-of-the-blue’ was SHAME! I wanted to talk and share my pain but was too ashamed to even talk to my close friends about it for fear of being judged/rejected/mocked/not taken seriously.

So not very surprised. I also realised I had shame of failure AND success. I was afraid of setting up my studio and working for fear of it all failing. Then shame would say “see, I told you so! It was a stupid idea. What the hell were you thinking? Go back to teaching, know your place!” Then there was the shame of success: “Who the hell do i think i am trying to be successful? I’m not that good enough”

I then did some hours of online browsing to avoid facing this ‘shame’. I then stumbled on Brené Brown’s TEDtalks on shame and vulnerability . They were recommended to mien the past by my counsellor and others, but I’d never watched them before today. It rang so many bells of recognition I got a headache! 🙂

I made avid notes and then decided that i needed to act with courage and not hide away putting up a ‘front’ of success and ‘isn’t-everything-wonderful’. Yes things ARE great, but there is also shitty stuff happening, like the mosquitos that haunt me each day (I’m clearly a delicacy for them) and the cockroaches all over my new apartment. There, I’ve said it. Yes. F**king roaches 😦 I’ve been silent about these monsters since I spotted them 2 weeks ago because i felt shame. That if I shared the fact i had cockroaches people will think of me as being bad, nasty, unclean etc., my plan of moving to Amsterdam is now doomed. I am still afraid of that, I am afraid of ‘losing connection’ and ‘losing face’. But having been inspired by René, I am diving in and embracing vulnerability. I may run the risk of losing friends and not having any visitors because of this. Maybe my plans will fail. Well, I will still continue to work at loving myself and being the best i can be (as i top up the poison, block more holes and squash the nasty buggers to death!).

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