Saturday, 31 January 2015

Cloudlands

Have you ever  had that feeling of absolute calm? There's a place I sometimes find myself; It's not a dark cave or an empty desert. It's just a wide open space where sky is infinite and the clouds are floating mountains that seem almost touchable. Sometimes I find myself lost in this chaos of trivial worries and obsession with consuming. Things, all of these things; gadgets, ornaments, clothes & accessories for life, all coming with a promise to improve your existence somehow. It never works though, does it? Nothing fills that void. 

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Friday, 23 January 2015

While We Are Young

I know I'm not alone when it comes to struggling through January. It's an incredibly still month and it feels for a moment as if like all the leaves and puddles, time has frozen, holding us here in this frosty limbo of pale skies, bony trees and dead meadows. Everyone tends to get incredibly excited around autumn for hot spiced drinks and jumpers and Christmas but after the come down from celebrations we're left to return to our jobs/studies and endure the coldest month of the year whilst begging for spring to rear its sleepy head. 
Back home, by the sea, I enjoy the quiet months because it means the coastline is peaceful, free from emmets and often stormy.
But we are young, even if the seasons do make us dizzy as they pass us by causing us to feel like we've seen it all. Last night, I lay in bed looking at Georges wonderful face and we talked about being old one day and I wondered how differently we'd look then, on that day, George's twenty one year old face  would just be a memory and so would mine. There will be dozens more winters to come (if I am lucky) and it seemed foolish to waste them wishing for spring. This is now, life is happening. I am twenty three and my existence is spread out before me like a blank map, a path waiting to be explored. 
I may not have a log burner to huddle up next to, I may not be close right now to the crashing waves and howling winds that I love about the cold months and I may not be in a snowy white wonderland. Winter here right now is basic but that doesn't mean it can't be relished. I have two working feet, the world around me and the company of my best friend and so why shouldn't I cherish winter moments? Let time slow down a little and let my head empty itself ready for all the things that will surely fill it when the flowers come back. 

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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Wizarding Villages

 I'm going to let you in on a dodgy secret of mine. Well, it's not that dodgy, but when you're on a Creative Writing course, despite what they say, you are in danger of being judged on what you read. You run the risk of being plopped into stereotypes; The fantasy obsessive (they obviously worship Game of Thrones), The Feminist Writer (doesn't wear a bra), The Sci-fi Fanatic and The Horror Enthusiast (basically might as well be a goth). Now obviously we all know that's utter rubbish. I've been known to not wear a bra (or pants for that matter), participate in a hardcore Game of Thrones marathon and once I did dye my hair black and pink (oh to be fifteen again). I don't believe in categorising people, nor judging them by what they read. I have an enormously varied taste in literature, but ONE thing I always begrudge admitting (yet I shouldn't) is that yes, boys and girls, I. AM. A. DEVOUT. POTTER. FAN. There. I said it. judge me, go on. Since the age of nine, when I was plunged into the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter, Like thousands of other children, I waited eagerly in vain for my letter on my eleventh birthday (that obviously never came) and I religiously followed the books and films, crying and laughing with Harry, Ron and Hermione, hating Snape, then loving Snape, hating him again and then realising that he's basically awesome. That world, as fantastical and absurd as it is, is a massive part of my childhood. The infinite imagination involved. It made you see everything differently, and I would have amazing dreams about playing Quidditch in the highlands, having incredible wizarding duels and battling dragons (you have no idea how much I'm cringing writing all this). People can endlessly critisise the Harry Potter books all they like, and that's fine, because we all have individual tastes and quite frankly, it sucks to find out that we're all Muggles. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to be exposed to that world, only to be dropped with a painful thud back into this mundane reality where food doesn't miraculously appear in abundance on plates. Well, this world isn't truly mundane. It's flipping wonderful. And years down the line, I still hold a great attachment to my favourite childhood books; Harry Potter, the Edge Chronicles, The Graveyard book, The Fantastic Five. They still inspire me, and make my world magical. Sometimes I even still get dreams where I'm living in the trees in the Deepwoods listening to yodeling Banderbears.

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Friday, 9 January 2015

ADD, Blogging Worries & A Profound Understanding Of Ones Self

Deep breath Sarah. 

I'm not really sure how to begin this post. It's a difficult topic to approach whatever the situation but perhaps I should explain why I'm choosing to share this on something so public as a blog in the first place. 
Upon starting this little blog, years ago (probably about 5) when it had a totally different name altogether and was under a different URL it was just a place where I talked about my art work, experimented with my early photography and essentially kept a journal so that my family could keep up with me. You see, I'm a bit of a nomad and I don't spend alot of time in one place or with my family which is something that makes me sad. I wish sometimes I could stay in one place, spend quiet afternoon after quiet afternoon with the people I love that raised me. I don't spend even a quarter of the time that they deserve and this makes me feel so incredibly selfish and horrible but somehow for some reason, I just can't stay for long before I'm off again, outdoors, drifting about my own odd world. A bit like Snuffkin from The Moomins, I suppose. 
The blog was a way for me to share that world I inhabited with the people I loved, a sort of apology and poor consolation for my rubbish inability to stick around. I wanted to try and make up for the lost time, because despite how it appears, they mean alot to me and I value everything my father and grandmother have done for me over my life and I'm so grateful for their selflessness as parents. 
Back to the point (because I'm drifting now), this blog was essentially something personal. It grew; grew to involve more of my photographic endeavors, a place to feature my love of outdoor adventures and recently under advice and pressure to 'grow it even more' I began to worry about things that weren't anything in the slightest what I valued, and I worried that I was beginning to portray myself as somebody who was further from myself than I was comfortable with. Sure, sometimes we want to be other people and escape our skin, but this blog wasn't about doing that. I didn't want to create an alter ego, this blog was about communicating my world that I inhabit with (originally my cherished ones) and later, anybody interested who perhaps was of similar ilk and possessed the same values.  
Before I go onto talk about ADHD, I want to make somethings clear about my values and priorities and the worries I had about exposing myself to the outside world through blogging. 




My values: 
Will always be, without a doubt, the road to self acceptance, understanding our own natures and the best way to create a harmonious relationship with the world around us. In my case, nature. I am a jumpy creature and would probably liken myself to perhaps a Hare (but lacking the grace). I adore the arts with everything I have, whether it's performance, visual, literature... I believe that the arts are our way of releasing that which sometimes gets lost inside of us. Without them, we would be very frustrated and angry creatures indeed (which for some, seems to be the case). The city can often frighten me (although I'm working on learning to love it) but the sea and the countryside and often the world we can create through imagination and dreaming are the realms I inhabit and cherish and endeavour to share through my blog. 

My fears:
My biggest fears in blogging, is succumbing to vanity and narcissism. It's a delicate business, talking about ones self whilst not trying to appear narcissistic, and when I began thinking along the lines of 'Oh, perhaps I should look at fashion a bit more because lots of blogs do it' I scared myself. I was worried because first of all A) although I adore pretty clothes, I don't consciously seek out fashion nor harbor a particular interest in it. I'm more than happy to share some of my favourite wears but in no way, do I wish to insinuate that I am an authority on the matter, that I consider myself fashionable and worthy of imitation.  I admire other peoples blogs and styles, but I also value individuality and comfort in ones own skin and I certainly am not comfortable dipping into a realm I know nothing about. My other fears, were losing sight of how personal and close to myself this blog was meant to be. My journey to self exploration was in danger of losing sight of my original values and that had to stop. 

This year, I've found my path again and through blogging I hope to focus more on self exploration through photography, illustration, story telling & creativity. I want to share with you this journey and world, if you're interested :) Thank you for bearing with this hulking chunk of writing, I'm going to move onto the next part. 



A D D 

What is ADD? I'm not sure I fully understand myself. On Monday morning, I had an appointment with an educational psychologist to undergo a variety of tests & get to the heart of my various mental health issues. 
These included:
Constant loss of time due to spacing out - as a child, my school reports always whined that I was a pathological day dreamer. I could not be stopped. I'd phase out for hours, lose focus of what was happening around me. It wasn't just the type of day dreaming that we all experience though, when I 'phased out' I would no longer be conscious of what was happening in the room. I'm not entirely sure where I went, but I went. They said I would grow out of it, and that it was a phase; I didn't. 
Hyper emotions: 
I know we all feel this way sometimes, and often it's related to hormones. One minute we're on top of the world, and next minute we're crying into our Ben and Jerry's cookie dough. But for me, this was out of hand. I could never inhabit a middle ground. I was either permanently existing on cloud 9, with far too much energy and disregard for what is deemed 'socially acceptable', or lost in a stormy arctic desert where everything felt numb and white for no reason at all, and ridiculous things like (this is a true story) the bus stopping at traffic lights reduced me to fits of tears (George found this hilarious). Sometimes, I felt like everything around me was extremely far away and I had lost some connection with my body. I couldn't feel things properly, I was spending 80% of my time being spaced out and was constantly paranoid that everything was a mirage and that I was trapped inside a human body, desperate to exist only as the wind, or the sea. Reality felt anesthetised, like I was only getting half of the experience. 
After taking the set tests and her bringing to light lots of other issues like my inability to hold my attentions to something, constantly taking my shoes off in public places and putting my feet up without realising and interrupting conversations/finishing peoples sentences the psychologist decided that I was a class A case of someone living with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). I was a little shocked and indignified. First of all, I felt ashamed, then I felt stupid and afterwards I felt helpless. She explained that it was to do with chemical levels in my brain, and despite there being  direct mental disability sufferers within my family, it wasn't hereditary. These issues that I had with myself, that I had thought were downfalls of my personality, issues to be resolved and worked on were suddenly explained as traits linked to this disorder. It had seemed before as if I could somehow get over them eventually by disciplining myself but now, it was something I had to live with. I wasn't sure how I felt about this (and I'm still unresolved). She explained how the way to deal with ADHD was to pave your life and environment to accommodate your difficulties. In my case, rather than holding down one 9-5 job, my future career would be better suited to many part time/freelance jobs that were regularly changing and avoided ritual. I would need a patient partner supportive of my hyper emotions (crying over stepped on snails), and see student support to help learn ways of focusing and finishing assignments and tasks. Luckily, I have George as a partner who also (conveniently) has ADHD although his traits vary largely from my own. I am a part of two families where thank god, no-body is conventional or 'normal', perhaps explaining why my anxieties and odd habits had gone so long unchecked. 
I feel a little fragile, bringing this to the surface but I am a great believer that we are all somewhere on the spectrum (just at different points) so normal is merely a label, a concept that doesn't really exist and if you base it on what the 'values' of 'normal' are, I would say it encompasses the minority. But is anybody truly 'normal' and thus by (my own) definition 'boring'? I don't like to think so :) 
I would like to apologise to anyone I have ever possibly startled by being 'over enthusiastic' and list my own personal symptoms that were addressed by the psychologist as characteristics. I'm working on not feeling 'defined' by the ADHD branding, and continuing believing that these are just quirks that encompass who I am. I'm sharing them with the hopes that A) They'll help you to understand me better or B) Perhaps if you can relate to this, it may bring you comfort knowing that some things really are caused by brains being a bit random and rather than trying to change ourselves (which quite frankly is nastily exhausting) we should accept ourselves and build our life around it, embracing our quirks. 

Over enthusiasm 
Anxiety 
Inability to retain train of thought
Struggle to follow conversations/retain attention when people are talking
Difficulty completing tasks 
Forgetfulness
Poor organisational skills 
Poor understanding of social conventions (ie. butting in, talking to much)
Fidgeting, constant hand/foot movements and inability to sit in a chair without putting my feet up
Skew-wiff sleeping patterns
Spacing out 
Lack of concept of danger (putting myself and others in dangerous situations without regard)
hypersensitivity 
trouble retaining motivation
poor at dealing with frustration
insecurity 

I was also told I have dyspraxia (which to me seems like slapping a label on uber clumsiness) and it's possible some of those things cross over and often come hand in hand. If you have been brave and have a better ability than I for staying focused, well done for getting to the end of this. I hope, if you know me personally that you accept my apology for every time I've ever done something a little bit weird. If you don't, I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and who knows, perhaps some of you guys like me, have a few odd habits :) 
Lets celebrate oddness (when it's not harmful of course) and surround ourselves with the wonderful things that make us feel comfortable and happy. Whether it's nature, food, god or the ones you love. Let there be more of it, and lets embrace the little joys in our individual wonderful lives ♥









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OOTD: These Old Streets

Today, was the day of freedom at our house. With essays and Dissertations finished and handed in and the sun shining outside, we were finally free. Free to skip about, explore all the old windy streets and kick up leaves in the park. If you are like me, and enjoy windy cobbled old streets and have a very romantic view of how cities should be, then Bath is paradise. I am utterly fascinated by medieval history and when I discovered that Bath (post aquae sulis) goes back beyond Georgian times, back to medieval I was so excited. I wasted no time in exploring the oldest parts of town, the old tunnels and dark age vaults to the river and soaking up the quirky little left-behind remnants of medieval Bath. Part of the reason why I was so in love with Edinburgh was because I was utterly enchanted by the 'Old Town' with it's chilling graveyards, stopping eerie buildings and ominous castle. Bath's medieval quarter can be found in the Walcot street area which is also the quirky artisan section where you'll find some great little caf├ęs, the best pub in Bath (The Bell which has amazing live music) and great vintage shops. 


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Friday, 2 January 2015

Moments of 2014

Another year has flown past without me realising and this makes me scared because I'm 23 now and time is going faster and faster and I suddenly feel as though I'm stuck on a carousel with no way to jump off. It was only when I started browsing through snaps from 2014 that I realised how it felt like five minutes ago that I spent an endless summer of wild camping with my friends, watching shooting stars and singing bonfire songs and that was 2013. Some memories are so distorted time-wise in my head, that if I haven't taken any photographs of them I can't even remember if they were last year or the year before or a fortnight ago. 
This really scares me, and it's made me realise the importance of taking photographs and writing a little something every day to remind us because each small day is as exceedingly important as the big days. 
This year, I think I'm going to run a journal of photographs and focus on making every moment count. I don't want to do it for blogging, I don't live to blog, blogging should just be nothing more than a scrapbook of little adventures, a mood board for things I love and a way to promote an adventurous life spent outdoors. That isn't to say blogging isn't important to me, because it is. I just want to make it grow without it interfering with enjoying each day as it comes.  
I'm not planning on really making any resolutions because I'm finding it hard at the moment to distinguish one year from the next and therefore perceive it as a fresh start. The only way I can perceive it, is a new folder in my documents because I categorise all of my photographs into separate folders under months of the year. 
Time is a flurry of snow, and it bamboozles me. I'm going to endeavour to understand time and immerse myself in creation, natural beauty and all things arts. I'm learning to stop spacing out and clear the cobwebs that fill my dusty hibernating mind. I need to stop being a drifting cloud and find my feet. This year, is about waking up. 
Here are some 'little moments' of 2014. 


'The day the floods came. The rain covered everything and I was delighted to find that I was surrounded by what felt like a still ocean. As I sat on the train back to Cornwall, I stared at fields that were once farms that were now endless mirrors of water. The pretend ocean almost covered the tracks and for a moment I could believe I was being Spirited Away. After a while, we stopped and for half an hour I could just stare through the train window and marvel at the beauty. There was a sadness in that beauty, because countless folks had lost their homes, their lands and their possessions to that beauty and for many, my dream was a nightmare. I felt guilty for enjoying those moments of peace because it had cost someone else so much. After that half hour was up, the train turned around and went back to Bath because the track had been lost. I had to take many buses to find my way home, but I did it, and when I did, the storms greeted me.'



Tea parties to celebrate my friends birthday, and walks in the countryside because we were pining for home. I'm lucky in some ways, that two of my best friends have moved as well and we all live near each other (so close in Jesses case that I can holler down the stairs at her) We all struggle with being parted from the sea, but we struggle together. 




'This day, we visited the beach and there was detritus and gifts from the sea as far as the eye could sea. Beautiful trinkets, driftwood, shells, rubble from boats and salt-faded nets. I gathered as many mussels as my pockets could carry for I love mussels as they remind me of the nights sky. I try to paint them and create tiny milky ways but I could never paint the way nature does.'



Trelissick Gardens, towards the Roseland where we had a beautiful picnic, drank wine and watched an outdoor performance of 'The Tempest'. I want this tower to be my home.





Down our way, there are wonderful vardos. How I would love to live in a vardo, or have one to renovate and take it somewhere secret and pretend I lived that way. Actually, my friend really did live in this very vardo once upon a time, but it had seen better days back then!



And then there was my fascination with chimney pots, and my many attempts to climb out of attic windows to reach them.


Days spent by the sea with my favourite people


The canal ways of Bathampton are among my favourite haunts when I'm in the city. Another of my dreams is to live on a barge. George, who considers himself somewhat more refined and in need of creature comforts doesn't quite agree of their appeal, but maybe one day I'll rent a boat for a while and write and write and write.


'Spring found us eventually, and we were glad of it. We were able to take off our coats and scarves and feel the warm air on our bare feet once again.'





In the summer, Jegan and I went wild swimming at a wonderful swimming hole called 'Warleigh Weir'. It took clambering through several fields, over a train track and canal way to find, but it was worth it. It was one of the most perfect days of the summer and for a moment, I forgot to miss the sea. 



Many evenings of our last 3 years together have we spent on the wonderful Helford. The Shipwrights is one of our frequent haunts, and Niki's band often play there. Sadly, they have begun to price themselves out of reach for locals, but every so often they'll have 'JellyJazz nights' and BBQ's and the place will come alive as the surrounding villages get together for a party on the river.


 Climbing waterfalls in the Glen near Tintagel. Another one of my favourite memories from the summer


This wonderful invention 


 A trip to Weymouth, a seaside experience totally different from our usual.



On one of the first nights I came home for the summer holidays officially, George and I went to Chynalls in Coverack and sat on the headland. We read fairytales aloud and played with the ponies that graze there. The sunset was perfect and I wanted to build a little hobbit hole there and stay there always.  



 Some days it rained, but that didn't matter.


And some days we built bonfires and played music by the river.


And then there was the fairy ball. 


And not to mention a surprise trip to Paris! our main mode of transport were bicycles which is by far the best way to sample that wonderful city.




Wildflowers by the sea


Being barefoot 


Local events, like the annual church fete! 



Roaming in the wilderness with Louis and the Sanger clan 


Trips to St.Ives for lazy afternoons 


Watching plays at the incredible Minnack Theatre 



Our last evening by the sea, before George moved with me back to Bath to start his teacher training! 


Thunderstorms on the night we arrived. How is it somehow that I always seem to unintentionally chase storms?



Autumn happened, and the leaves began to fall



And soon the pubs were serving my favourite winter drinks again!




Outdoor fires became more necessary



And once again we found our way home. 


 2014 has had it's wonderful moments, and it's difficult ones. The biggest and best moment was changing degree from Photography to Creative Writing. Although I love taking photographs and they are exceedingly important to me, so are a hundred other things. I came to University to learn, and I have learned so much from just six months of studying CW! Luckily they let me skip the first year so in the end I will have completed four whole years of university. With a little luck, I'm either going to do an MA in Edinburgh and travel around the Highlands and Islands or look for creative work. Although I'm dying to come home to Cornwall and live permanently again, I know that my hobbits journey isn't over yet. I want to explore my fascination with islands and mountains and it's for that reason that Scotland beckons me. I want to fully embrace this rainy isle that is my home, and love every bit of it.

H a p p y     2 0 1 5 

To the next adventure





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