I need solitude to self-care. Not just a minute of solitude, but whatever time it takes to situate my spirit and get into a place where I can be inside my own version of bliss. To someone on the outside, when I’m having it the best way possible, it would look like a woman alone in a tiny candle-lit apartment burning herbs, drinking red wine and sitting in different parts of the room. Witchy stuff. Rituals I invent. I let my mind reflect.
I need to reflect on parts of my life that have gone by or are currently happening because that’s when I realize I’ve accomplished something I always wanted to. So far, I’ve done many things I’ve dreamed of doing, but they came in disguise, and always at a time after I had forgotten about my initial desire. I always take my day-to-day for granted– when I’m in a rush or at work and dealing with people– so these moments are when I realize that I’m living the life I wanted to live.
It’s like what Marina Abramovic said in this PBS thing about staring out the window or at a volcano. Being present.
This is kind of silly, but I always feel like during my blissful “still” times that I am a time traveler going to the past, that time travel is actually feeling close to things that have happened (or will happen). I give my past-self some kind of message at that moment (when I’m in a memory) just in case I can send and receive such things. Anyway, it makes me feel good to visualize this.
Another thing I need to do is walk alone. Wherever I can find nature or even wandering around a dumb store or something. Looking at objects and people. I find myself making plans for the future and observing life like an alien when I do that. Like a visitor. Without attachment.
I have to get myself to the space where I feel, as much as I can, that all the things I worry about aren’t real, they’re just a part of my own personalized set of challenges. Like my life is some kind of giant D&D game. That perception comforts me a lot and allows me to forgive people and release the unreasonable fears and bad feelings I have.
When it comes to my creative space, I find I need to clean my surroundings and make it an intentional work space. I am like a dog when she spins around her bed before taking a nap, only instead of a nap, it’s writing or art-making. I’m really miserable and have a hard time getting anything done if I don’t feel that I’ve had the opportunity to properly prepare my work space.
I also eat artichokes or Maine lobster when I have time alone. I don’t know why, but both of these are the best foods ever for me, and I only really enjoy these things fully when I’m alone.
I also like staying in a cabin in the woods somewhere and I love love love little creeks and rivers in forests. I could stare at the water going by for hours.
I also crochet and now I knit.
I also listen to an online radio station called Drone Zone on Soma FM which my coworker calls “space music.” At work, I dim the lights in my room and listen to this music when I have to do paperwork. At home, I put it on my phone and headphones when I want to tune out the outside world. It makes all the difference, but it sometimes creeps people out.
I also will delay things (when I don’t have an appointment) that the mundane world tells me are “important responsibilities” (paperwork-like things) when I know I need to make an art project or write in order to affirm to myself what really matters to me. Sometimes that’s procrastination, and sometimes it’s justified.
Linda Lay is formally interested in mysticism, nature, fashion, crafting, shop-spaces, the Internet and investigating personal experience. She uses the mediums of fiber, polymer clay, watercolor, acrylic, oil and wire to create sculpture, paintings and drawings that often combine a feeling of bright, yet eerie child-likeness. Her easy-to-wear fashion breaks down structural expectations and comments on consumerism and sustainability. Lay engages with digital technology in order to create video and website based projects that are performative and involve written narratives, humor and a lo-fi aesthetic. Visit her online at lindalay.com ! ! !