Updated: Feb 27, 2020
The website you see before you is filled with sketches I've done since the start of the year. That's just under two months. In that time I've got myself onto Instagram and started a page, enrolled in an illustration short course and set up this website. And kept up with my fulltime day job. It might not seem like much, but the effort of getting things done when life is pulling in all directions has been gargantuan on some days.
Still, I'm here, website nearly finished (still have to start on the Children's book section). But importantly for me, I'm still going.
One thing to know, reader, is that I have anxiety. Many people have mental health quirks and disorders, most carry on regardless. Lots of us have anxiety. It does make life more of an uphill trek sometimes!
Putting one foot in front of the other - like many other people do - is the thing that counts. A salute those who do.
It reminds me of the time my hubby and I started off at the foot of the Tongariro crossing in New Zealand - aka Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. (I'm not exagerrating, it was the actual volcano they used for the film - check it out here)
Having just left a long-houred desk job, I was wholly unfit and, being an anxious person, I was going over and over the terrifying stories told by backpackers of the times people have keeled over and died on the crossing. (Yes, at the ripe old age of 28, I was petrified I was so unfit I'd have a heart attack. Told you. Anxious!)
But my lovely hubby (then fiancé) Nath reminded me to take it one step at a time. One foot in front of the other. Don't think about the rest of the journey, just make the next step.
So up the Devil's staircase we climbed - hundreds upon hundreds of steep rocky steps that takes even experienced climbers about 45 minutes. I sweated and panted my way up, watching the worried faces of passers by as they clocked my beetroot face.
And then we reached the top.
And we was in another world of greys and acid greens - an alien crater. I was too elated to worry about any of it from there on in.
We carried on past the base of Mount Doom (the Montain peak used in the film is perched on top of the volcano). Some nearby walkers were taking the two hour up-scree scramble to the top of it, but the crossing was enough for me!
Over the tops to look at mind bogglingly massive craters, down a very hairy few-feet-wide scree slope, into basins of the most turquoise water I'd ever seen (toxic - this is a volcano afterall). And then into Hobiton on steroids - beautiful greenery and meadow flowers leading into some pretty hair-raising paths on steep cliff edges.
Just before the staircase down, I managed to stack it and twist my ankle. It meant by the time we arrived at the bottom, hobbling and eyes streaming with pain, it was dark. But the cuddle awaiting me from our resident AirBNB cat Paris (she looks just like Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon) was the best I'd ever had, and the feeling of accomplishment was priceless.
That day has stayed with me ever since (I'm in my early thirties now). Every time something seems like an uphill struggle, we say 'Tongariro'.
But though some days have seemed like a big effort to get this site in some sort of working order (OK not quite to the same extreme) I'm still loving it.
The lucky thing is, doodling is very relaxing for me and isn't a chore. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all spend our time doing more of the things we love?
The world would be brighter for it.
Image: Looking very pleased with myself having conqered the Devil's staircase - my reward, a bowl of tuna pasta with a view