When your positivity is challenged

I am a positive person, I always have been.

I am a patient person, I always have been.

I am a caring person, I always have been.

I am a grounded person, I always have been.

I am a nurturing person, I always have been.

I am a polite & thoughtful person, I always have been.

This has all been tested again and again but, I feel like I have reached my finishing point. I grew up without a dad, I moved countries, I dealt with certain, far from the average, family members, we took care of my terminally ill uncle for two years, and now we are taking care of my grandmother who has dementia after a stroke. I have reached my fill. After this period, I don’t feel like these statements are true any longer. When she is raising her hand to slap me or when she actually slaps me. When she is screaming “shut up” or “get out” two inches from my face. When all I want to do is scream back at the top of my lungs until I scream so loud my voice is echoing forever in her head. But, I don’t mean it, I am just at my fill. Caring for my uncle was hard, I always said it was the hardest thing I have ever done but that was a fraction of what caring for my grandmother is. She was never easy (I can’t begin to explain the guilt I feel writing that sentence) but now it is worse. She cared for us alongside my mother and aunt my entire life and some will look at it as it is my turn to take care of her but I am here to yell at you, I can’t. Everyone keeps telling me another bit, another bit and things will get better but this is too difficult.

Some days she is so affectionate it is bizarre. Growing up she didn’t know how to show affection but now she will hold my hand or rest her head on my chest or ask for me or praise me. Then there are days like today where she wanted to clean the stove. Let me explain the stove is roasting hot about 15 minutes after lighting it, it was lighting for hours at this point. If you stand within two feet of it your clothes burn. It is designed to heat the old house I live in but I couldn’t explain that. No matter what I said I couldn’t get her to stop so, I physically stood in front of it and blocked her as passively as I could. She slapped me and pulled me and pushed me and screamed at me but I couldn’t get her to see I was doing it so she couldn’t get hurt.

Sometimes I wonder when she passes will she realise all this. Will she see that I was just trying to stop her from burning herself? Will she see that I only told her to be careful because she was really close to knocking the crystal off the shelf? Or will she see it as she sees it now, me belittling her.

The most guilt I feel is due to the fact I am moving country in about 8 weeks to then leave my sister, my brother, my aunt and my mother to deal with it. To be honest I can’t dwell on that.

It is hard when my core setting is positivity and that is now shrouded in negativity. I feel selfish and childish and temperamental as I can’t deal with it. I really struggle with the selfish part because of the Catholic guilt. I should help my grandmother and people have it worse than me and that nothing lasts forever. I just need a breather. I am not even minding her 24/7, that is my aunt. I think I am just not dealing as well as I could be but, I think that is because this happened 3 months after my uncle died. We didn’t have enough time to grieve.

A message to people who know carers of any disease:

Give the carer a break. Ring them and if they can’t talk ask when they can because caring is isolating. Don’t tell them it will pass, they already know that but it doesn’t help when you are in the middle of it. Keep them positive and keep yourself positive. Bring over sweets or a salad or a 7up whatever is the carer’s favourite. Don’t tell them you understand if you don’t, it is okay to not. We don’t expect you to. Just be here for us because we need you.

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Granny + me with our heads in the clouds

NaNoWriMo

I am a winner. I won NaNoWriMo but I cheated a bit. Let me rewind for a moment.

I have written three “novels” in my life. The first was a straight-up plagiarism of Twilight. Before you berate me, I was 15 and Twilight/Twilight fanfic was rampant. I say it is actual plagiarism of Stephanie Meyers as it, get this, is based on vampires and werewolves but instead of the female protagonist madly in love with a vampire she is in love with a werewolf. I know I am a genius, a very original genius. And, if you’re not convinced yet it holds lines like this; “After twenty minutes of chat and eating I felt extremely stuffed but yet people were still eating. Who knew werewolves had such great appetites?” and this gem, “You have a hard arm.”, “They are called muscles baby.” He flexed his arm”. It was like if Louise Rennison wrote shit Twilight fanfiction, which she would never do! (Long live Queen Georgia Nicolson!).

My second novel was quite soon after that and I wrote it on and off for about five years. It is called ‘The Elements’ and after spending a few months writing and writing it, I finally printed it to only edit it and toss it. That manuscript is in a drawer. I felt like, not entirely dissimilar to book one (can I call that a book???), when editing it wasn’t my voice. More like if Christopher Paolini and I merged a book baby.

Now I bring you to my third book, Chalked. The reason I say I cheated was that I started NaNoWriMo with circa 25k words. I had spent this year writing and stopping. Generally letting my ego denote if I felt like writing. Then I read about NaNo and decided to eff it, I will do it. I started around the first week of November and began strong. Begin as you mean to carry on and all that. Then, I once again, let my ego in. That coincided with people asking about the novel and how it was going. I was furious that I previously told anyone about it. I want to be an author but I had the realisation ‘writing is hard’. After talking to family and friends I returned to finish NaNo. I was so determined to get that badge and to be a ‘winner’ that I worked hard and got there. I am not a sprinter when it comes to writing. I will have bursts of writing for hours but then I need a break. If I tried to write 50k words in 30 days I would be burnt out and never intend to finish it. However, NaNo was what I needed to finish it and finish it I did. On the last night of NaNo, about 9p.m, I became a NaNoWinner. The relief I felt was immense. I was done. Then I remembered I have to edit it numerous times but that is tomorrow Lisa’s problem.

How did NaNoWriMo2017 go for you?

30 days

The Christmas countdown is on. Thirty days and it is Christmas day. Firstly, this year has flown by. Every time I think how quickly it has gone I can’t believe it is over in a few weeks. I will do a reflection on my 2017 later on in December (I bet you are waiting with baited breath!) but until then I wanted to talk about doing something every day leading up until Christmas.

 

  • Finish NaNoWriMo (I am so nearly done)
  • Bake cinnamon buns again (I made this week and they were so delicious that they weren’t around long enough for a photo
  • Post on Instagram every day
  • Post a blog post once a week
  • Take more photos and videos to remember this Christmas
  • Meet up with friends
  • Start the new Instagram series where I illustrate all my favourite women (the first one is up – Anna Gardner or The Anna Edit
  • Go to the gym three times a week (please, Lisa, please!!)
  • Stop watching 90 Day Fiance and do something productive (like going to the gym)
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Wrap presents
  • Watch The Grinch, Love Actually, Elf, Nativity, Sound of Music, Christmas with the Kranks
  • Send Christmas cards to my friends
  • Group together books I want to read over Christmas
  • Make a great vegan hot chocolate
  • Decorate the house for Christmas
  • Find an ideal Christmas pyjamas
  • Attend the local Christmas markets
  • Find the perfect Christmas table decor
  • Find a Christmas duvet set of reasonable price (priorities, eh?)
  • Finish Christmas shopping (only two more to get!)
  • Curate a Christmas playlist + listen to it all the time
  • Eat healthily but enjoy Christmas food
  • Be mindful and grateful
  • Edit manuscript
  • Spend time with family
  • Curate magazine ‘Into the nebula
  • Go visit another Christmas market (maybe Limerick?)
  • Have a movie + food night
  • Be charitable

What are your plans for Christmas?

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taking photos of yourself is hard

I have missed blogging for months now but I felt I had nothing to say and I found myself focusing on writing/creation other than my blog.

That is my semi-excuse. In other words, I’m sorry.

So, let me catch you up.

  • I found out that taking photos of myself on self-timer is really difficult for me and I have no idea why. I am blaming the lens (because it definitely isn’t me…) Also, yes, the feature photo is today’s attempt at a self-portrait. It was meant to be artsy sitting behind my laptop but instead looks like Apple asked me to take down the photo so I blurred it.
  • I have found new found resilience that I didn’t know I had. I was recently told some “free advice” by a total stranger which was that I should reconsider moving to Italy because I a) have never been there, b) don’t have a job yet, c) don’t know anyone, and, d) wasn’t willing to invest into her pyramid scheme (she entirely flipped her mood once I couldn’t afford her programme). For a day and a half I replayed everything she said and kept thinking, if a stranger could say this what was my family thinking? Then I realised my family didn’t say any of this because they know I am a sensible, clever, quick-witted and hardworking person. If I can’t get a job in the city as a teacher or a waitress or a tutor or an architect I will move to the countryside and pick fruit or bake bread or muck out stables or pick olives. I will do anything to make this dream work and it really annoyed me that I let this money-driven, bitter woman affect my thoughts and dreams like that. I don’t owe her anything. (I just blocked her on IG, it took me three days to do that but the last line sold me.)
  • I love creativity and being creative. Nothing makes me happier. In case you didn’t know I am starting a digital mag called ‘Into the nebula’ which is a creative collaborative collection of content created by bloggers (if only we were called ‘cloggers’ – I love alliteration). It isn’t too late to submit so if you are a female writer/photographer/illustrator/poet/haiku-ist/anything creative I will direct you to this last post where you can find out more —> Into the nebula. I actually couldn’t/can’t believe that people are submitting/have submitted work. It blows my mind! Also, the female bloggers out there are kick-ass and I hope this will bring more people to see their work because they really deserve it.
  • I am in Christmas mode already and it is November 16th as I am writing this. I have bought my fourth Christmas themed food mag (a true sign of a Tearknee household Christmas). I have started the Christmas songs and, yes, I AM SORRY but I have watched two Christmas movies so far. I know this will be the last Christmas for a very long time that I am free of obligations and responsibilities so I am diving antlers first into it.
  • I love my family and this time of year really cements that fact into my head. It happens to also coincide with the time of year where I wish the Beckhams would ‘Daddy Warbucks’ me away from these absolute wretches! That is dramatic and yes, I am 26 so really who should be leaving who? I love my family but this time of year tests everyone in that department. That being said, I couldn’t survive without them and although I would be fit to kill them I love them very much. I would be entirely lost without them and I don’t know how I will function in Florence without them around me all the time.
  • I am starting to love my body. It has taken me twenty-something years to start but better late than sorry and, I really feel I would be sorry if I had continued the way I was going. I hated on my body so much and believe me I am still filled with disgust for it sometimes. Then there are other times where I love every ounce of myself. I love my long hair and small eyes. I love that my hips and bum are big and I allow my big stomach to be. At those moments I am happy with myself, well, not entirely but it becomes like a truce with myself. Instead of yelling internally “you’re fat, you are ugly, your hair is flat and frizzy” I think to myself “you look good today, you are working on being healthy not skinny, you are loved and deserve that, I love myself and so I should do”. I encourage you to start the self-love journey. It is bloody hard because I was so far from it but I am happy I have started. When I get the negative thoughts, I treat it with positivity – “you are ugly” is replaced with “you look great today, stop being so hard on yourself, look how far your body has brought you”. Good luck with your journey!
  • I am utterly excited for Italy. Despite that woman previously mentioned, I am excited to be in Tuscany, to drink coffee on the imaginary balcony where I imaginary live, to eat pasta and pizza, to learn to cook and to make friends/family. I will make this work and if it doesn’t I will come home and I have realised I am not a failure for that. It is the way life goes but I am prepared to succeed. I really hope it goes well. I am absolutely terrified for it but I remind myself that I am doing this for me. I am sensible, hardworking and determined. I will find a way to make this work for however long I wish it to work. I deserve good things (and so do you by the way)!
  • I love blogging but I feel a bit in flux. I don’t know what to blog about and I can’t find the motivation to do so regularly but I will figure it out. I am not putting too much pressure on it because I always want to enjoy blogging.
  • NaNoWriMo – my first ever attempt and I am enjoying it. I broke 40k words today (don’t get too excited for me, I had 30k starting this month). It is giving me something to aim for and I aim to spend the month of December editing. That will hopefully turn to more editing in January then sending it to friends and people who will read it, more editing and then potential publishers. Fingers crossed!

Thank you for reading my novel-length “I’m back!” blog post. I really hope you have a lovely weekend. Also, if you are reading this and you like the cut of my jib send me a comment or email, I would love to make some blogger friends (though after ‘cut of my jib’ you might be turned off and I entirely understand, believe me, I do). My likes are the U.S Office, Parks & Rec, The Simpsons, The I.T Crowd, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, SATC along with chocolate (don’t know how long a convo about chocolate will last but hey, I’m game), horses, Italy, moving abroad, travel, books, writing, mozzarella, bread, Brighton, YouTube, Zoe Sugg.

Honestly, if you’re up for a chat, so am I.

I NEED YOUR HELP

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I am looking for female writers, poets, photographers, illustrators, artists, embroiderers, anyone creative to create content for issue_one. Into the nebula is a new digital magazine that is filled with inspiration. It is a collabrative collective of creativity. If you are a creator please email me at lisatearknee@gmail.com and send in examples of a work, your insta or a blog/website. If we’re on the same wave length I will email you a brief for issue_one. Thank you!!

What is Into the nebula?

Into the nebula is a new digital magazine created by me in the hope of showcasing the stunning creativity that is found online. I hope to fill the mag with photography, writing, poetry, drawings, illustrations – digital and physical, embroidery, and anything else creative that I can fit on a digital page all under a theme. It is a biannual magazine – once in winter and once in summer.

Is there criteria for submitting?

There are a few things; you must be over 18. You can be from anywhere. It must be high quality – scanned or photographed well (good lighting, composition, clear image) when sending the final product but, please don’t submit work specifically to be printed in the mag without me sending you an email first in relation to if you are suited or not (I don’t want to waste your time!). Once accepted, I will send you the brief for the issue and then go from there. As this is only issue one we cannot afford monetary payment but your name/social media/blog will be printed along with a small bio. Also, I will print out a physical copy for you to have if you want!

Phew, okay – anything else?

Just a thank you for even considering being part of Into the nebula. It is amazing that this project is taking flight. I have seen the potential of so many female bloggers/artists/writers etc and I have always wanted to compile them all together in a mag. I am excited to work with you!

– Lisa

Quicksand

Growing up was tough; moving countries, making new friends and losing old ones, learning a new language. That was all helped by my love of television. In the words of Bart Simpson “It’s just hard not to listen to TV: it’s spent so much more time raising us than you have.”. (sorry Mam, just a joke!).

TV was everything in my household and I filled my hours watching TMNT, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Pokemon, and Postman Pat. All these shows built me up for the world. It prepared me for things going wrong, fighting adversity, and, seemingly most important, quicksand. There was nothing I was more nervous of than quicksand. I assumed it was around every corner, waiting to tempt me into its “very sturdy” looking grains of sand before devouring me into its belly. My family wouldn’t know where to look for me, there wouldn’t be a trace of me left. It felt like it was an issue in every show at one point or another. Sabrina was trapped in it while she was trying to pick between Harvey and Josh, pretty sure that Mystery Inc. (Scooby Doo) dealt with it, and I have a vague recollection of a Postman Pat episode…don’t quote me on that.

When did this vital enemy of television disappear and why do I care? I care because it haunted me. Was I ever going to be as lucky as the television I watched to find a way out? Now my problems are, well, more probable (or at least I think so). Quicksand is not such a prominent fear but replaced with equally irrational – planes, being sick, failure. Though I am not sure which I would rather face.

Actually, I do. Anything but quicksand.

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Summer 2017 – a new YouTube video

I sat back and took a look at things that have been occupying my mind during the summer. Yes, there are hot water bottles – I live in Ireland where we have a solid week of summer! Hope you enjoy my second YouTube video, I definitely don’t fully get it yet but I am getting there. Oh, and digital designer or not, thumbnails are hard…

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Elvis

elvisElvis makes me feel like I am dreaming, like I have mastered lucid dreaming. He makes me see the whole live band playing to his left but they are in my kitchen. The hazy clouds fold in and I am sitting centre watching all this develop. He makes me feel like anything is possible if you think about it enough. He makes the world seem upright when it is most definitely upside down. He makes me believe that my soulmate is just around the corner if I just took the long way home. He sings away the pain all while doubling it. The background music allows me to think I have synesthesia for the length of the song. The colours swirl around me in black and white but I know if I was there in person they would be in technicolor. I feel every emotion possible and inevitably burst at the chorus telling me to some things are meant to be. The soft clop behind the band keeps time and I have to sit on my hands to stop myself from clapping along. He makes me want to be able to jive or do anything that isn’t just sitting in front of my laptop; entirely passive. The playlist ends and the band and Elvis fade. I get a rude awakening back to reality when colours are normal and sound is basic.