Why do you love decorating and upcycling lovely readers? What drives you to get the paintbrushes out, go hard rubbish picking, or trawl through an op shop? Why do you go crazy for the latest cushion designs, or go weak at the knees when you see a pallet?
For me, it is a combination of the importance of home, the feeling I get when I walk in the door, the desire and pleasure in creating and the thrill of the treasure hunt. Simply, it makes me happy.
I grew up with type 1 diabetes, a chronic condition which brings twice the rates of depression and many awful complications. Life for me consists of around 20 blood glucose checks daily, wearing an insulin pump 24/7 and lots of juggling and stress. I struggled as a teenager and young adult with these things and ended up in a violent relationship when I was 16 years old, for a few years. I later spent many years working in health, child protection and welfare, and I saw a lot of terrible things…a lot of nasty… a lot of sad…a lot of horror. This eventually wore me down until I could not see beauty anymore, only horror. It wore me down until I couldn’t go outside my home anymore without terrible fear. I was crippled by fear. And sadness. I also suffered with post natal depression twice.
So I have experienced great sadness.
Have you ever felt that level of sad? The kind that keeps you in bed, stops you from eating, or makes you eat mindlessly. That black dog, that dark cloud. The kind of sad that takes you away from those you love, from what you love, from the world. You forget there is beauty. I remember describing that time of my life in a poem as feeling “squashed like a rabbit on the road, staring down the white lines, or frozen in the oncoming headlights”. I was lucky. I got help and I got better and I never (touch wood) felt that kind of sadness again.Most people who know me, know me for my happy. Because I have a whole lot of it. But not everyone knows about the things that keep me away from that deep sadness. How do you feel when you turn on the news and see all the terrible things people are doing and experiencing? I find it crippling. I think you need to mute the news, turn off the television, ignore the newspapers. Otherwise you become impossibly drawn into every human tragedy, most of which you can not make any difference to. I find writing, singing, walking in nature, painting – all make me happy. And my family and especially my 3 sons, remind me of beauty and the reason why we are all alive.
That is not to say I don’t get sad. I do. We all do. That is part of being human and how can you know great joy if you have not experienced great sadness? But now, I can manage that sad so that it does not become a gigantic, soul sucking wave that draws you under and dumps you, so you don’t know which way is up and your lungs are full of salty water and gritty sand.
I have always loved home. As a little girl, I would shove furniture around my room, using my butt, hips and whatever I could, to create a “zone” in my bedroom. I was desperate for a lounge/bedroom situation. I remember having my bed behind my wardrobe at one stage! Home should make you happy. And having beautiful things around you, things that make you buzz, things with history and character, connects you to the good things about human beings. The things that remind you life can be beautiful and people can be good. The thing about recycling, upcycling and repurposing is you can see beautiful in the rough. You see life from all angles.
Since starting Recycled Interiors in 2013, I discovered that this is my happy place. Creating a beautiful home, one that another person feels happy in, makes ME happy. Doing this in an ethical, sustainable way, one that is good for people and planet, makes me feel even better. Do you feel that too when saving something from landfill? It is imperative that we think before we buy, think about the disposal of all the stuff we consume. We need to make sure other people and creatures get to enjoy this world like we do.
Getting into the flow of creating, painting, upcycling and pottering in the house and garden, can give you such a strong sense of mindfulness and helps you to be grounded. If you can find time to switch off the sad out there and stay mindful within a creative project, you will have far better mental health and wellbeing.
And we all want that.
Get creating and share with us here, or on social media – we LOVE to see what you are up to! Tell us what you are up to and even better hit us with some pictures!