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Bristol, UK

We are artists who paint unique garments by hand! We're a social enterprise, supporting those fighting...

The WAHP Summer internship- Support & Love

Friday, 10 July 2015

Oh Hello!

It’s half ten at night right now, but my husband Dan is away at the moment, so all concepts of normal life and routine now mean nothing, so it’s clearly time to sit in my work studio and start blogging.

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My work studio looks out on the garden, which is somehow massive, as is the house- we have preemptively moved in to a house big enough to invite many people in to. We moved 3 months ago, because I believe that there is a group of girls who I’m supposed to reach. You might have heard that I’m opening up the studio to girls suffering with eating disorders and negative self image- because I don’t stop going on about it right now- I’ll tell you more about that later (yes it’s possible that I haven’t said anywhere near as much as I need to about that yet!)

So, the house is in an area which is of a higher social class than we are accustomed to- which means we are the house on the street with all the weeds and the old banger car out the front, it’s not a problem for me.

Our landlord asked us today to pull out some beautiful white flowers which are apparently going to suffocate the whole street’s plants if they seed in the next few days. Who’d have known?

The thing about that is, who am I to say boo to doing that for them. I am fully aware that I am my best self when I humbly get up early in the morning, put on my rubber gloves, and listen to the needs of others, regardless of whether it’s important to me. Now, I can easily say to myself, I don’t know if I have the time for getting rid of lovely flowers because I care about using my time to try and find my Summer intern girls, they are the whole reason I’m here and they’re the reason I work.

Which is true, they are, possibly even you are… if this blog post reaches any of my girls.

But the thing that I’ve been learning recently, is that character is built in the every day, and good character is self-rewarding. Once I have trodden the path to the gates, I am ready for what is beyond the gates. If I skip and cheat the journey and get there before my time, the gates won’t open or a flood will be released when they do. This is just what I’ve found.

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I know that in doing the labour of weeding for my landlord, which I’m sure I contractually agreed to do anyway, I will grow in humility, consideration and serving other people- three things that are easily essential attributes to have in order to help the girls that I feel I’m called to. Each day there are so many opportunities for this growth, some bigger and harder than others, and as I notice and respond well to them more and more, a little more goodness will be built in me, and we all know that ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

Of course many people who know me will think that me saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’ is hilarious, as I’m quite sure I look like a hare to everyone- that’s the impression I get anyway. I could be a lot faster, but it would be terrible, I actually feel highly restrained haha, I think the balance is needed in order to be a successful and happy business owner, which is all by your own measure.

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I’ve been finding it quite easy to feel lost recently. But feeling lost, doesn’t mean you are lost. All of reality, seems kind of all by your own measure.

I talk to quite a lot of people who feel lost, and quite a lot of people who seem to ‘know what they’re doing’, and what I can say about that, is that the ones who ‘know what they’re doing’ don’t literally know what they’re doing! Not one single person knows what tomorrow holds or can predict the next 2,20,200 steps of their life. Rather, they have chosen to let go of what they can’t control, and continuously chose to accept many things, each specific to them.

Imagine your life as a flow of water, the movement and energy is the life-giving essence of the life. Then imagine there are three positions of your heart that can be illustrated through the actions of your hands. There is folded hands, open palmed hands, and clutching hands.

When your hands are folded, you can’t experience the movement and energy of the water at all- a passive, lazy or distracted life is no life.

When your hands are clasping and grabbing at the water, you disturb the movement and energy, it becomes irritated and confused and splashes all over the place- a desperate, stressed and manipulated life is no life.

When your open palm is placed in the flow of the water, you can feel the direction of movement, the intentions of it’s energy, and you can experience the water, as it was made to be. This is the best we can do. This is our territory, where we are able to seize all we have and receive the goodness that is present. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, and folding your hands against the water or clasping them desperately at the water, won’t change anything but your experience of life- your own measure of ‘how things are going’, and life can be wasted trying to do so.

We can’t control the river, we can’t control what happens, but we can master healthy ways to react and interact with it.

If you’re waiting for circumstances to be at their best, or for things to be ‘fixed’ before you can be happy, then you’ll never be happy- happiness is a choice, a state of mind, a hope, determination, an opening of the hands.

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Now, that’s easier said than done.

I also think that happiness is over-rated. We’re often easily sold in to the idea of happiness, but what really fills us with life, hope, joy, peace and truth, is meaning, happiness is a wonderful bi-product of good living.

Meaning is being part of something, having a purpose, a reason to get up, drawing out the goodness, being yourself, fighting for good and overcoming obstacles, finding out that you make a massive difference to the world and that you are incredibly valuable just because of who you are.

Eating disorders and negative self-image says that you lack meaning, that you can’t fight, that you’re not good enough and not worth it anyway, that you make no difference, that the hurt is bigger than you, that the disease is stronger than you, that the voices are telling you the truth, and that the voices know the movement and energy of the river which it says is made of constant pain and suffering and that’s all there is. It is voice of lies.

If this is you, that voice is a lie. You are strong and you are infinitely valuable.

Hearing that is unlikely to make you believe it, and you are not expected to. But I would love to show you more.

Whether you have a diagnosed mental illness such as an eating disorder, or an utterly convinced mind of your lack of value in relation to your self worth, there are many things that can help to shut the lying voice up. It is an incredibly difficult journey, with incredible joy and freedom to be found in recovery. Support groups are used to create a loving and accepting environment in which the voice of goodness can be heard. Creative outlets such as art, and accomplishments such as internships, help to grow your self esteem.

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It is not only the skipping or cheating of the path that leads to the closed gates or sudden flood, but also not having enough support and focus while you make the journey, especially if your path is particularly treacherous. By having that focus and support at the right time along your own personal path, you will have the best opportunities you can in order to master your tools in fighting, which is essential.

I am not a therapist, I’ve been a youth worker but it is not my mastery, I’m not a councilor, or a nurse or doctor, I’m not offering you those things, there are places whose role that is- but I am an artist, I am an entrepreneur, I am a friend, I am a fighter, an encourager, I have an open house and life, and I am ready for you.

The studio will be open for the whole of August, you can come as often as it suits you during that time and group visits will be co-ordinated amongst the schedules of those who apply, once we’ve met everyone. You will be able to design and sell your own work, help me with orders, do photoshoots and help organize events. It will count as an internship with an established and successful fashion brand for use on your CV, which many fashion enthusiasts from around the world have asked me to offer them, as it’s a very valuable thing to have. All ages and stages of journeys are welcome- if you don’t know if you’re ‘ill enough’ or ‘sad enough’ there are no set standards here at WAHP, you don’t have to be hanging off your hinges to deserve help- if it’ll help you then that’s all that matters, get in touch!

My email is sarah@wearehairypeople.co.uk There’s more links to info and donations via the website!

It may be that just one girl comes in the end, or ten, or none, my palms are open to the flow of the river.

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