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Art and The Elephants

So an hour after my nana passed, I got a call to be commissioned to make Art. At the time I couldn't take it in and apart from then attending the most dreaded funeral of my life, saying goodbye to our family home and dealing with life's challenges, I put it on the back burner, knowing I had a job to do, and a degree to finish first.

Last year was tough, in every way possible. When you think you can't take any more, but life keeps pushing you. Changing direction, going back 10 steps to take 20 forward. Like the grilling of a trainer. Pushing you, carving you, moulding you into you. The you you want to be. Going down roads you didn't expect, running back, spinning in circles, then finally feeling stability. I used to be embarrassed about being slightly bonkers (at times), I used to feel embarrassed my background was from here there and everywhere (not any more), I used to feel embarrassed that my skin seemed worse than anyone else's, despite the mounds of makeup I'd used to make me feel better. The walks, the me time, stirred with guilt, made me feel better. The curiosity to search beyond me, beyond my life, beyond Cheadle, made me feel better.

The decisions that made no sense, the actions that got judged, the crying, screaming and shouting that was misunderstood, made me feel better. Helping others when I had nothing, made me feel better. Helping others when I had more than enough, made me feel better. And striking out of the normal way to live, made me feel better. So I went back to school, and boyy was it tough! Yet I held my head up high and ran up and down the corridors filled with excitement, probably still annoying some, yet I felt better. I helped organise a event for a charity called Kamla, and because I never knew what I was ever going to do with my art work, I thought I could make raffles prizes and help raise a bit more money. It was this charity that then wanted me to work with them.

They use Gandhi's quote to promote 'be the change you want to see in the world'. I wanted to see better, I wanted to feel better, so all I could do was be better, get better and never stop. I have thrown away hundreds of unfinished artwork, because I didn't think it was right, it wasn't perfect or the way I wanted it to be. But then I learnt that it doesn't have to be. You just have to do it. Have fun with it. The twists, the turns, the accidents along the way, all roll back around in the end and you could end up further, or somewhere better than you first imagined. All we can ever do is give our best and ultimately do what makes us feel better!

I joke that I sold my soul so I could go and travel Italy. I was furious inside, I had to fullfill this dream. I booked to go and so did my mum, unaware at the time; what you'd think would be a happy coincidence was so not. I was staying to make sure Nona wasn't alone. But then she went. She was gone. I had tickets to fly, a dream so close, yet one scary enough to chicken out and stay put. The odds weren't good, but I had to see my dreams for real. I had to go to my Nonas land. And yes I wanted to see it all! 'From the top - to the the bottom' I used to say. And that I did...

Even though it was the most draining, scary, emotional trip, it was a trip of a lifetime. I seen all the places she had told me about. I cried in every one, but I smiled and held my head up high because of her! This wonderful woman I miss so dam dearly. She always said, you'll see, believe and you can. You find a way. It isn't always the way you expect, but if there is a will, there sure is a way, without a doubt.

I stood outside the colosseum drinking a pina colada, as you do, and a man came over and gave me two elephants. They look like chess pieces, jamani style to be more accurate. He didn't want anything for them, he said they were for good luck. He told us of his family in Africa and how he was there working for them. Doing his best, yet still with a kind heart.

I later realised I had a job to do when I got home, to make my art, and as requested, two elephants...

Like I said, I wanted to stop, start again, scrap it, but once I started, I had committed to finish however they may end up, (obs just trying my best). I pinched some of the girls clay and carved away. Despite its trunk, tail and tusk falling off it's coming together quite well lol ..like I'm happy. The cracks make the piece. You don't have to start again, it doesn't have to be 'perfect', you just keep at it until it gets better.

So a lot like life. You're here once. You don't get to start again. You don't need to. You just gotta make it better and enjoy the ride wherever it takes you, however scary, it can still be amazing. Whenever something bad happens, it can sometimes be the making of you. So don't ever give up, just get better and better...💕❤️

From Clay to Cous-Cous.. and lots of glitter!!

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