Stay Strong

Words cannot express how long I have had to fight for every single smile in my life, and how difficult it has been to hold onto joy and light, thanks to crippling depression that has plagued me since childhood. Thank you to the never-ending continuation of burdens and grief. Really. Thanks. Thank you world, thank you life. I know I am dangerously close to sounding like a martyr, or maybe even a drama queen – ‘What the hell has she got to be depressed about?’ many might think – but unless you too have suffered with it, you cannot understand the agony it brings. Every day. Always. And I know there is so much I have to be thankful for, and indeed I spend every night reminding myself of this, but it is such a faint glimmer within the darkness. But a glimmer nonetheless.

And, to my dear mother, I want to apologise for all the added stress I brought you in my school days, in my teenage years, for I could not cope and I know it upset you to see me ruin myself, to fall into this unrecognisable being of burning anger. And I want to apologise for now, for still not being the daughter I wish I could be. You too have had many hardships, and right now we are both going through difficulty, and I wish I was a better, more stable person to help you somehow. Perhaps I am desperately selfish to spend my time crying and telling you how I cannot cope, burdening you, when you have had to be the strongest woman I know, raising three children alone – one of whom is disabled. You are so strong. How I look at you and think, ‘I wish I could be so wise and strong like you!’ Don’t be sad, Mum. Don’t cry. I will try to be a good daughter and friend to ease these times, though I do not know how. I wish I knew how. Maybe the knowledge of my love will do for now. And, perhaps, I should be saying all this to you in person, but we know how utterly hopeless I am at speaking my feelings aloud… Writing is my release and my solace. And so I write this, sharing with the world how wonderful I think you are. Someday, I will defeat depression once and for all, and be the girl I’m truly meant to be and the daughter I have always hoped to become.

I’ll hold your hand and we’ll scramble these rocks together, though I’m not sure how good I’ll be as support, for you have been the one to support me since forever. I’ll try, Mum. I’ll try…

Once upon a time I wrote a little rhyme… And I say this to you now, and to myself, and to anyone else out there who has silently been suffering with depression:

‘Silver moonlight in the night
shines down for all to see,
so where can the shadows hide
when even in darkness there is light?’

**

There is light, always. Stay strong ❤

Rise Above, Be Reborn

Here I am, running freely through Ilimoskus Valley. It is my hope to talk openly about much to do with Ilimoskus this year, for previously I had done so rather sparingly, as though I did not want to bother others with the mention of it. But, I realise now that the Ilimoskus story – the Ilimoskus world – is as much a part of me as my very breath, and to hold it in denies my heart of all its core values. So, here’s hoping for wonderful things to come out of this year!

*

And nor will I stay quiet about my mental health. I have a mental health problem. I am ill. And I have been for far too long, in honesty. Eight years too long. Modern society still sneers down on mental health as not being much of a problem (certainly in the UK, anyway), but truly I tell you to know that it is. It really is. Nobody asks to become ill. Do you think anyone asks for a mental illness? It is hideous, for you are trapped within your own mind, and every new step you take somehow leads you back into darkness, back into the eternal loop from which it seems impossible to escape. It is tough to get over an illness. I believe it is probably tougher to get over a mental one. The mind is a complex thing. Still! I am undergoing ‘treatment’, if you will, and I am sure I will be free eventually.

Fellow sufferers, to you I say: Please do not give up, please do not be overwhelmed. I know it is so, so hard, and there are some days you wake up and think, I cannot do this anymore, I cannot go on this way, and I know it can be tempting to do something about those feelings, but that is not the way. I know how lonely it feels. I know how forsaken life seems. But please do not give up. There is a way out of the darkness, and you find the light by seeking help, by forever seeking your inner strength. You will pull through. You can and you will.

Of course, finding your inner strength and clambering out of the darkness does not dig up roses, but rather it churns up thick mud and thorns spit in your face. But those thorns can only blind you if you let them, and the mud can only suck you under if you stand still. I don’t claim to have all the answers, of course I don’t – no one does – but I do know that finding the beauty and wonder in the world, in the tiny little things, allows the sun to shine upon you, and that is precious. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but I do know that the most beautiful people in the world are the ones who rise above their gloom and grab the sun for their own, shining its light – as well as theirs – upon the rest of us. A special grace and power comes to those who rise above the darkness. And their hearts, once so scarred and hopeless, turn into diamonds. Unbreakable and so, so beautiful.

But anyway… Enough of such sober matters. (Just don’t give up. Mental illness or no.)

*

I am here to talk about my precioussssssssss **gollum!-gollum!** That is, Ilimoskus. Lots to tell, lots to tell!

ONE) This is the most important, and so it comes first. I should have blurted this out ages ago, but, you know, I’ve been busy planting flowers in my mud. THIS POST <<- announced that my book, Ilimoskus: Times of Old, was no longer available for purchase, due a blumin’ publishing nightmare. BUT!! No more is this so! Back at the beginning of December (or maybe even the end of November, actually, I can’t remember) I was told that the book had been picked up by another company, and, thusly, it is back for the world to read. Hoorah, eh? So. If you would like to read the story, know now that you can. Jolly times.

TWO) I say ‘jolly times’, and indeed it is, but I was actually slightly miffed by this because I wanted to re-edit the manuscript before I put it back out to the world. Obviously that has not happened. Never mind. I’ll do it at some point. I am still re-editing Times of Old at the moment; I’ve cut some bits out, and I’ve made some alterations, such as the school uniform design for Anglarne Hill Independent School in the human world (which includes altering the colour of the house of Danebury, if anyone has read it and cares… It is now green, not red). I have also changed the little ‘dedication’ bit right at the beginning of the book… In my work-in-progress Book 2, the ‘dedication’ page is not a dedication at all, but rather a poem, and I have re-done Book 1’s to be of the same nature, and telling the same ‘story’, I guess. Because it might be a century before the new version is out, I shall share the new poem/dedication for Times of Old with you now:

‘A fire flares within a heart

as stone shields around;

in stormy skies it falls apart

into a sea where dreams so drown.

Can it see in the dark?

How does it stay so strong?

From where does its new life spark?

Do the depths help it belong?

The darkness beckons, olden one,

but you can see the dawn;

let these times go by – be done! –

for you will be reborn.’

THREE) The last thing to mention is a little something I have planned, which should be a treat for those who like the story. I had previously done this little sketch of the four ilyorz (or, in English, the four elements: fire, earth, air, water):

fourilyorz

But, long have I wanted to do more sketches of the Ilimoskus world and the characters in the story. And so, whenever I find the time, I have been trying to work on my drawing skills to do all my elemental friends justice (as within my artistic capabilities). My plan is to draw the most significant characters in the trilogy (which is a ridiculous number, I’ll have you know) and share them with the world on a new page on my website, in a gallery of some sort, with a sentence or two describing them. I thought it would be a nice thing to do! It will obviously take some time to draw them all, so I’ll upload the images as and when and subsequently announce it on my Facebook page and/or Twitter. Or maybe on here, actually. Who knows. But, given I haven’t even started creating the new page on my website yet, it’ll take a while until it’s sorted. I’ll keep you updated.

But, I also thought – assuming I find my sketches of the Ilimoskus at least tolerable – that I might create another page for them specifically, going into more depth about the four ilyorz (elements) and their clothing style. Because why not, I think you’ll find. It’s interesting, honestly 😉 You can see it slightly in the sketch above, but that isn’t really showing it very well. And, not only do they have different clothing styles depending on their ilyor, but they also have different clothing styles depending on their leoges (another strange word, yes: see here for clarification). There is great depth to the Ilimoskus world indeed!

And hey, maybe if I get really carried anyway, I’ll draw all the Ilimoskus creatures, too 😉 (which I’ve actually already done, just not very well since they are all in my rough notebooks).

So, yes! New things, new times, new hope. It is my aim this year to be kinder to the Ilimoskus story, and to be kinder to myself regarding it. I am telling you, I have been vicious to myself – and kind of vicious to my elementals as well (sorry, my friends) – over the past four years or whatever. Ilimoskus is a labour of love, not some hideous punishment I must endure, and so I have come to realise that this kind attitude is the one I must keep, despite external pressures or what have you. And, in being kinder, my love for it will ever soar, and I will travel to great heights with it, I am sure.

But I shall leave you now with two sketches I have already done of some characters within the Ilimoskus story. The main human characters!

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This is Anastasia (right) and Elizabeth (left) Gott. They are sisters – Anastasia being the eldest. Here they are modelling the newly designed Anglarne Hill school uniform. Elizabeth (or ‘Lizzie’) is the main, main human protagonist within the story.

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This is Demetri (left) and Leon (right) Carter. They are non-identical twins! They too are modelling the newly designed Anglarne Hill school uniform (don’t you just love the trousers?). These two are lovely characters, if I may say so 😉 – especially Demetri (or ‘Dem’, as he is often called)!

***

Fun, pointless fact for you all: Within this post, I have said that ilyorz means ‘elements’ in English. This is not actually true. That is just the easiest translation. The Ilimoskus word for the four elements of nature is rather ilimoss.


Thank you for reading, everyone. I know my posts can often be quite lengthy, and so I deeply appreciate anyone who takes the time out of their day to read my words.

Be well and true,

and rise above the beckoning darkness

to be reborn with your diamond heart

so to dwell amongst the stars

for evermore.

~~

Christmas Miracle

My dears, hello. There may be some fellows out there who have noticed my blog has been rather inactive as of late, for indeed, I have not been posting anything. Cutting all short: I lost the will, well and truly. The past several months have been incredibly difficult for me – I’ve been sprawling in sludge, really – and it came to be that I could not face anything at all. I have had nothing to blog about recently, anyway, and creative inspiration flew out the window. Besides, I have been frustratingly busy, especially in December. Curse that month and all its holiday obligations.

I have had a particularly severe case of Ebenezeritis (that is, Scrooge Syndrome) this past Christmastime. I am a yearly sufferer of this, but this Christmas was something else, quite frankly. I don’t think I have ever been more Scroogey in my life. Even looking at wrapping paper infuriated me, seeing merry Father Christmases and gaudy font, and snowmen and reindeer and sparkly stars and all the rest. Ugh. I always find it quite amazing how low I become on the brink of Christmas – so 22nd, 23rd, 24th. It is almost as if someone – or something – flicks a switch in my mind that turns off any hint of light in my eyes, and I see nothing but obscure shades like in the night-time. No wonder I turn into Scrooge. As a result of this internal darkness, I seek nothing but isolation and personal reflection around Christmastime, which I appreciate is the complete opposite of what is accustomed for the festive season. But, fear not, for my Christmas Days never turn into antisocial affairs, no matter how much I may want it to be as such. This year, I saw wider family on the day, which is not a typical Christmas for me, and it seemed like everyone in the household was plagued by a hideous cold that has been lingering around. And so, I spent the day recoiling from the endless splutters and spewing from those around me. Gotta love family, right? 😉

I hope everyone else had a more merry time of it, though. Not that I had a bad day. I didn’t. It was fine.

But, I have a question:

Do you believe in miracles?

What about Christmas miracles?

I said earlier that I have been having a tough time of it for the past few months. Truth be told, I’ve been having a tough past eight years, but the last few months really have been something else. Certainly something different, anyway. Cutting it short again, I fell back into depression quite badly (I never actually left the merciless grasp of depression to begin with, but I had slowly been climbing up that very slippery slope. I guess I lost my footing and took a plummet downwards). Not only that, but this time around I developed panic disorder, leading to ridiculous agoraphobia and I basically did not step out the back door for a month or so, and if I did, it was with my wonderful mother who basically held my hand the whole time like I was a young child again. She came to my rescue, most certainly. It had been a long time coming, in a way, and I had finally grown wise enough to realise that I cannot help myself without admitting I needed help. I had known I needed help for years, yet never acted upon it, for admitting it is through an entirely different door whose key is terribly challenging to acquire. But it is situations like these that call upon our inner valour, and it is up to us find that key, unlock the door, and reveal our strength to both ourselves and to the world. Upon my admission of needing help, I have ended up on anti-anxiety medication (which are also anti-depressants) and I am in the process of therapy – it is a nightmare, really, but it must be so. I am only several weeks into my therapy, and I have basically spent every single session staring at the clock on the wall, at which my therapist believes it is apt to make jokes. The other week when I was with him, I looked to the wall for the clock, but it wasn’t there…

“Oh, there’s no clock,” I said, secretly quite mortified by this. I had my watch on, though, so catastrophe averted.

“Yeah, I told them to take it down,” he casually replied.

“Did you?!” I could not contain my surprise.

*laughs* “No!”

I mean honestly.

Anyway, panic attacks have been a problem over the last few months, but thankfully things have improved for me dramatically and I haven’t had a panic attack in many weeks, and since my anxiety has lessened I am now able to walk out on the streets alone. As inconsequential as that may sound, it was/is actually a huge breakthrough for me considering how bad I was not too long ago. Any other panic suffers out there will understand. But on Christmas Day, I experienced something which I can only pin as being a miracle. It was. It really was.

I had a terrible accident with my horse over a year ago now, and part of my panic disorder was suffering from delayed shock from the situation. As a result, even seeing horses on television occasionally causes the beginnings of a panic attack for me – not a full-blown panic attack, you understand, just a mini one, as I like to call it: I feel my chest tightening with a sneaky pain creeping amongst it, my heart starts palpitating, and my stomach flips and knots and nausea floods me. So. Understandably, seeing a horse in the flesh amplifies these ‘mini’ panic attacks into full-blown ones.

I live in a small town (12,000 or so people), and it only takes a few minutes to walk to all three of the linked Anglican churches from my house. The church that was holding Christmas Communion happened to be the one in the town square, and as I was walking down the road which leads onto the high street (basically the only main road in my town which also happens to be ‘town’ itself), I saw something I really did not expect to see. This just sums up where I live completely, to be honest, rural and slow-paced as it is, but I saw two horses with their riders walking down the high street. I was taken aback, halting my movement, and watched for a moment as the horses clipped on by. And that was it. Then I continued walking, with not a care in the world. Not one ounce of panic filled me. Not one bit. I couldn’t believe it!! Truly, as baffled as I was to have not collapsed in a panic attack, I was also awestruck, and I decided not to dwell over the mystery of the situation; instead, I smiled to myself more than I did at any other point that day, frolicking with inner joy. Because I am not alone in this. Alone, perhaps I would reach the end of the road in time – who can say how long it would take, though? But with God, I can hold His hand all the way, and if I stumble, He is there to pick me up again.

But isn’t Christmas Day a miracle in itself? The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, hmm? That’s what it’s all about, and if it were not for that miracle Christmas would not be celebrated in the first place. I think we all need to remember that. There are people out there who believe miracles to be a far-fetched concept, but I believe there are miracles every second of every day. Watching the sunrise is a miracle. Seeing the ever-changing hues of the sky is a miracle. Laughter is a miracle, tears are a miracle. Love is a miracle. Music is a miracle. Birdsong is a miracle. The seasons are a miracle. Blossoming flowers are a miracle. Life is a miracle.

And so we should love every second of what time we are given here on Earth. Even if it brings you depression. Even if it brings you panic disorder. For there are still miracles to be found, to be seen, to be heard. In fact, when you suffer from depression or any other mental issue, miracles are even easier to find. It is as though God leans down to you amidst your suffering to say, “Hey, I know you’re struggling, I know this is hard, so I will bless you to see the beauty in the smallest of sights and to know the strength in the simplest of situations. You will get through this. I am here.” Only in our darkest hours do we clearly see the light within ourselves.

I am sure your Christmas was blessed with many miracles. Did you see them? If not, no worries, for they will all be there tomorrow, too, just waiting to be found.

***

I should probably mention something that I should have mentioned a good while ago, but, as I said at the beginning of this post, I haven’t been able to face anything recently. My next post will be about Ilimoskus (though I have no idea when that will be) and I shall mention this ‘something’ then. I doubt I’ll post before New Year, so I wish you all a peaceful transition into 2015, and may joy and glee greet you on the other side. Let us reflect on all the positive 2014 gave us, and learn and gain strength and wisdom from the negative. Shine in your light, and in the light of the world.

See you on the other side, my friends 😉

And may the light from your heart always guide you

Summer

Summer Field

‘Summer Field’, image from Pulsar Ecard

The four seasons are equally as important as one another, for each holds its own beauty, and all are necessary and essential for nature’s cycle.

Summer. The time when nature is in its prime. Golden crops stand tall in the fields, leaves are abundant in vibrant green, and the sun burns brightly upon us in cloudless blue skies, like a fire-diamond endlessly rolling through sapphires. Everything in this time is bigger, stronger, and with all this strength around mighty titans clash in summer storms erupting up above, and flash downpours plummet.

Or that’s how it’s supposed to be. Of course, British summers are rarely scorchers, and we get constant showers as opposed to dramatic thunder storms. We couldn’t be having proper seasons in this country now, could we? Perish the thought. The worst thing about British summers, though, is the humidity that always comes with it. We don’t get nice heat. Ever. Ugh, summer. It is completely and utterly beyond my comprehension as to how anyone can find this season pleasurable.

The seasons are very significant to the Ilimoskus since they are, of course, deeply entwined with nature itself, and because we are in summer, I thought I would share with you exactly what summer means to them.

Natoda (Summer)

In the Kurpian language, the word for summer is ‘natoda’ (pronounced: “nat-toe-dah”)

Summer is the time of ‘strong nature’. It is the season of good fortune and golden opulence in nature – the reward for the patient wait. It is the symbol of merriment, festivity and glory; however, such times cannot last, especially if they abuse nature’s kind offerings, and so it is also the symbol warning against greed and selfishness.

Summer is said to be the season of the Flamikus due to the dry and hot conditions that often come with this time in nature’s cycle.

***

See here for the other seasons:

Spring

Autumn

Winter

Once Upon a Time in the English Countryside

Update (22/04/2014): This was when I actually had horses. My life has changed quite dramatically since this was written, due to unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances. Although it saddens me to read this back, the message in it stills remains the same, which is why I have decided not to delete it. 

I am going to tell you a little story, with some pictures to accompany the writing.

***

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Jenny.

It was a charming day within the English county of Wiltshire, with the gentle sun residing in a bright blue sky, smiling down upon the earth, and a breeze danced around to the sound of spring’s song. But the weather did not reflect Jenny’s feelings on this day. She was feeling fragile, and the dancing breeze twirling with the grass and leaves only reminded her of how alone she currently felt. Why could she not frolic joyously with not a care in the world? She felt like the bitter, howling wind of winter; she wished that she could somehow be this jolly wind of spring. How could she become this?

Perhaps, if she ventured outdoors, the sun’s rays would dry up all her dank dejection; however, she thought this unlikely, given how far she had fallen down a gloomy hole. She could not see the sun’s light, only shadows produced by the imprisoning dirt walls. Regardless, she had to go out at some point anyway, and surely anything was better than wallowing in the mud.

So, out she went to the farm.

Still feeling wholly miserable, she went about her typical routine. She walked into storage barn number three to acquire the two hay bales she needed, and pushing them on a wheelbarrow, she started the long trudge up to the top fields.

On her way, she came across a little mouse.

Jenny could not deny that she was reasonably surprised to find a mouse sitting in the middle of the farmyard, and even more so about the fact the mouse did not run away from her as she approached. She crouched down, saying hello to it, but after a moment it became apparent to her that something was not quite right with the little fellow. It did not seem well at all. Slightly dismayed by seeing an animal in such a way, Jenny thought the last place the mouse should be was in the middle of the farmyard. So, she picked up the mouse and took it to one side, placing it within the lengthy grass so it could convalesce in comfort.

Continuing on with her journey, she made her way around the back of the cow barn.

Jenny very much liked the cows, especially watching them grow from tiny calves; they were most adorable and amusing when they were young, for they charged about with one another and were cautiously friendly towards the humans that approached them. When she reached this location, she heard one of the cows low in a rather bizarre way, and that made her smile. It was a smile that was far overdue indeed. She had not been outside for long, and already the breeze had taken hold of her hand to make her carelessly skip and forget her troubles. The sun had pulled her from the hole and banished all lingering shadows away. This was why she loved the country so; the purity of nature was so prevailing over any kind of man-made corruption that it was impossible to stay foul-tempered. And it was a pureness no lowly human could ever emulate. One should feel privileged to be in the presence of such unmatchable beauty and essence.

Being silently thankful to the cow that made her initially smile, she went into the cow barn to say hello to them all.

And it seemed that the cows returned the greeting – or, perhaps they were just being nosey. That was probably the more likely scenario, but, nevertheless, she welcomed their company.

Again, she continued on her way. This time, Jenny did not stop until she reached her destination, and she could not deny that she was somewhat puffed out after hauling around the two hay bales.

It did not help that the journey to reach her destination was also up a slight hill. However, she soon recovered, and she decided to sit upon the soft grass and simply embrace the nature which surrounded her.

She gazed out at the beautiful view amid the pleasant evening, watching the golden, setting sun shine in splendour, but although it was starting to fall from the sky, never did it cease its warming touch. The rays seeped through her skin, and indeed it seemed that the sun did succeed in drying up her dank dejection. She never should have doubted it. With a small smile planted on her face, she listened to an array of birds tweet their eventide tunes, performing to any who were willing to hear. What a glorious stage they had: the stage of nature – the stage of the world. In a way, she wished she could sit there forever.

IMAG0044

As she was quietly sitting, all of a sudden her horse came over to say hello.

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This made Jenny’s smile firmly establish itself. Her horse stood beside her, munching away on the hay, and did nothing more. It was as though her horse wanted to enjoy the view with her.

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It wasn’t long before another animal came to say hello – Jenny seemed to be quite popular with the animals that evening.

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“Hello, Billy!” said Jenny. And yes, Billy the cockerel. But that’s better than Boris (who is another cockerel) – named after Boris Johnson, naturally. She watched Billy strut around, clucking away, and every now and then he came precariously close, eyeing her up with his slightly disturbing bright orange eyes.

After a moment, Jenny happened to look behind her, and she saw something that made her chuckle; although, it must be said, she felt ever so slightly immature for laughing at it. She’d had a long day…

For some reason, the length of her horse’s legs in the shadow made her laugh, but not even she understood why. Perhaps she was just merry after being dried up by the great outdoors.

Jenny stayed up there with her horse and the cockerel, soaking up the countryside, for quite some time. How long, exactly, she could not say. She would have stayed there forever had reality not intervened, but finally, she decided that she had to go. By the time she started to push the wheelbarrow back down to the farmyard, the sun had fallen beyond the horizon.

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Although the sun had now said goodbye to the world, having a well earned rest, the warmth and hope it had given Jenny did not leave with it. The sun had bestowed her its light, placing it within the unreachable soul so that nothing could darken its reign. Even if she found herself in the dingiest stone cavern, this light would show her the way out; all she had to do was remember it was there.

It wasn’t until the world was painted navy blue by the dawning night that she went back inside, back home.

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But she went home with a smile, not a frown, because no matter how broken you may be, you can always put yourself back together by taking a stroll outside through the country. Nature has a way of saying, “Hey, it’ll be okay,” without actually saying anything at all; it silently talks to you through the sun, the trees, the birds and the breeze, whispering sweet words of hope that give you the strength to stand tall despite the fact your foundations may be cracking. Nature has the power to heal itself, to regenerate; the mightiest of forest fires may devastate the land, but, in time, little green sprouts push up through the blackened ash to wave at the world once again. We are living, just like nature – we are life – so why shouldn’t we be able to heal ourselves, to regenerate our broken hearts or shattered spirits?

There is no reason.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Jenny. She started her day crying, feeling hope drain from her with every tear that fell. She ended her day smiling, feeling that very hope return to her, because she realised that we can learn a lot from nature. We can learn a lot just by taking a look at the world outside, the world around us.

In the noise of nature is silence, and in this silence is strength; when you listen to it, you will hear nothing but eternal song.

Jenny intends to live happily ever after, no matter what life may bring, singing along to the music.

The End