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Following the Rules

Once upon a time a girl sighed.

She didn’t want to do what her mum told her…

Get dressed!

Get ready for school!

Eat your breakfast now!

Go and brush your teeth!

She wanted to stare at the amber glow of the fire

And wonder at its warmth,

Appreciating the cold pockets of air

Here and there

Instead of the uniform blanket heat

She thought would be there.

She wondered why,

Her favourite question,

And began to imagine

Little holes in the air

And what that might look like

If air had colour.

But her mum interrupted

Her flow of thoughts

With her demands and instructions

So she sighed and complied.

But she never stopped daydreaming

Even at school.

As the maths teacher

Spoke of equations that bored her,

She looked out the window

At the rolling hills

And wondered about weather

And what it would be like

If wind had colour

Although she could already see

The long term effects on trees.

She wanted to gaze as

Different coloured particles

Whinnied and whirled

And danced and floated

Around each other,

Showing the shapes of

Wind turrets that birds glide on,

Building castles in the sky

And she almost began to see it when

“Julia! Stop daydreaming!”

Same command, different person.

Why were they so attached to their rules?

She sighed and dragged her mind

To the complicated array of problems to solve.

Was this you when you were a child? 

Do you still follow the rules when you could be creating your own way? 

I can help you go your own way by getting to know the beautiful parts of you that you’ve disowned. 

Reach out for your 30 minute coaching conversation so we can find out if we’re a good fit to work together

Love,

Julia xxx

P.S. For the sake of transparency, my coaching session fee rate is £66 for single sessions or if you book and pay for 3 in advance, it’s £165, a saving of £33.

There’s a right way

I wrote this in the creative writing group I love being in:

“There’s a right way, you know!” She tossed her head, then looked away.

“How do you know?”

“What? What kind of stupid question is that?” She huffed.

“There are many ways. Perhaps all of them are right.”

“Who the fuck are you anyway?” She began muttering beneath her breath as she folded her arms and repeatedly tapped one finger just above her elbow.

“I’m part of you,” the voice was slow, calm.

“Ha. You are not. I can see you! You’re outside of me!” And she stared hard at the strange shape. “In fact, how are you even talking to me? Where did you come from?” She looked now with curiosity at the small pink pyramid. 

The object sat heavily, its short legs sticking out in front and clasped its hands together. “Do you know, I don’t know!” It laughed and two small circles of blush appeared beneath its eyes, either side of its tiny snub nose. It put a finger to its lips, “hmmm. I’ve been here as long as I can remember…”

“Here? In this room?” Her gaze was piercing.

“No. No. Inside you. I don’t know how I got out of you.”

The girl sat down too. She frowned and stared. “What’s your name?” She asked.

“Happy.”

“Like a Dwarf?”

“What?”

“Oh no. That’s not right.” She shook her head.

They sat in silence for a while. Happy took long, deep breaths and smiled a small smile as it did so. Soon the girl’s breathing began to match Happy’s.

“Who were you talking to about a right way?” Asked Happy.

The girl started with surprise. “No-one. I was annoyed at someone. They were mean. Rigid. Unforgiving. Conservative.”

“There is a right way,” Happy smiled.

“But weren’t you implying there isn’t?”

“It depends, doesn’t it? On how you’re feeling. When you feel flustered it’s hard to find the right way in the moment. But when you’re happy, relaxed, it’s easier.”

“I guess so.” The girl took a deep breath. And then another.

“But sometimes I want to take the wrong way on purpose. I want to say hurtful things. But I don’t.”

“Just out loud to yourself.”

“Yes.”

“Letting it out in safe ways.”

“Yes.”

They breathed together in time.

“I hate not having the time to be me. That makes it hard to see the right ways.”

“Yes, I see.” Happy nodded.

Did you enjoy my creative writing?

Are holidays okay for you?

My van by the side of a canal near Liverpool, UK

It’s probably a strange question, but are holidays okay for you? It’s on my mind because I’m actually on holiday this week but here I am writing to you. That’s partly because a friend cancelled our trip to North Wales and I’m pootling about in the North West of England by myself (which I love, by the way).

At first it didn’t feel okay, because it was a big change and there was, suddenly, this big empty array of days in front of me. But as I relax into it, I’m enjoying lazy mornings, going to discover places and take photos, and reading, lots of reading! What kinds of holidays do you like?

I’m reading about ADHD, which I resonate with a huge deal (I’ve been waiting for an assessment since September 2020). And I’ve been reflecting on my coaching clients who have ADHD. Most of them have had post-traumatic stress disorder too.  Both of these things are neurodiverse traits. The former is how the brain is wired and the latter can be healed.

Both types of neurodiversity need some kind of support. Often one goes hand in hand with the other. Afterall, this world is set up for neuro-‘normal’ people and any kind of discrimination tends to feel traumatic for the person being discriminated against. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir with that statement! What do you think?

Anyway, with that in mind, I’d like to let you know that I offer therapeutic coaching for exactly this kind of thing – neurodiversity. Coaching can help to identify and overcome the things that paralyse you so that you can focus on the things you really want to do and have and be. 

I love supporting neurodiverse people in this way and there’s a testimonial from one of my clients on my website that you might like to read to give you an idea of what it might be like.

Another way of finding out what I’m like in supporting you is to try a sessionSingle sessions are £66 or if you book and pay for 3 in advance, it’s £165, which is a saving of £33 (just reach out and we can set that up for you).

Most people like to try 3 sessions and we can review it in the 3rd session so you can decide whether to go for another 3. 

If you’d like to have a chat about it, I’ll happily give you a free 30 minute consultation so we can ‘try each other on’ and see if we’re a good fit. Would you like that? If so, email me and we’ll set it up for you.

Love,

Julia xxx

Creativity is the first medicine

Creativity is the first medicine, A4, Oil pastel and coloured biro on legal pad paper

This is my fragmented heart – a response to what I heard and saw and felt on Friday when I attended Edge Hill University Arts Centre event – The Role of the Arts, Arts Therapies, and Psychotherapies in Supporting Mental Health in Black and Allied Communities. The words around the heart are a quote from Andrea-May Oliver, which blew my mind:

“Ancestors, thank you for walking the path we wouldn’t dare to tread.”

And at the bottom is another quote from Samantha Adams, which forms the title of my piece: “Creativity is the First Medicine.”

As someone who experienced sexual, emotional and physical abuse in childhood and daily discriminations of sexism throughout life, I can attest to creativity as first medicine. When I was in the midst of a breakdown 11 years ago and I could not get the mental health help I needed, art was there. Without art I would have been in a dark hole for a long time.

I made a sculptural piece on canvas and wrote a poem on it. This is the poem:

I am not broken
I don’t need to be fixed
What I need is presence
For my parts to be mixed

You can see this painting here: https://juliafry.com/legal-high-2011/

Trauma, any trauma regardless of the discrimination that caused it, can be healed with expression in safe arms. It’s hard to go there, to those places of pain, and it must be done gently, allowing the pain to bubble up rather than go seeking it. It’s so worth it. The more we do the inner work, the more we honour ourselves, our ancestors, the people we share this planet with and we can create heaven on earth if we can hear one another’s pain, have a conversation about it, a dance, a song, throw away what is no longer needed in the fire and create together. That’s what we’re here for. We are creative beings. Let’s create some magic!

A River of Rage Resides in Me

Work in progress, mixed media (deconstructed found baby’s bonnet and acrylic)
Work in progress, mixed media (deconstructed found baby’s bonnet and acrylic)
Work in progress, mixed media (deconstructed found baby’s bonnet and acrylic)
Work in progress, mixed media (deconstructed found baby’s bonnet and acrylic)

A river of rage resides in me

And I am building it for you to see.

Because it needs acknowledging;

It needs to be let out to

Burn everything in its path.

Hot lava rushing through,

Setting fire to all it touches,

Licking gently at its victims

As they turn to ashes.

Love Builds Weird and Wonderful Structures

The Black Hole, Watercolour pencils and chalk pastels on Legal Pad, A4

Once upon a time, in the absence of loving kindness, a black hole appeared. It was deep and dark and its edges were ringed with hurt. Its hunger knew no bounds and was constantly looking for satiation.

One night something hard, yet squidgy, filled it for a while and though it didn’t feel right, it was secret and special. More, it wanted more! And it ate the rage, the fear, the confusion, the shame, the desire. It gorged on hard, yet squidgy, until it could know nothing else. They were made for each other.

Suddenly, hard, yet squidgy, stopped visiting and a blanket of black covered the hole, lifting only to allow it to binge on other shameful things. The blanket was heavy and yet provided a kind of comfort, keeping the status quo.

Eventually a compassionate eye rested its gaze on the black hole, letting it know that it could, if it wanted to, tell its story. It did. And it began to understand its need to binge and that it could begin to feel, not eat, the confusing array of emotions.

As it felt its feelings, the heavy, black blanket disintegrated and the hole began to build structures of peace and fulfilment. What strange, beautiful structures they were. They curled and curved around and out, and developed a weird and wonderful life of their own.

The Seed, The Bird and The Boots – A Love Story

Loving The Seed, Watercolour pencils on Legal Pad paper, A4

Once upon a time a seed landed on the top soil of a freshly dug garden. Laying on the moist earth, it felt at home and began to send roots down into the darkness amongst the worms and other night crawlers. It lay like this for a while through rain and shine, night and day, until it was time to send a shoot skyward. Almost immediately a bird arrived to sing to the new growth encouraging it to burst forth in the way only this shoot could.

The plant that was a seed drew up the soil’s nutrients and its shoot divided into three leaves of vibrant green with red dots. Humans came to lay turf and their boots halted near the plant. They gazed and murmured, then the boots stepped away. Gently, and with minimal vibrations, they laid the turf around the plant, cutting a circle for the place it had claimed as home.

The Birds and the Dragon: Fear and Love

Pink Dragon, 28.7 x 21 cm, acrylic, oil pastel, ink pen, and colour pencil on paper

Once upon a time a creature emerged from the deep blue lake and surprised the birds nearby into silence. Gazing at the birds with a sort of recognition, the creature smiled. The birds saw the creature’s giant lips peel back and sharp yellowy teeth glistened in the sunlight. Bobbing down, the birds prepared for flight as the creature moved slowly forward from the middle of the lake, a wake forming behind it. Feathers began to pop up on its head; they were pink with black dots. The creature pursed its lips together and blew. Twinkling notes filled the air and surprised the birds so much that they almost fell from their branches. Intrigued, they relaxed and waited. The creature emerged from the lake massive, pink, scaly, and feathery, whistling her song and laid beneath the tree. The birds flew down, hopped near, and one landed on the creature’s belly, tickling her and making her giggle.

Being Human is Weird and Wonderful

Being Human, 16 x 16 cm, colour pencils on paper

This drawing I made yesterday feels disturbing. It’s kind of insect-like, yet has an ‘as above, so below’ feel to it. But the grey half is different to the colourful half. It’s like the colour has sucked itself out to exist for a while as colour and will eventually return. The colour is dancing, going, “I am here!” It is attached to the grey thing, is still part of it, but has, briefly, taken another form. It feels separate but isn’t. I think it’s about being human.

What do you think?

Why Abstract Art is Better Than Figurative Art

The Ant and The Butterfly, acrylic on paper, A5

In therapy this week I allowed my inner 5 year old child to paint and she painted this abstract piece (and told a gruesome story about a butterfly and an ant). As she painted I realised I never liked making figurative images (except cartoon faces, which I drew loads of when I was a little older). I loved abstract art. I loved looking at the colours and the textures of the paint. I always have.

Continue reading “Why Abstract Art is Better Than Figurative Art”