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Happy New Year? But First This…

January 3, 2020

Well, here we are again, another year older, wiser and (hopefully) more beautiful inside and out and if we aren’t then there are another 360 plus days to figure it all out and do some experimenting.

2019 wasn’t my most prolific year here on the blog as my enthusiasm for sharing the thoughts that go on in my head ebbed more than it flowed for the first time since I started this thing back in 2007. That scared me a bit to be honest,  I was expecting that, at some point my ideas would dry up and I’d get writers block or something but that’s not what it has been,  it’s been more of a mental ‘why bother’ block which I think I’ve mentioned before.  This doesn’t get fixed by people, readers telling you that you are awesome and to carry on…I write out of compulsion, I go with my own flow as a way of avoiding the kind of mental constipation that comes with holding in a million thoughts a day.   So, in 2019 I was confronted by this ‘why bother’ mentality first followed by a reduction in blog views (inevitably when you go from posting often to posting infrequently).  It didn’t take me long to realise that it wasn’t the numbers that bothered me. I’ve been around long enough to know that mind blowing visitor/ follower/ eyeball growth figures year-after-year are all about the sizzle rather than the sausage in the junk food game of social media.  No, for me it was this attitude that I’d developed that was killing me (and I mean killing me, without being overly dramatic, I did feel pretty dire about it all for a long while there).

I have since realised, on reflection, that my work attitude was being unduly influenced by the energy and what I perceived to be the values of others. This led to me spiralling into what can only be described as a mild catatonic state ( an immobile or unresponsive stupor) or, to use a physics term, a state of inertia.   I must add at this point that this is different to procrastination, with procrastination one is moving but in a way that serves to distract them from what SHOULD be done.  What I was achieving was a state where nothing happens.  Quite zen like in a really dysfunctional way,  I think my brain was just shutting down-too tired, too under nourished, too stressed maybe…

I don’t like the feeling of having my strings pulled by others, it feels very silly and more than a little pathetic, something I frequently remind my kids not to fall for.

I guess it also runs counter to my idea of myself as a strong, independent woman and that felt depressing.

I’m very much a loner and someone who doesn’t really care about how others perceive me. Well, of course I care to a point but that point is more to do with people mis-understanding me than disliking me, there is a big difference I’ve found.  What I realised over the holidays was that I had become overly attached to, or developed a dependency on the need to be fully understood or at least heard by the people who contact me.  Putting this into the context of my work what I mean is this, people ask me questions about their brands and formulations and I go to (what I feel) is great lengths to un-pick their questions and answer them, with their input, from the ground up.  I do this so that the person asking the question may end the exercise truly empowered and with a far deeper understanding than they thought possible.  I do this by taking the surface question and picking at it, uncovering the layer after layer underneath it then encouraging the customer to explore and re-build those layers with me then alone into a whole new world of possibility, invention, originality and satisfaction.   Let’s just say that 2019 was the first whole year where I’ve felt that nobody gives a shit about that any more, about knowing why, how and when.  Somewhere along the line I seemed to have internalised that to ‘nobody gives a shit about people like me any more’ which again is subtly different to ‘nobody gives a shit about me’ – that’s a far more personal take on it all and not something I’d tend towards.  However, by the end of 2019 I felt totally drained and like the world was rewarding the stupid, vacuous, fake and shallow thinking that was everything I hated. That made me angry because I don’t like hating people or situations, it’s very energy consuming and quite destructive until fully analysed (which I’m trying to do here but had no time to do at the time).  So my hatred wore me out and gave me another job to do at a time when the last thing I needed was another job.  Great!

Anyway, time to dig deeper…

Sunset

My hyper-focused state consumed  all of my energy as I tried to ‘help’ people who didn’t realise they needed or wanted that ‘help’ to understand cosmetic chemistry the way I do. I dearly wanted for them to develop the relationship with the subject that I have and to therefore appreciate it WITH me so I’d have more people to play with.

Aside: Anyone who has ever had kids and tried to get them to like and enthusiastically participate in your hobby the way you do will know that I was onto a loser here…

Now wishing for the world to be full of people who think just like me and then getting the shits when they don’t could be signs of bigger problems in every-day life but we’re not talking every-day here. In my work life  I’m a highly accomplished consultant, someone well respected in this field, someone with nearly 23 years of experience (and not just google experience).  I built up my business with the strange notion that I was building a way for people to have a piece of this, learn this, share this, I felt that my unique insight and modus operandi was what people came to me for. Oh shit, that sounds very pompous. If you don’t know me personally you may be thinking right now that I’m actually a self-obsessed dick-head and I take responsibility for that because of how I’ve written what I’ve written. So when it all started to backfire, when people started approaching me like they were doing me a favour, like I was just the lab girl awaiting instructions, that I was the one who needed to ‘do more research’, like their basic ideas were so precious they couldn’t possibly share them with me for fear I’d steal them (as if…)  I felt angry and my brain went into oppositional defiant mode. I WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU ARSE HOLES THEN, STUFF YOU! That’s how it sounded in my head, all shouty and rude.

Ugh!

But as is so often true in life, on reflection I realise that it is me that has this all wrong, not everyone else.  What a bummer that is, always being wrong 😦

The truth is, interactions with people affect how I feel about myself and how motivated I am to perform for them and yes, teaching is a performance, a lovely, wholesome, from-the-heart-body-and-soul performance that I love dearly but only when the audience reciprocates.

The masters teaching course I’m studying helped formalised my understanding of the importance of reciprocation in teaching during 2019 and ironically that was the very same year I felt that reciprocation fizzle out.

I feel it is important for me to point out that reciprocation is NOT, I repeat NOT the same as agreeing, sucking up, fawning over or quietly obeying. I am not a dominatrix, I don’t want to be your master (although I don’t doubt it would pay me more at times hahahahaha)

Most teachers recognise reciprocation in all of its guises (and challenges). Resistance is reciprocation, questioning and debating, sharing and testing ideas, theories and points-of-view are all great, anything but quiet submission or ‘yes missing’.   A good teacher focuses on creating an environment where student-teacher communication is welcomed, it is dynamic, nourishing and where it has the ability to develop both the teacher and the student’s understanding and relationship with the subject at hand. But somehow, it has felt less like that for me this year and not for want of me trying.

So it is with this mindset that I have traditionally taken on my consulting work in all it’s forms. That I’m the teacher and that my customers are, in part, students.  I understand that the teacher-student relationship only goes as far as the scope of the work I am doing. If they are asking me for technical help then I’m a teacher of cosmetic chemistry, if they are asking about their branding or communication then I’m educating them on how that may be perceived (based on my professional experience) both by the layperson and by professionals like myself and so on and so forth.  On the reciprocal side, I accept with an open mind that my customers are the teachers and I’m the student when it comes to their business. They know that better than I do and I am attentive and thorough in my learning about that in order to tailor my part, my teaching to their specific needs.

Anyway, I’m going on but that’s the gist of how I do things so it felt really crushing when it felt like nobody even cared.  To be honest I think it played into my underlying fear that I have about me always seeing things slightly differently to other people.  Again I get it that everyone sees things differently to everyone else but what I mean is my ADHD brain, being wired in a way that processes information in unpredictable ways, tends to lead me to put a different spin on things, find a different focal point  or notice things that others don’t and miss things too.  This can leave me feeling like I’m living on another planet to most people I’m with who all ‘get it’ when I don’t and vice versa.  I’ve mostly learned to live with that and even see it as a strength (as in what I offer with my business – a truly unique view of things) but when the chips are down it becomes my weak spot and I begin to second guess everything and shut down.  It’s hard to trust your instincts when, as a pack animal, the rest of the pack are running in the very direction your instincts are screaming at you to avoid.

That’s what happened in 2019, that’s what kept blowing out my sparkle.

Instead of just meeting my clients where they were at, I was trying to drag them into my world, instead of not taking it personally I was eating it down like poison, instead of choosing my battles I was taking each interaction I had as a chance to unsheathe my science sword.  Oh boy!

But that was then.

It’s 2020 now, a whole new decade which is exciting in a way isn’t it?

It’s time for me to grow up a bit more.

I’m 45 for goodness sake and my home is surrounded by fire (well, not that closely but yes, like much of Australialand the Blue Mountains has been burning and we currently have a clear and present danger sitting about 18km to the south east of us and 12km to the north west. The bottom one is slowly creeping into those dry river beds, the ones that lead straight up the backside of our property line. The Rural Fire Service have already cut their last-line of defence posts into our fence line.  Comforting and terrifying in equal measure.

If truth be told,  I don’t fully have a plan for how I’m going to get over my habit of trying to teach every person that asks me a question whether they like it or not (and harshly judging those who opt to not receive the gift that is my teaching hahahahaha) but at least now I know what my problem is and how it makes me feel. That’s positive!

I’ve also realised once again why I bother as in bothering with this blog, what I do, how I do it and how much I care about it.

I bother because I find myself in my writing and my work.   My writing and lab play time are ways of anticipating, finding, exploring, investigating, resolving and communicating problems.  That’s what my consulting business is about not about shoving thoughts down peoples throats.

I bother because I do this for me and how I respond to it is the only thing I have any control over.  Oh why did I forget that for so long…

Anyway, happy 2020 everyone. I think I’ve got a bit more sparkle in my magic wand now and I’m almost ready to take this new year by the steering wheel and drive it like I stole it 🙂 Just one more weekend of hedonism to go.

Onwards and upwards starting with all of those jobs I need to get finished from 2019! Ouch.

Amanda x

P.S I’ve already got quite a few science-type articles lined up for the coming days/ weeks etc so don’t worry, it’s not going to be wall-to-wall self pity, that is now all done and dusted for a while at least 🙂

 

 

 

6 Comments leave one →
  1. jessicaleelafleur permalink
    January 3, 2020 3:30 pm

    2019 was the same shit bag for me, existential crises and all.
    Here’s to nowhere but up in 2020!!

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      January 3, 2020 5:40 pm

      Glad to hear you’re feeling positive. Let’s do this!

  2. January 5, 2020 6:13 am

    Great post, Amanda. Love how real you are. Please keep on teaching–there are those of us out there who really do want to learn, and not just the surface stuff. Stay safe from those fires and have a great 2020.

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      January 5, 2020 6:16 am

      Will do Mary ❤

  3. January 7, 2020 1:23 am

    I haven’t commented on any of your posts – I discovered you in early 2019 and have really enjoyed reading your blog.
    I have a blog on soaps and have read many times how important it is to be consistent, so I come out with a Blog every Monday. (I follow others that do this too.) I think it forces me to plan several blogs ahead and even have them auto-post.
    I bring this up because I really miss your posts when there is a big gap and then I am over whelmed by several coming out at once…I want to spend time reading them, but know I don’t have time to read 3-4 that day, so I have to put them aside for a while and try to remember to get back to them.
    Anyway….just a thought. However you post them, I always try to find the time to read them.
    Best wishes on 2020 and hope the fires end soon…(I see them on the US news everyday.)
    Sly

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      January 7, 2020 7:26 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting.
      I’ve written this blog since 2007 and over that period I’ve averaged something like 2-6 posts a month due to my natural patterns of inspiration, ideas and time. That started to fade in 2018 and came to a big halt in 2019 due to burn out and the feeling of ‘why bother’ as per my blog post. I didn’t set out to be a scheduled blogger, I don’t believe that performing creatively to schedule is something that works well for people like me. In fact, it’s not just a belief, I can feel it in my gut when I type this. Put a ‘be creative because that’s what wins the game’ schedule up on my desk and I’d freeze. It’s the polar opposite of how I work.

      If I scheduled a blog post it would then be a job instead of a piece of creative inspiration. I just can’t work that way. I really hate how there is so much dominance of formula in our life right now. Since when did life become about finding the winning formula I wonder (ironic since my job is to formulate)? Life is to be felt, played with, ebbed and flowed and examined. Sure, humans do work well on a routine but not on a routine without substance behind it or a routine that is detached from them and their reality. That can only sustain their momentum not re-orientate them (I’m not about going around in the same circle for life, I want to grow).

      I can usually tell in an instant when people have been schooled on Instagram and while sure, they get the followers, their content then looks sterile and lacking in that personal touch. I totally understand my dysfunctionality and how annoying that can be but I’m not changing as that is what makes me the person and writer I am. Sorry about that. What will happen though is as my mojo or whatever I call it comes back I’ll have more flow and will be more consistent. In the meantime maybe you can just dip into the blog once a week or twice a month and check or flick back if you wish. Also don’t forget that I’m not just writing on here, I write for magazines, brands, businesses and workshops so while it looks like I have done nothing for months this is only one part of my life as a professional cosmetic chemist but it is the bit I like best when it’s flowing.

      Thanks though for your concern and sorry if this seems rude at all but how I took your comment (although not personally against you, as I assume you were trying to be helpful and your theory works well for you as it would for most people (especially ‘normal’ people)) just brought up so much anger in me about how shit the world is getting.

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