It seems that in Bellingen, the small town where I live, many people survive by doing a variety of jobs.

I am preparing to jump on that bandwagon (if I haven’t already) by offering a variety of services through a local Facebook group.

I’ve been on a mission to create my own business for some time.  It has been a journey of exploration and a rollercoaster adventure, with the end feeling ever elusive.  But I have been hanging in there, determined to make it work, somehow, buoyed by the fact that I have learned to live on as close to nothing as possible.

I recently started searching for work in earnest, to tide me over as I push towards my dream of independence.  But when I look at the jobs on offer, considering (almost) any and everything, I am reminded of why I need to take a different tack.  Typically I would need to retrain to do a carers position, in order to be stuck in a position that would suck the life out of me on a number of levels.  So this search has relit my fire and my determination to break out, on my own, to offer the skills and talents I have to whoever may need them.

 

Breaking out of my comfort zone

 

Putting myself ‘out there’ in the public eye pushes against my comfort zones in a huge way.  And yet it is something I have been making a point of for at least a year now.    This has been my year for ‘coming out of hiding’.  I’ve done it in baby steps.  First I started opening up a bit to people – sharing a bit more than I naturally would.  I also set up an Instagram account at the beginning of last year and started sharing photos.  And gradually I have been adding to this website and slowly .. so slowly .. starting to write blog posts.  And now I feel I am much more ‘out there’ than I ever have been.  It has been like a journey of awakening.

The last bastion I am yet to overcome is Facebook.  I’ve never felt comfortable with it and possibly never will.  And yet, it seems to be the logical next step as a way of sharing my message with local people.

 

Girl Friday

 

With this post I am dipping my toes in the water by announcing my scary bold plan (i.e. a public Facebook post) before I gather the courage (and the words) to actually do it.

I am proposing to offer my services as a ‘Girl Friday’ to help people and businesses in my community on a casual/short term basis.

I know I have skills that could be useful to people.  And I know many people and businesses must want help but don’t necessarily want a new permanent employee.  I’m thoughtful, careful, conscientious, warm, open-minded and easy to get along with.  And endlessly curious.  So it makes sense to make the offer, in the best way I can, so that I might be able to help others and allow them to help me.

With all that in mind, here are my current thoughts for wording of the Facebook post.

 

GIRL FRIDAY

Do you, or someone you know, need a helping hand on a one-off, casual or short-term basis?

No matter the job, feel free to contact me to see if I can help you.

I’m thoughtful, careful, conscientious, warm, open-minded and easy to get along with.

My skills include excellent writing skills (reports, letters etc), highly proficient computer skills (Mac), design skills, CAD drafting (Archicad), and just about anything DIY.

My qualities include being a great listener, attentive to detail, and always willing to learn.

To find out more about me go to my website at www.artistryinplay.com.au

If you think I might be able to help you, email me at info@artistryinplay.com.au (preferable) or call me on 0405 246 205 (leave a message and I will call you back) to discuss.

With love and gratitude,

Charmaine
www.artistryinplay.com.au

 

OR A LESS WORDY VERSION :

Can I help you or someone you know?

My services include:
An extra pair of hands
Report/letter writing
A listening ear (clarity through conversation)
CAD drafting
General labour

My Story

I will start by admitting that I’ve always sucked at storytelling – being more of a listener than an entertainer.

Plus I’ve tended to live my life in secret – hiding out, on my own – neither wanting nor needing the feedback or recognition of others.  I like to walk to the beat of my own drum.

So the challenge of ‘sharing myself’ online has been petrifying – literally paralysing.  It took about eight years of having a website before I could put anything at all personal on there.

 

Progressing in baby steps

So I’ve been taking baby steps toward creating my website and developing and clarifying my vision of sculptures for public space.

Ever so slowly, I’m moving towards a dream that is both challenging and inspiring – the creation of my first ‘permanent’ public art piece, Cloudscape.  I’m working toward creating the prototype, which is pushing me out of my shell in many different ways.  And much as I’d like to have the piece ‘done already’ .. I’m doing what I do and taking my time and learning lessons along the way.

And my current ‘lesson’ is in putting myself in front of the public eye .. this time to ask for work .. in order to release some of the financial and time pressures as I move towards and continue to clarify this goal, while staying present to the principles driving the project : inspiring connection, creating new ways to explore and offering fresh perspectives.

 

Fascinated by people and loving time alone

It’s hard to know where to start in telling ‘my story’.  In a way I feel like any story about my life must revolve around my tendency to isolate and hide out.  Hiding out has always been my comfort and my refuge.  When I settled into a long term relationship with a partner 32 years my senior (now passed away) I got to hide out big time.  I didn’t fit in with the norms of society and this gave me a good excuse to ‘do my own thing’.  You see, I’m an extreme loner.  About as loner as you can get. I need space and time alone and if I don’t get it life can feel not worth living.  But this has become my excuse for not living a bigger life.  And since I believe I have been gifted with a privileged life I think I have a responsibility to make the most of it.  So with many small and some big steps I have started to push against my comfort zones to play a bigger game.  It is a journey of awakening.

The journey to this moment has been a slow and often painful one.  I have a masochistic tendency to run from joy and towards depth.  What has always driven me is curiosity and learning.  So long as I’m learning I feel satisfied.  I can endure a lot of pain if I think I’m learning something.  I try to find lessons in just about everything.

It will perhaps come as no surprise that I’ve often felt like ‘an outsider’ because that’s what I’ve sought – to live a separate life.  The thought of seeking enlightenment in a cave in the Himalayas has long been a fantasy.

Yet despite valuing my solitude above most else I am also fascinated by people and I enjoy connecting, especially one on one.  And though I tend to enjoy living with my ‘head in the clouds’ – I’m also practical, down to earth, and not prone to impulsive, reckless behaviour.

To try and paint a clearer picture, I will share the story of an experience that has stuck in my head and felt significant.

 

A snapshot in time – Lost in Kakadu

I became completely lost in Kakadu National Park.  I was on a six day bush walk, about three days walk from the car.  The road to the carpark had just been cut off to wet season traffic.  Though I had a map, the landscape had no distinguishing features.  The landscape felt as foreign as if I was on the moon, with many many hills of rock as far as the eye could see.  The only feature was a small stream, which could only be seen when you were right upon it.

I will intercept the story here to say that I have tended to love the feeling of being lost – or at the very least I’ve grown exceedingly comfortable with it since that is how I have felt my whole life.  I love being lost because I love to explore.  But it was not my intention on that day to get so lost.

About two hours prior I had suggested my walking buddy go ahead of me so I could walk at leisure.  I hate to be rushed and I like to be alone.  We had agreed to meet up at an upcoming stream to stop for lunch. I had the map and half of our camping gear (which half I can’t remember. I think it was the sleeping gear).

After a couple of hours I came to the stream and didn’t find my friend. Thinking she must have gone downstream I continued until I found a great swimming hole, where I stopped for a dip before climbing a bit higher to look out for her.  Still finding no signs I dressed and put on my pack before climbing to a few high points to get a better view.  In almost no time I realised I was lost.  I’d lost the stream and my friend.  It was an other-worldly experience, climbing up and down hill after hill, now searching for the stream.  But it was a tiny stream and there might have been offshoots because I know I found it a couple of times but somehow it didn’t help me to find my way back.  I went up and down and around in circles, hardly stopping, for hours, always watching my compass.  As the sun started to move closer to the horizon my search became slightly more frantic.  I kept searching for any sign, and no doubt stumbled upon my own tracks more than once.

As late noon approached the skies opened.  Suddenly the landscape was awash with water and between and every crevice was now a stream just like the one I’d been searching for.  It was at once beautiful and terrifying.  Even if I found the stream now I likely wouldn’t recognise it.

I kept on searching, always with an eye on my compass. I even prayed to God.  The sun was starting to set.  I was going to be out, at night, separated from my friend, and the chance that I might never find my way back was a real possibility.  It was both scary and exhilarating.  In desperation I stopped at the top of a rocky hill, looked at my compass, did a random calculation of every direction I had travelled for that past 4 + hours of constant moving.  I decided that my movements, which had been in every direction, had been northwest on balance.  I set my compass for southeast and set boldly forward, refusing to waver from that direction.  Boulders, ledges nothing could divert me.  I don’t know how long I charged forward, with the sun going down, but as the last of the daylight started to fade from the sky I suddenly found myself at the very spot I had first detoured.  This was made clear by the discovery of a dressing I had removed from my foot when I swam and had accidentally left behind.  A joyful discovery.  I raced up beside the stream, calling out, and soon heard my friend calling out.  I had walked past her in the first place because she must have been momentarily out of view.  I don’t know who was more relieved.  I noticed at that moment that it was pitch black dark.  It felt like a miracle and an intensely spiritual experience.

 

The adventure didn’t stop there ..

A comedic addition to that evening shows how my mind can play tricks.  Settled and with a fire, tent set up and food sorted I heard movement in the tent.  Two prisoners, convicted of murder, had recently escaped and it was big news.  I was convinced one of them was in the tent.  Adrenalin was pumping.  It turned out to be nothing but a local frog.

You can draw your own conclusions and judgements from this story.  But some things this story can tell are:

– I love to be alone

– my mind can go in all different directions

– I like to find spiritual lessons in my experience of life

– I love adventures

– I love to explore

– I can be overly cautious and paranoid

– I don’t think much about food

– I love powerful expressions of nature

– I used to live in Darwin

– I love bushwalking (though my last long bush walk was over 9 years ago – when I was pregnant)

– I like to take my time with things and think about things

– I can tend to get lost with my head in the clouds

– I like being lost

– I like rediscovery

– I can be very tenacious

– I can be a risk taker when it comes to being on my own (not so much with anything to do with other people)

– even though I tend to think I don’t know the answer, deep down it’s in there

– I’m grateful to have my life

And telling this story feels like a sort of coming full circle just in the fact that I am ‘telling it’.

If you’ve made it this far, and you have thoughts, or, dare I say it, opinions to share .. please comment below, or contact me directly.  Either way I’d love to hear from you.