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Steps To Better Mental Health

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My Life As A Washing Machine

This month - March, our blogs are exploring the subjects of Perfectionism and Creativity. To kick us off we're returning to the subject of procrastination...but in an active way.

The washing machine has been a bit of a state for months now. But is the day I can’t possibly leave it another second. Yes I have a few hours booked out to get on with this writing malarkey I’ve been promising myself I’ll do for the past 2 months, but hey... it won’t take long... just a wipe down.

Cut too 30 minutes later, me on my knees, my yellow hoody is speckled with black mould from trying to scrub out the washing powder drawer with a bottle brush. Jamming my fingers into the door seal to scoop out the grey mush. 

The whole time scolding myself for starting a task I really knew would use up the precious time I have set aside to write. Putting the pen to paper, brush to canvas, fingers to keys, whatever creative activity we choose to pursue. Doing the work. It’s a leap of faith, and it can be paralysing.

Like jumping into a cold swimming pool. I can sit by the side of the pool for literally hours! Because it’s scary, uncomfortable, it’s risky, it might not be worth it, it might hurt. It’s safer to sit by the pool. Or clean the washing machine. 

After I’d finished cleaning the washing machine, I felt a bit sorry for it. All this pampering and attention. Raising it’s expectations, maybe something new is coming? The service she’s been talking about for months? Maybe a superheat white wash? Or maybe even, dare I think it…Silks. All that potential, all of my unknown capacities - what could I achieve? 

Accessing my creativity is a scary experience for me. Because I begin to focus on my ideas, to give them shape. Then the urge to release them into the world. I am aware of my own potential, but the closer I come to making it a reality, the more I can see the details, the effort it will take, how likely it is to fail. All the little voices in my head that tell me to get a grip, settle down play it safe. Get your everyday stuff out of the way first, then you can try something new. But the silks languish at the bottom of the washing basket, like my creative potential. 

I am the washing machine, I am also me washing the washing machine to avoid fulfilling my potential. Subconsciously sabotaging myself by cleaning the washing machine and doing the million other things that need to be done before I am ‘allowed’ to create. Because really I’m scared to start.

When I’m being honest with myself, I can see that it’s much less painful to dream about all the lovely things I am going to create, than it is to actually make them and realise they are not perfect.

They are perfect in my mind, so I’ll just leave them there - Living in the fantasy. I’m scared to start. Scared to fail and start again and learn. Scared it won’t be perfect.

So I write about the washing machine, I start.

Contact New Dawn Counselling centre today via our website for an assessment. Or via email - or give us a call on 0115 9170500.

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