Going Back to Lyon

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Last week was a real trip down memory lane for me. It marked 11 years since I moved back to the UK after living in Lyon, France for a year.

Various things went through my mind before and during the trip. I wondered if anything would seem familiar, if I would feel emotional and how confident I would be with speaking French after only speaking snippets with friends over the last few years.

As soon as we arrived, I found out the answers to all of the above questions. It turns out a lot has changed since I left and the place was barely recognisable up until I got into the city centre. I have to admit that my eyes filled with tears when I stepped onto Place de la Bellecour, the heart of the city centre, for the first time. It hadn’t changed one bit and I started to notice lots of the places that were once home for me and felt a wonderful sense of familiarity finally. The French came back to me immediately and my confidence levels were much higher than when I lived there. This is due to working as a linguist in the UK when I moved back and chats with my French friends.

This was the first big trip I had taken with my partner and it was maybe a strange choice due to quite how overwhelming my emotions were at being back. Memories of a huge and important chunk of my life came flooding back and there was almost too much for me to tell him about. My mind raced and I became a bit of an emotional wreck for the whole week in parts.

The last time I was in Lyon I was 21 year old student. That 21 year old me had no idea what the next 11 years would hold. She definitely didn’t think they would contain so much sadness and pain that at points she no longer felt the will to battle on. She was full of hopes and dreams that were continuously dashed up until this past year when things finally took a turn for the better. One of those better things is my partner, who, despite not knowing me throughout those years, knows of my struggle and how important it was for me to go back to the last place that I felt truly happy.

The trip was wonderful and it soon became clear why I went back…..because I needed to bridge the gap between then and now and make new memories that would carry me forward in this brand new chapter of my life that seems, so far at least, to be a happy one. There is still a lot of work to be done and this will continue throughout my life, but building up a happy memory bank for the tough times is such a wonderful natural way to keep on top of things. I couldn’t have chosen a better person to go back with as this new chapter will heavily feature the gorgeous, strong and brilliant protagonist that is my partner. Thank you, Kelly.

Then – 2004-2005                                                                                                                     Now 2015

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Why Charles Bukowski is a Genius

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I first experienced Charles Bukowski when I read ‘Ham on Rye’. This semi-autobiographical novel turned my stomach, filled me with anger and enabled me to feel empathy all at the same time. Experiencing so many emotions from one, fairly short book, surprised me. I felt shocked by some of the things that I read, yet I was also fascinated by the fact that someone had laid themselves so bare for all the world to see. For so many years now, writing has come naturally to me. It is as natural to me as thinking and breathing…..in fact, it is an extension of the elements that make me whole, yet I’ve always shied away from laying myself and my emotions bare for fear of being judged. Don’t get me wrong….from time to time I have written raw and gritty pieces that I have gone on to delete, not knowing what impact they may have had on their reader OR if they were even read at all (such is the anonymity of the world wide web). Bukowski was a very troubled man, an alcoholic, womaniser and someone who struggled with his temper. These are generally the characteristics I loathe in another human being, but the force of his words AND the wisdom that comes with them made Bukowski like a drug to me and I was opened up to a whole new world of thinking….one in which expressing madness and raw emotions was not seen as a weakness, but was seen as something empowering. There is a reason why Time magazine of 1986 described him as “the laureate of American lowlife”.

Whenever I read Bukowski (on a daily basis, in snippets), my emotions are stimulated. He seems to perfectly entangle every positive and negative aspect of life – from relationships through to sex and everything in between. His self doubt seems to know no bounds and in this I seek great comfort.

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I think that throughout my entire life I have been crippled by self doubt. I’ve always felt that there was someone better out there than me and, fairly often, I have been treated that way and this has fueled the negativity even more. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that there may be people out there who are better looking, richer, more popular, but that is really irrelevant to my life in the long run. What I have to offer to the world and those around me is unique and that’s what makes me me. How other people feel about me is fairly unimportant as long as I believe in myself and offer the best version of myself to the world. I’ve found this approach now attracts the right people to me after years of attracting the wrong people who have abused me because they didn’t understand or like themselves very much. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I feel like a vile, insecure mess, but that is usually just for one day and then I pull myself together, do some stern talking and get back to the real me that thinks she is good enough. A certain amount of self deprecation keeps us grounded, but it is important to get the balance right. Noone loves a whiner. Good, old Charles taught me that!

He also taught me that belief in yourself is the only thing you can truly own. Being lonely is a curse and one that a lot of people have very little control over. However, it is worth noting that too many people have never experienced true lonliness. I have and it was a time that I have decided to use to my great advantage because I know that I was the one who saved myself from it, noone else. You are in control of so many more elements of your life than you give yourself credit for. As soon as you stop expecting other people to make you whole, prevent lonliness or build you up, you will discover just how powerful you are as an individual.

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So many people think that Bukowski is a very depressing read and, to some extent, they would be right in thinking this. However, it is all about perspective. I see the negativity, I relate to it and I take the message from it, without dwelling on it for too long. For me, Charles Bukowski is inspirational and leads me to a deeper sense of understanding of the soul…..my soul. He talks a lot about sex and control, but he also explains that without a deeper understanding of yourself you can never fully appreciate the wonder that is a physical relationship with someone. Anyone can have sex, but if you are not in tune with your body AND your mind, you will be left wanting. Finding yourself (cheesy as this sounds) leads to much deeper and more meaningful relationships with your own soul as well as the souls of those closest to you.

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I could probably talk about Bukowski all day and I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last post I write about him, but this is just a little bit from my mind today. It only scratches the surface, but I’m just testing the waters to see if anyone feels the same about this man and if more posts would be warranted.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

 

Killing karma

It’s been a while since I posted. What happened? Life, I guess….or my lack of living it to the full. I let worries and my unhappiness stand in the way of my passions and I’m sorry for that. Sorry to me, but not FOR me.
As I’ve said before….we are the kings and queens of our own happiness so I’m putting my crown back on and taking life by the balls!

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Charles Bukowski said that. He also said “find what you love and let it kill you”, but we’ll focus on this quote for now.
I’m now in my 30th year of being and what have I learnt? Well….understanding myself has been the hardest, but most rewarding lesson of all. To not understand yourself, your mind and your passions is a crime indeed. I don’t hate myself, loathe the skin I’m in OR ever want to give up. I’ve done all that and now I’m working on focussing on the positives.
Realising that good things CAN happen to good people is a skill I’m yet to learn, but after the past few years I’ve had (I say “had” rather than “lived” as I don’t think I truly did live for a while….not properly anyway) I’ve started to turn things around.
It’s all about believing in yourself. If you don’t then how can you expect others to believe in you? Try not to fake it as it will only end in disappointment all round. Truly believe, even if only in spurts. People are attracted to openness. Don’t get me wrong….there will always be someone trying to put the boot in no matter how hard you try to please or avoid them, but they’re not your people. Surround yourself with good people, positive vibes and keep trying. Never, ever, ever give up (think I’ve mentioned that Churchill bloke before using this quote, but he was good).
Life is what you make it, nothing more, nothing less. Take it from one who knows. Keep going on your own path and good things will start to happen that may even last a lifetime.
Must dash….got some life to live!!
Love and light, people. Mimi Cat xox

Serena Kuhl – Resin Queen

When I first stumbled across Serena Kuhl on the Sara is in love with…. blogspot I was amazed I had never seen her stuff before. I’ve already written posts on how much I adore resin and make jewellery out of it myself, but this woman is unreal!

Serena makes rings, bangles, cuffs, studs, soap dishes and more out of resin and each piece is unique and fabulous. They are real statement pieces and I am just in love!

Her urchin jewellery looks like it has come straight out of the ocean and her crystals look like they have been tweaked from a unicorn’s cave. All of it is mystical, brightly coloured and very bold. There are not many companies that make HUGE rings and cuffs so she is a rare treat and I for one will be adding to my Serena Kuhl collection very, very soon.

I was lucky enough to be sent one of her crystal rings. It is purple, turquoise and has loads of glitter in layers. The process is not an easy one and takes Serena days of dedication to perfect. The finished product, however, proves just how much effort goes into this jewellery and just how passionate this lady is about her art.

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I absolutely can’t wait to wear this ring out and am sure it will get lots of compliments. It will go with so many of my clothes. I am also sure I will be writing more about this fabulous designer in future posts.

To get your hands on some of Serena’s stunning jewellery then go to her Etsy shop or look at her portfolio on Facebook

Thank you, Serena!