Sleepless nights and Hello Kitty

As I sit here it’s 3.56am. I’ve not slept. No, I’m not drunk. I haven’t had alcohol for years…I might even be ‘t-total’ now (is that still a thing?). No, I’m not writing all night, consumed by a flood of ideas. No, I’m not being kept awake by an unwell child or partner.

I’m awake because I’m in pain. Again.

This is standard protocol for me. I have arthritis in my pelvis and spine, and as the winter months take hold, the pain and stiffness I experience is unbelievable. It’s like a constant burning, an internal hot water bottle that’s only just left the kettle. It’s white hot. Smoking. And I can’t get to it. Like an itch you can’t quite reach. Instead i just lay awake, sometimes in tears, trying desperately to manage it by finding the most comfortable position and read a book to try and ignore it. Block it out. Inevitably it doesn’t work, and I spend every waking minute just wishing it would stop.

So yeah, I’m in pain.

When this happens, I think there’s a certain time where I give up on any slumber. Maybe 2.30am. When I reach that milestone I decide to do something rather than continue the farce of constantly trying and failing to sleep. The pain is bad enough, adding anger and frustration is just unhealthy and it’ll likely make my brain feel crap too. So I stop the cycle, acknowledge the time, and consult my notebook for ideas I’ve been wanting to work on.

Today I wanted a bright project, so I took the Kawaii queen that is Hello Kitty, and made her so sickly sweet that I need fillings. It’s so pink, so bright, so candy-cane / strawberry lollipop / sugared doughnut tart, that I’ve circled round from love to hate and right back to love again.

Incredibly, this is the first time I’ve drawn a specific and famous Kawaii character. Obviously I used a reference image to study her usual outline and famous pink bow, but the detailing around her, everything that isn’t part of her basic form, including all the colours, is all me.

I honestly don’t know what my goals were for this. If im honest, once I’d drawn the infamous cat, my brain engaged autopilot and the resulting rainbows, clouds, raindrops and colours came from nowhere. A blank space in my head took over and this is what was stored in that section of my grey matter.

It’s now 4.12 and I’m still trying to write something coherent about this drawing. I think it speaks for itself.

I’m a huge fan of Rilakkumas best friend, Chairoikoguma, and he might, therefore, form the basis for my next pain induced overnight project.

I suppose a good conclusion here is simply to say that creativity can exist, even in the most unlikely situation, even when you’re preoccupied with other things. Anxiety, career problems, pain, the needs of a child or just trying to cook dinner. There’s always some little spark that burns to an ember and then has the power to turn in to an idea, which then forms a draft, finally being polished until it becomes an end product. A picture, a poem, a story, a question, a craft or maybe just a great batch of brownies with caramel and Oreos (a recipe you came up with randomly). And yes, I’m bloody hungry.

So there it is, from a blog post showcasing my beautiful and time-consuming drawing of the stunning Bird of Paradise flower, slamming straight back down to earth with pink frosting and sprinkle of cuteness.

4.19am.

I want a brownie.

Published by stephc2021

Hi! I'm Steph, an amateur writer and illustrator specialising in Mental Health and being a self-confessed Spoonie. My website is home to any successful fiction I create, with stories that have won so far covering difficult subjects such as baby loss and mental health in grief as well as some funny and heart-warming tales when I get the inspiration. Every drawing and picture on my website was created by me. I spend a lot of time coming up with illustrations to accompany all of my posts and pages. I try to create original content across all of my channels, whether I'm writing about my own fiction or just generally musing on mental health or my own issues. I want to be part of the change because I believe the understanding of MH in the UK is getting better, but has a very long way to go. By being honest about my own struggles and symptoms I think others will relate and hopefully it will encourage them to talk to someone and get the help and support they need. Long term my goal is to help children too, help them understand their own mental health and how to help with the mental health of those around them. I live in the UK with my partner, daughter and dog, I swear frequently and I adore a well made, traditional, gooey, chocolatey, delicious brownie.

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