Kassi Martin's Blog
Be Your Real, Imperfect, Flawed, Quirky, Weird, Beautiful, Magical Self
How are you doing? I wonder what kind of week you are having?
It's been just the most beautiful Autumn kind of weather here for me of late. Gentle breezes, soft sunshine, cool and bright yet a mellowness (if there is such a word) all around.
I had a group here in my art studio for an Intuitive Collage day this week which I really enjoyed. Watching their Selves emerge in the collage was very precious. Every single Intuitive Collage is different and for the person who makes one, it's like looking through an open doorway in to their most authentic self. I love it. I love to see how content they feel as they create their collage.
There was laughter and tears, we identified with each other, we shared stories of our lives... and we tore, glued and reflected... Listening fully to each other and connecting deeply with empathy and acceptance. This allows us to be real and true to our selves. These are the reasons why I love offering group work in my art studio.
The Intuitive Collages were amazing, unique, beautiful, colourful. So interesting to look in to and understand their unique meaning for each of us.
My Inner Critic has been around in terms of my 'business' for a good few years now and I've been doing a lot of reading about 'business' and 'branding' and stuff that really had my head in a tizz for quite some time. I thought I 'should' be reading about it and learning. My mind and body were almost being dragged by the scruff of the neck to the books and courses. My behaviour was yelling loud and clear this is not what I want to be doing! My Inner Critic had other ideas of course.
I don't think of myself as a 'business woman'. I do think of myself as a 'Heart Centred Creative Entrepreneur'. Heart Centred is key for me Authentic is key. Creative is what I believe I am. I do need to make a living of course but 'money' tends to be a long way down my list of priorities.
I love to connect with others and to make art. Now I am grinning to myself as I remember the conversation for me about wanting to go to Art College and being told ''you can't be an artist Kas. You will never have any money (hear that Attribute). You need skills that will bring in a salary... you Must go to Secretarial College and become a Shorthand Typist.'
Hmmmm..... really? Becoming a Shorthand Typist had never been in my mind. It hadn't been remotely on a long list of possible things to become as an adult... ever! On reflection my 'list' had always been really brief; to be an Artist that loves horses'. Just imagining the Careers Advisor I saw way back then throwing her eyes skyward at my job prospects.
I remember an amazing moment in 3rd year of school when a Teacher came to see me out of the blue and asked me 'if you could choose any subjects to study for your O'levels Kas, what would they be?' This was easy! 'Art, Music and English.' He made this happen for me, immediately and I couldn't believe his kindness. I hadn't asked for this, he just somehow appeared out of nowhere and asked me what I wanted. so I told him
However, he was nowhere around at the end of 4th year and so I went to Secretarial College as my Mum had told me to and I did my best. I was the second fastest at Shorthand and one of the fastest typists in my year. I have no idea how that happened. I didn't 'try hard' or 'really stick in' I just did what was put before me and somehow I appeared to be really good at it. I just didn't want to be a Shorthand Typist.
Monday to Friday for a whole academic year I went to that College and plodded through the course without causing a fuss at all.
How on earth did I manage to do that? I didn't fight with my parents, I didn't have a great big, fat, teenage tantrum or huff, I didn't slam doors and refuse to go. I just got on with what was asked of me. They didn't tell me forcefully. It was all very calm and quiet.
Sure I got a Really Good Job at British Airways, working in London and was full of exciting plans to move to San Francisco (which I didn't tell my parents about!).
I guess this was something my parents could be proud of as opposed to 'Kas? Oh yes she is a starving artist ...somewhere, with huge hair roots and a purple fluffy jumper...'
I recall a very unpleasant conversation with one of my fellow students near the end of that secretarial course. Karen didn't usually speak to me and as I recall she missed much of her year by 'skiving' but made a point of coming over this particular day to deliver a loaded and cryptic message to me. She said, 'we're going to be doing Make Up, Clothing and How Much We Weigh soon Kas. This should help you quite a lot.'
I recall sort of standing there stunned for a while. I heard her words clearly and they certainly didn't appear to be outrageous or shocking, yet I felt like I'd been slapped in the face really hard. I felt attacked yet no bodily contact had occurred. Her words were loaded with venom and a clear message of "you are not good enough as you are Kas". This hurt me deeply.
I was the only one in the class who went to college in jeans and polo shirt with hair that was allowed to dry naturally so my 'kinks' just under my ears were wavy and unruly in a mix of golds and browns.
Moving to San Francisco was a similar impulse or 'Intuitive Knowing' to wanting to go to Art College. I felt I belonged in San Francisco. 'Funny young me that I was..' smiles my patronising Inner Critic. I had no 'rational' behind this, no 'plan' it was very much gut instinct to go to the USA.
Once again though I did not do what I most wanted because I met a man and he wanted me to do other things that fit in with his life plans to become a husband and father. Gosh. At over half a century old I sit here absolutely incredulous at how I adapted time and again for others with very little 'fight' for who I was and what I wanted.
I reflect back. Was I weak? Was I not committed to Art and my desire to live in San Francisco? How could I be so compliant?
I can sit here with empathy and appreciate the era when I was born, 'women' did as they were expected to do. We went to school, we met a man, we got married, kept a house, got pregnant... worked hard at being a good mother and wife... polished windows, ironed clothes, cooked the dinner... Underneath all this however the women in my family are artists, musicians, writers but mostly 'all that' had to come second to being what was expected of them.
Ah...! Really beginning to understand this now....!
I hear the skidding of brakes in a cartoon sketch in my imagination. Woah.... this is not who I am. This is not what I ever wanted to be, yet I just got on with what was expected of me?
Today I am sure - certain - I would fight for what I most want, I would kick up a fuss, have a tantrum. I would not simply forsake myself and give in to the 'wants' or 'needs' of another.
Reflecting back on my early days of being a Heart Centred Entrepreneur, I belonged to an online business circle which created dis-comfort within me but I didn't know why nor did I trust my bodily response to it.
We would all share our websites, share our latest blog posts or new offerings but I sensed a competitive undertone that left me cold. Typical of me, I took the whole thing at face value. We were there for each other, a sister-hood to love and support each other... only it wasn't actually like that.
I read their blogs and gave feedback. I visited their websites and offered anything I thought could be useful. I shared their offerings on social media. They thanked me but I appeared to be the only one who really embraced the spirit of this circle. Very, very few if ever, did anyone visit or feedback on my website, blogs, hopes and dreams.
I was left feeling rather wobbly, unsettled, anxious, confused and an overwhelming feeling of 'You need to Strive and do better, 'try harder'. My Inner Critic was well aware of all my short comings and let me know in no uncertain terms.
I felt 'not good enough' and knew I did not fit in. These women looked amazing. Immaculate, make up, hair, wardrobe, had polished videos of them sitting on the corner of a streamlined desk in a modern 'office' with 'worldly' city backdrops as they spoke with ease and absolute confidence about where they were heading with their business. How come they were so good at marketing?!
Oh yes! I recognise these women - in this situation I was plummeted back to Secretarial College with a group of beautiful, immaculately dressed and made up young women all aspiring to be the Perfect Secretary or Personal Assistant in calf length pencil skirts and court shoes. History repeating itself yet again for me! Do you notice how we have these enactments pop up over and over throughout life?
I sit here grateful that I am a very fast typist and appreciate that this helps me when I have admin jobs to do... but the only thing I remember in that whole year of being at Secretarial Collage was... 'if your tummy starts to rumble with hunger you must not allow it to rumble in front of your 'boss'. You must pull in your tummy muscles as hard as you possibly can to stop that awful noise.' So we have to suppress our body's natural responses so we don't upset our Boss?
A rumbling tum to me today indicates possible hunger or personal growth! :-))
Back to that 6 figure, immaculate business women circle I had paid so handsomely for.... I stared at my hair roots in the mirror with wide open eyes of horror and considered chucking my most favourite fluffy purple painting jumper in the bin.
I admit I googled 'videographers' knowing I could not afford to pay for a professional video for my website. The discomfort I experienced in my body was bawling at me loud and clear. 'I do not fit in. I do not belong here in this business circle'. I love my fluffy purple painting jumper, it's comfy... I want to be me.
Those women who are immaculate and sit on the edge of large, polished desks talking with great confidence, marketing their business like Sir Alan fits well for them. They are comfy being themselves. I am happy for them.
They would be equally uncomfortable and horrified if I asked them to wear my old fluffy purple painting jumper and have splatters of teal and gold paint on their boots and gel medium stuck under their nails. They would grimace in horror I'm sure, at an inch of hair roots and a noisy rumbling tum.
I encourage people to yawn loudly when they are working with me if this is how they feel. This relaxes their Nervous System. I want people to be their real, true selves when they are with me, let their eyes be puffy, red and shiny with emotion, to grin widely if they feel happy and swear like a trooper if angry.
I have known for a very long time my ease with being true to myself has supported those I work with to be real, to free themselves from those psychological shackles and horrible anxiety which has held them back and restricted them from living a happy and fulfilling life, however that looks for them.
I just want to be me, comfy, easy going, open, welcoming and accepting of others so they can find out who they are. I want to wear my fluffy purple painting jumper and do the very best I can to help those I work with.
I love what I do and how I do it. Even if one day I can afford to pay someone to make a a fabulous 'advert' video, I really don't think I will do it because that wouldn't be honest or real, and I want to be me.
Thank you <3