My Journey in the Dark

Realising that it really is okay, not to be okay… I’ve always been a happy person. Of course not all of the time, that’s not human, but most of the time I am optimistic about life and the road ahead. But, in December 2021, my body and mind took me places that I don’t really want to go again. I still don’t really know why, possibilities are hormones, stress, burn out, thyroid or “just one of those things”, I’m still investigating the reasons. I’m feeling a lot better four months on, but the scars (not literally) are still there. Please be warned, this blog post discusses suicidal thoughts and possible triggers. I want to share because I am a classic case of “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone!” Here is my journey… I am a primary school teacher and like many people, I found 2021 a challenge. We had a death in the family that impacted us all, we had a major fire in my work place (luckily no one was hurt) and covid in general caused stress and disruption. Despite all of this, I ended the year feeling okay. I look back and there were signs that my body wasn’t 100% e.g: losing appetite, increased anxiety spells for no reason, feeling dizzy and “out of body”, not wanting to go places in my weekends, upset stomach (loose stools) etc… I just put all of this down to being busy and needing a holiday. I was eating healthily (mostly) and exercising regularly. Walking the dog and in general, I was taking care of myself. I love my job and my life, so I didn’t think I was stressed. When the end of 2021 came and summer break was here, I was tired but happy. I started the Christmas break shopping for presents and enjoying the sun and my family. I was still having symptoms, but I was getting on with it. Then Christmas Eve came, I woke feeling weird. A mix of anxiety, fatigue, stomach pain and no appetite. I made myself get through the day with my husband and kids because it’s one of my favourite times of the year! I wasn’t going to miss it. Christmas morning I couldn’t eat and I was constipated and I had stomach pain still. My husband ended up taking me to A and E. They gave me…

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Self Publishing, my journey so far.

It has always been a dream of mine, to oneday write and illustrate a children’s book. Throughout the years, I gave it a go. It’s true what they say, it’s harder than it looks! I sat down many times and tried to write something and it never came out how I wanted it to. Then getting the illustrations to work with the story, was even harder. Illustrations need to be a story within themselves, I’m still trying to master that skill. So, after many years (pretty much my whole adult life so far) of picking up a pen and putting it down again, trying to get a story out, I finally wrote “What are you Grateful for Little Bug?” I did the illustrations first, creating Grateful Bug’s image, then the themed illustrations. The story brewed in my head as I did them. After weeks of drawing and writing, it was complete. Family members asked how I did it so quickly. The answer is that it takes me forever to come up with the ideas (years somtimes) but once I get them, they tend to flow. I submitted my illustrations and story to several publishers and after many weeks, I got lots of no thank yous back. I was a bit disappointed, but deep down, I knew it would happen someday. So the story went on the back burner. Shoved up on the top shelf of my wardrobe. The dream stayed in my heart though, just waiting. Life carried on for a few years. I got inspired again. I sent it off to a couple of other publishers. One sent me a really nice response, they loved the concept and really thought it should be published, but it was still a no. This really encouraged me. They wouldn’t say those words if they didn’t mean them surely? One of the things that I had done in the mean time, that I didn’t realise how valuable it would be at the time, was start a facebook page about my art, (Sez’ Art). I had just a few followers, but it has built up over the years. This meant that I had followers encouraging me along the way. So, I was still putting the story on the back burner and then picking it up again, while I was still teaching full time. I started to investigate self publishing. The trouble was, I wasn’t…

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“Adults, Leave those kids alone!”

I see myself as an artist. I always have. Why? Becasue I’ve always drawn and no one has ever interferred and told me how to do it. I’ve just done it my way. Drawn what I felt like drawing, drawn it how I thought it should go. This has allowed me to develop my own style, at my own pace and it’s still developing to this day.   Sadly, too many adults that I know, and even sadder, lots of children, think that they cannot draw or create. Yes, some people are born more creative than others. But everyone can create. What stops children and adults from creating? Teachers and parents.   As a teacher and a parent, I cringe when I think about how I used to teach art in the classroom. At a lot of schools, too much value is placed on the teacher who has one of those classrooms, where you walk in and all the art is generic and bright. Perfectly hung. The art all looks the same. The class looks immaculate. To be clear, I know lots of amazing teachers who’s classes are like this. They’re doing a great job. But as far as creativity goes. Should “Jimmy’s” art look like “Andrew’s”? No it shouldn’t.   In my first year of teaching, I had a class of six year olds. I saw in a book, this amazing 3D sunflower art. I wanted to give it a shot. I worked witht the kids in groups. So that I could control every aspect of what they were doing. Step by step. “Paint the backround blue first.”   “Now paint the petals.” “No not that way!”… (cringe). The art took forever and I was stressed, the kids were too scared to do a thing without me looking. Some had mini meltdowns.The sunflowers looked amazing. I had 26 amazing, nearly identical sunflowers to hang up in my class. (Again, cringe).   When I started having children of my own. I started to realise that I needed to back off when it came to my kid’s art. I started doing relief teaching. When I’d arrive that morning to the class I was filling in for. The teacher would often say to me, “Oh you’re an artist! Can you do art with the kids today?” I would feel sad inside. I knew the teacher had expectations of me doing something “amazing” with…

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Welcome to my first blog post!

I’m really looking forward to sharing the inner workings of my art adventure! It has been a ride for sure. With some ups and downs along the way. I thought I’d start by sharing with you how Sez’ Art got started. All those years ago… As you’ve read about me before, I’ve been drawing all my life. It wasn’t until I had babies and toddlers at home that I wanted to make an income out of it. My drawing and painting was still developing (it always is) and I wasn’t sure what to do. Canvases were pretty expensive to buy, so I got MDF boards and a builder friend cut them up for me. I painted fairies, unicorns, dragons, and diggers. Anything that I felt would appeal for children’s rooms. I had them hanging in my own children’s rooms and friends would comment and get me to do one for their children.I used to sign my name as Sez on the paintings. Facebook wasn’t around then, so promoting what I did was pretty basic. I didn’t really have the time for mass production anyway! I went to our local market. I would sell the odd one. Most times I made enough to cover my stall and a little bit of profit. I had a great repeat customer who lived in Tauranga at the time (she might know who she is!). She used to ring me when she needed a birthday gift for a child. This went on for a few years but fizzled out once the kids got older and I was teaching more often. (I’m Primary School trained). I love teaching, but the artistic creative in me needs to be nurtured in order for me to feel balanced. Sez’ Art really became a thing many years after this. I was hardly doing any art. But my mind was always drifting to it. The desire to write and illustrate a book was always there too (that will be another blog post!). One year I took a part-time teaching job at a school. It was a job that should have been perfect for me. But, without going into sensitive detail, I was miserable, stressed and getting disillusioned. This was unusual for me, as I’d always felt happy and successful with my teaching. By the end of the year, I was so stressed that I really felt that I needed to change career.…

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