One day late last September I walked through the doors of JOLT. I had no idea what I was walking into or what to expect, but it didn't take long before the dam burst and floods of tears followed.
I didn't event know what I was looking for anymore, but I'd gotten so low and desperate, I knew this was my last chance.
I'd been hiding from the world for five years- I wasn't prepared for the warmth and kindness I received. The word 'art' and all the scary connotations it brought with it hadn't even entered my head yet, but I knew i'd have to let go and just try.
After isolating myself for so long this wasn't going to be easy. I was going in to this with no self esteem or social skills. Avoiding any creativity since childhood did nothing for my confidence either.
But from my first session onward there was a focus on breaking the link between the conscious thought and action, it stripped back the doubt, worry and fear of failure. It makes taking the first steps so much easier, the self imposed pressure of initially putting pen to paper came more naturally.
There has been a huge shift in me on a personal level since finding this amazing place. I'm a lot of things I haven't been for a long time. But without resorting to a very long list I'll just say that I am happy and have a sense of purpose that has been missing. I'm also quick to talk about the problems I have to absolutely anyone who will listen.
And this is what I took with me to Birmingham last week- to this conference, #LosingControl, where I was part of the Designs in Mind team sharing with the world an experience of the studio. Armed with a few simple art exercises, a new honesty and freedom to be vulnerable- to say I'm scared or that I'm lonely or unsure of what is coming next- and that was o.k, because so many of us are in that same boat.
What I brought back with me after my two days of #LosingControl is an even longer list of new personal achievements and I got to see what I had found reflected back at me from the people I met- virtual strangers who gifted me these brief moments to connect with them. And best of all, an overwhelming sense of excitement about whatever big, scary adventure happens next.
Losing Control is a movement for 21st century social change. The conference focused on power, relationships and collaboration. It is a network, hosts events and gathers resources and you can find out more about it here- https://www.losingcontrol.org/
JOLT is the Designs in Mind Shop, on the high street in Oswestry making a difference to how people can get the right help at the right time. You can find out more about JOLT here- https://www.thisisjolt.co.uk/