• We For Women

Stella Robertson's Story

Me? I’m a traveller, a seer, a super-feeler, a self-healer, a teacher, a creative, a good communicator, a believer, in mystery, of magic, in wilderness - I am wild, with life - I am in love, including myself. Sometimes. And also. I am an over identifier with struggle, a rescuer and a persecutor, mainly of myself, a fearful rebel, both certain and completely lacking in self belief. But even when I feel I lack, I still know I’m extremely self-aware. Well I would, wouldn’t I? It’s my superpower. At present I am trying to use it to catch myself red-handed in acts of victim-hood and recently my pencil has become my torchlight.

Visualising how I feel in this state and being in conversation with ‘it’ has helped me begin to understand what I mean by victim-hood. In this drawing I identified the feeling of being trapped and imobile that comes with this experience. It also helped me think of it as a thing that’s outside myself that I can meet and understand, rather than it just being a part of me. It doesn’t look it but is way more empowering than seeing it as just who I am.

This one helped me see how changing direction in this state feels impossible. Oh I’ve shrugged it off many times and flung myself as far as I could off course to try and out maneuver it but however large my arc, I find myself back here ploughing the same, well worn, furrow. It’s like this block slots me into a groove, a straight track with no possible diversions. In less clouded times I imagine that, from above the seemingly straight line that I cut actually dances in loops and turns, creating a magnificent repeating pattern that only makes sense from the sky. Clarity then is all about perspective.

I love pattern. I used to be a surface pattern designer. Graduated from DJCA in Dundee. Ended up teaching in a design school in New Zealand before I realised that Creative Institutions were an oxymoron. Determined to find the language to back my gut I studied creativity in Malta. Edward de Bono has a ‘thinking school’ there. But I wanted to go beyond thinking and go back to the university and teach ‘creative feeling’. Always pushing the boat out and then finding myself stranded without an oar. Nautical cliches aside, studying and teaching creativity was an amazing experience. Mostly. On reflection.

Reflection is a surface pattern process where a motif is repeated by being flipped as if on a hinge.

If you repeat a pattern enough and manage to catch yourself doing it and are also willing to give it a flip, I believe you have a greater chance of discovering something different. Blowing the mind block to smithereens. Then ‘boom’, you have surprised yourself by creating a completely new pattern.

Now just put that on repeat, as in do this hundreds of times.

Until creating a different pattern becomes your new norm. And now I have introduced my true love. Trying to communicate the depths and mystery of the creative process. Obvious on reflection, that the design strategy of iteration (one of the best tools to forge the new) is also what is required when trialing a new way of being in yourself.

It took many iterations, while wallowing in a recent bout of victim-hood, to see or discover this state as an all encompassing mind block (see the second drawing). When I started doodling everything felt difficult. My victim-hood was in full swing, making me very critical of the drawings themselves. Nothing felt like it captured my experience clearly enough.

But I kept going and slowly, in the process of searching and through the act of drawing, something freed up. By the time I drew the block around my head I’d experienced a state shift. I’d broken the pattern of feeling stuck and sorry for myself by actualising how I felt on a page. Then suddenly I realised the block looked like something I was wearing, like a hood. This block was my ‘victim’ ‘hood’. So I had an idea to draw myself wearing another kind of hood.

Suddenly I was laughing at myself. Play and humour are great facilitators of creativity.

And then came a second breakthrough, not with a new image, but with a new understanding. That this hood, muffling my ears and blinkering my sight, leaving me with a limited perspective to perceive the greater pattern of my life, could easily be discarded. Left behind.

Or hung up.

Who am I?

What’s my story?

I don’t know if I’ve told you but I’ve tried to show you. Show myself. Not just remove my hood, but tell you how I am working out how to keep doing this. Because this is who I am.

I said I am a seer, but it is hard to describe what I see. I see process. And feel it too. I can feel when creativity happens and I can feel when victim-hood descends. On and in myself and to others and even a group. And I see these states as opposite to each other. Creativity opens us up, helping us to see the bigger picture; victimhood narrows us, keeps us bound on a single track, limits our view and our understanding of others and of other ways of being.

This ability to sense creativity and it’s nemesis feels important. And gladly I know I am not the only one able to do this. But at present the world seems to be guided by people who believe reflection on process holds back progress because the deadline is the ultimate dictator. And I sense, that sensing and feeling, and feeling process are somehow more feminine ways of being. Both widely and wildly needed, in many areas of life.

So what I’d like to do is find ways to encourage women of any age and background to dig deep and cut through their own dirt, using all their ways of thinking, seeing, being and feeling to release the diamonds of their own insight. Identifying and celebrating their own superpowers and their own process for new pattern creation.

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