Healthy Me Monday – relaxed productivity is awesome!

by Mhairi Simpson on April 21, 2014

Posting a little later than is my preference today. Which is kind of silly as I’ve barely posted at all in the last… six months? Anyway, I meant to post earlier and didn’t. But I’m not beating myself up about it.

Today’s Healthy Me Monday is brought to you by someone who has had a productive day doing other things and has decided not to feel bad about not getting stuff done in a certain order. As long as it gets done, that’s the important thing, right?

So there was painting, which is still in an… amateurish stage, but is rather better than I expected it to be, so that was gratifying.

There was the obligatory loooooong walk along the seafront (combined with ice cream, but whatever). All that fresh air and sunlight has to be good for the soul.

There was the surprise that the DVD rental place was open, followed by the even better surprise that they’re having a sale!! Got three DVDs for £13. VERY PLEASED.

And then there was updating of the Etsy listing for a couple of stencils I put up a while ago. They’re for these two images:

Godspeak rune - NAL Godspeak rune – NAL



Godspeak rune RO Godspeak rune – RO


“Leona” is the fantabulous Leona J Bushman, my partner in crime for quite a while now. “Mhairi” is, of course, me. And the “Designs”? Well, we’ve decided to give our artistic sides another outlet so we’re doing arty, designy stuff. Said stuff can be found on Etsy and I will be uploading more as time goes on. These runes are part of a larger project (MUCH larger) which started out as a short story and then kind of exploded when I wasn’t looking. SNEAKY RUNES.

Anyway, I’ll also be putting up some of my drawings and hopefully, when my skill has reached an appropriate level, some paintings too.

As you can probably tell, I’m creating again, in even more ways than before the depression hit, and loving every minute. Feeling very healthy today!!


The stories we tell ourselves

by Mhairi Simpson on April 19, 2014

Note: Having written this post and edited it, I’m anticipating some unkind comments. These will be deleted without hesitation. You have been warned.

It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been working through some stuff. Not depression stuff. Me stuff. Basically I’ve been trying to rewrite my story.

We are all a work in progess, you see, a product of the stories we have told ourselves over the course of our lives. Stories about who we are and what we do, and why we do it. Even when we are brought down by others’ cruel words, those words can only affect us if we tell ourselves a story about how they’re right.

I have written a rather bizarre, self-contradictory story wherein the main character (me) knows they are highly intelligent but also knows people don’t like people who are cleverer than they are, so has actively cultivated a slightly “dumb blonde” aura, mostly held together by judicious use of the word “yay”, myriad exclamation marks and the phrase “bounce bounce bounce”.

(I should probably clarify at this point that the yays and the bouncing are genuine. It’s just that they’re not the full story.)

Why do I do this?

Because I want people to like me.

I wrote a blog post a while back about how I got an A in French in my final year at university (and subsequently a First overall) by deciding to stop cruising on my reasonable fluency (gained age thirteen by a year in France, so the vocabulary was somewhat… immature). I decided to see how good my French could be if I actually worked at it.

Turns out, very good. Good enough to eventually be ranked in the top 5% of my year.

I got hate mail.

Well, not exactly hate mail, but a couple of angry comments only the lines of a/I shouldn’t have been able to regularly get Bs in a foreign language without really trying because some people only got Ds even though they worked their arses off, and b/if I was already fluent in French I obviously didn’t have to try that hard to get an A (I suspect that commenter had never studied a language beyond a basic level). I think that was when I realised people who otherwise liked me would hate me when they found out I was actually quite clever. I didn’t mention my intelligence again for a long time. Or my degree. Or my language skills. Or the eleven GCSEs. Even though these things are as much a part of me as my  height and my hair colour and the mole under my jaw.

When I was a child my mother and grandmother (both highly intelligent women with strong personalities) couldn’t understand why I wasn’t top of the class in French. With summers spent in France, my level was far higher than anyone else’s.

(And yes, privileged, albeit often rather lonely, childhood. I went to private schools too, but only because they offered me enormous scholarships, and by “enormous” I mean “more than twice their usual maximum”. There are degrees of privilege, people.)

Anyway, back to the French class. I told them I was embarrassed by my higher level. They didn’t understand. But then they weren’t attending my school. Even at the age of nine or ten, I had already learnt that being different meant being hated, so I tried to hide it. Without success, I might add. I consistently got high marks and glowing reports. The bullying was equally consistent. All I wanted was to be liked, to have friends, to live happy. Instead I was extremely clever and desperately lonely.

Fast forward a decade or so and my abusive “best friend” constantly derided me for being “a geek”. Her favourite phrase was “You’re clever but you’re a fucking fool.” Translation: your intelligence means no one likes you because you’re not like them.

So the story I’ve been telling myself isn’t entirely fictional.

I want to be successful as a writer and artist, as in supporting myself purely through sales of my creative output and comfortably at that. I also want to be extremely rich, mostly because it seems like the best way to ensure the comfort and security of those I care about. The creative community I’m now privileged to be a part of is most supportive of these desires but in order to live purely on my art (written as well as drawn and painted) I will need fans from outside the community. My life has taught me that people who aren’t like me, don’t like me. They particularly don’t like people who are clever. Nor those who are rich, for that matter. May the gods forbid one be both.

And I’m thinking it’s time to stop caring. I’m a good person. Kind, compassionate, gentle. Money and success won’t change that. I’m also blessed with an IQ of 158 and some skills with words, languages (currently fluent in three, with bits and pieces of three more) and pencil, paper and paint. I deserve all the success and money that comes my way. I will no longer wait for the world to give me permission to take it.

After all, there are seven billion people on this planet. I can become a millionairess without being friends with all of them.

This is my story. It’s time to do it justice.


The gifts we give ourselves

March 31, 2014

In a world where everything, it seems, has a price tag, the gifts we give ourselves are often the most valuable kind. The kind money can’t buy. Permission to be vulnerable. Permission to be invulnerable. Permission to be strong. Permission to be weak. Permission to stand alone and permission to ask for help. Permission to follow the crowd, permission to take […]

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Back on the shining path

March 15, 2014

I knew I had to leave my current job but I didn’t realise how happy it would make me just to hand in my notice. The tragedy of my current role is that my colleagues are lovely, my manager is the best I’ve ever had, the commute short and cheap and the pay excellent. But […]

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Day 3 of anti-depressants

February 12, 2014

I meant to post this a few hours ago but got sidetracked. Fairly typical for me at the moment. Anyway, moving swiftly on… Today is, as you may have noticed from the on-the-nose title, my third day on anti-depressants. Well, one anti-depressant. Prozac. Also call Fluoxetine. Or rather, it’s called Fluoxetine and is also called […]

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And in the dark there are no stars

January 29, 2014

I’ve been wondering if I should blog about this stuff. It seems very… un-British… to lay out my soft innards so publicly. That said, if it helps even one person to know they’re not the only one to feel the way they feel, it’ll be worth it. Not that that’s any comfort. My (may it […]

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I love you and I’m sorry

January 21, 2014

Today I had a moment. I read Chuck Wendig’s post, It Takes The Time It Takes, and realised I’m guilty of sending stuff out 95% finished because I just don’t know how to get it up to 100%. So I flailed about that for a bit. Felt sorry for myself. Beat myself up. Etc, etc. […]

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In the quiet between the white waters

January 20, 2014

There’s a river in Peru called the Apurimac. It’s one of the few rivers in the world where you can raft class seven rapids. In case you didn’t know, rapids start at class one and you go up from there. Most white water rivers go up to class five. During and immediately after the rainy […]

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Submitting stuff: Shoot For The Moon – Day 19#

January 19, 2014

I submitted another novel today. There was swearing. There was shouting. There was remembering I needed to number the pages and rename the file before I sent it in. It was most eventful. In some ways I feel I haven’t achieved much this week. That’s not because I haven’t actually achieved much. It’s probably more to […]

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Is this the eye of the storm or the aftermath?

January 17, 2014

I got through work without shouting at anyone. There was a moment, at ten to five, when I gave a screech of frustration, but I didn’t really shout. Not really. And now I’m home and fed and rather surprised that it’s only quarter to eight and considering what to do with my evening. I think I […]

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