Today* is my Grandad’s birthday. It is also the 6th anniversary of his passing. It had been a good many years before he passed that I’d last seen him, so all I have are a child’s memory of my time with him. And they were such good memories, fuzzy as they are.

One year when he was out from the UK on holiday in Australia to see us, he made it his mission to get this stubborn 9-year-old to read. He made it a game, he made it fun and interesting, and I looked forward to that time with him so much. My grandad made me a reader. And what a world he opened up for me. A world of intrigue, mystery, excitement, kids doing crazy and amazing things, such heroism, and sorrow one would never expect to feel from reading words on a page. Unless you were a reader too.

My grandad was not the only one to influence my reading over the years, but I believe he easily had the biggest, long lasting impact. When I go for long stretches without picking up a book, I feel a kind of guilt. Not an obligation. More that I had been gifted this ability to escape, to wonder and broaden of my mind. A gift that I was squandering. I remember how much joy and peace comes from sitting down with a good book and getting lost in it’s pages. How much my world opens up. And how much I grow from every page I read.

As an artist I’ve also felt a sense of guilt that art isn’t always my escape. I don’t seem to fit this mould of what an artist truly is. I don’t always turn to my brushes or pencils in times of hardship and sorrow. I turn more to words. I escape by reading fiction or studying something new. Or I will escape into myself, trying to understand myself and my situation more by writing. However, I’ve found that the more I do this, escape with words, the broader my artistic mind grows too. And it makes sense. Being exposed to new experiences is exactly what an artistic mind needs to also expand.

I’ve lived a long time in a self-imposed bubble. A safe place I built, away from the harshness of the world, from conflict, from too much external criticism, not truly putting myself out into the world. In this space of years, I didn’t read. Much, at least. I quite literally limited all inputs, on all fronts to try and make a safe space. It was necessary for a time. But that time is passing. I’m opening myself up to new experiences; new inputs, new books, new people, new places. I won’t shy away as much as I use to.

Now it’s time to step out. It’s time to see what life is really all about.

I don’t know what this means for me. I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is that changes are happening, and they’re about to make life a whole lot more interesting

Amelia x

*It is ‘today’ when I am writing this post, but yesterday by the time it’s scheduled to go live.

P.S. I’m still currently in Brussels, Belgium and am getting into the swing of working again – at least digitally and online. I will post again soon with more updates.

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