“I have bones and blood and a beating heart”


I am low. Like, bad low. I am tired and burnt out and there is no joy in anything that I do. It’s been dragging on for months and this last week I have just plummeted. I don’t know how to talk to anyone, I am not sure there is anyone to talk to. Usually when I can’t deal with the world I draw or paint and these days I just sit in my studio and cry, because every time I pick up a pen or a brush I work and feel exhausted. I look at paintings and drawings that will just be made and then will sit in here and I don’t know why I do it.

And then I am in my room trying to make sense of how to get myself dressed because that is what adults do and I hear my daughter say “I have bones and blood and a beating heart” and I swear to god I have never heard anything more amazing in my life.

She’s going away this weekend, something I was very reluctant to agree to but just because I feel low and blue does not mean I get to be clingy and keep her all to myself, especially when I am in this gloom. I look at my workspace and am concerned that it is becoming a bit of a shrine to her but I promise ( her ) that it’s just because I haven’t done the other works that are meant to be part of this body of work. Which I guess is an ode to her in many ways, but an ode to childhood and children and the amazing things that they say and imagination and dark and light and beauty in all things.

I bought a canvas the other day that was meant to be a final for a study that I did that I was planning to enter into a prize, but I can’t bring myself to do it because prizes are brutal and I think I want a bit of time out from rejection letters. I’m also angry at the canvas because it cost me $50 and I feel guilty when I spend THAT much on something that will only be one thing. I could make my own but really I couldn’t because I do not have the space or the equipment or the means to do so.

This weekend I think I am going to drive out to some part of Victoria that I haven’t been to and just walk in the bush for hours and hours. I can just keep on walking until I am so tired and then maybe all the fresh air in my lungs and the vastness of the skies will make me get a bit more of a grip.


14 thoughts on ““I have bones and blood and a beating heart”

  1. Oh, Lily, I feel for you. I’ve been feeling much the same this year. You’re right on about walking through nature though – it’s a really wonderful way to feed your spirit and get away from the weight of things. Lots of love to you. x

  2. Dear Lily, the only thing I can say is repeat the mantra, “This too shall pass” and be kind to yourself. It’s a shit time to plough through – and nature does seem to work miracles, while you’re out in it. The wee hours, and the self-doubt are hard to fend off at all hours though. Please trust in yourself. Your work is amazing. You are doing good things and touching others in the doing of it.

  3. “I have bones and blood and a beating heart” is huge. Keep reminding yourself of how incredible that is and just take each moment as it comes. A big walk in the vastness of nature sounds like a great idea. Giant trees and a breeze and hearing birds chirp may give you some peace. Where you are right now is hellish, and knowing that time will ultimately make things better doesn’t offer a whole lot of consolation in those low moments. Do whatever you can to look after yourself and be kind to yourself. xxxk

  4. When you’re out and walking just remember to look up really high and really use your eyes (to help you come out of your mind) by looking for details around you, near and far. When I’m in this ‘bad’ way and I have a small moment out of my fog, I tend to suddenly notice the way my feet look on the floorboards, or the kitchen tiles, or the shower floor. I realise in those moments that I’m always looking down. My head must be heavy. Maybe if you do go for a walk, and make yourself look around, it will lift some of the weight. Good luck.

  5. Hi Lily – sorry to hear this post. I was suffering similar symptoms earlier in the year (and for about a year before that). Heavens knows how you manage to paint and be a mum. Have you checked to see if you’re suffering from chronic fatigue? If depression, and exhaustion are still there no matter how much you rest, it good be this…

    Good news for myself is that I’m through the worst of it (CFS) from too much pushing myself too many when I was totally exhausted (although I’m not battling this as well as bringing up a child).

    Think you’re a super star x x


  6. I’ve just been staring at this comment box not knowing what to say, but I really really want to say something. Me, a total stranger on the internet. I’ve read your words and I’m struck at how human you are and I’m feeling the feels at how disconnected you are from where you want to be. So here is a little piece of love or peace, from a total stranger, hoping that this tiny thread of connection, these tiny little words, will be a strand for the thread you are using to reconnect yourself.

    Maybe your world is full of so much white noise that you feel even in shouting you cannot be heard. Maybe your world is an endless expanse and in even shouting, your small voice lacks the power to fill it. Maybe a lot of things. I don’t know.

    Know this. This stranger is stepping out from a parallel and strange existence to say ‘I hear you.’

    I hear you.

    I hope that gives you something.

  7. Sonja

    This is the most perfect and personal comment written to my heart. I always try to ‘look up’ knowing that my head is usually looking down at my feet in moments of weird clarity. You made my heart swell. Thank you.

  8. Victoria on said:

    Hi Liliy,

    I’m reading this due to Clem Ford sharing it on facebook. I’m sure you’ll end up getting a lot of comments this way.

    About 2 months ago I returned home from a holiday overseas, a holiday I was hoping would cure me of what you are describing – a way I had felt for the past 4 years, at least. Once I was home, I realised that it did in fact, make me worse.

    So I went to the doctor and i did a K10 test, and now I’m taking medication. Once we got the dose right I can’t even describe to you how amazing I feel. How I feel like myself. How I can now love and be loved without worry or sadness. How I can go to the shops without it being a “big deal”. How I can make decisions. For the first time in years I can make decisions.

    I can smile at my son and take joy in him, play with him, do kid things and not be frustrated by all that he needs from me. I can work, without hating what I do (the thing I love, as an artist as well) and not wonder if it will just sit in my home, an orphan.

    I can love my husband and not be frustrated by him, not feel like he is interfering, or telling me what to do. Not worrying if he really loves me. He is happier now too.

    I’m not saying medication will do exactly the same thing for you. But it’s worth a shot. Anything that will make you feel better is. It’s not a failure to take it. I am so grateful for my medication, it gave me back myself and I can honestly say I haven’t been so happy in years.

    Good luck.

  9. Lily, I feel exactly the same and my daughter is also my sense of wonder and my beacon in the dark. I am ‘successful’ on the outside and joyless within. I will be walking with you x

  10. Gayle De Angelis on said:

    Sending love to you Lily. Like the daffodils their frilly blooms cocooned, as you nurture yourself – and a trip to the bush is such a good way to do that – soon your head will spring out ready to shine in the sun. xxx

  11. Another mum on said:

    God, kids just say the most incredible things, at just the right time.
    Apart from anything else, I just wanted to say that the paintings that are part of this post are SUBLIME (and I looked at your gallery too…your work is just ridiculously good). I hope you get your art out into the world…I know I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Hope you’ve got lots of love and support around you to help you through the terrible ‘down’. x

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