--I shared the first draft of this blog post for Neurodiversity Celebration Week in March 2022 and this new updated copy is now being shared during Disability Pride Month 2023 as I've signed a deal with Scope UK for them to use the rainbow infinity artwork.--
Firstly I want people to understand why this is such a hugely exciting deal for me. So many of the neurodivergent community have wanted this artwork as keyrings, hats and bags and as a small business I can't produce it in enough numbers and formats. So it's amazing to have this support and validation of what I'm doing. Thanks Scope!
Secondly, I am part of a neurospicy household, I won’t be going into more specifics than that as it’s not all my information to give and we don't have all of our information yet, but how our brains work impacts my life, painting and business every day (see article in Stylist Magazine on Executive Dysfunction here).
A brief history for those who are interested...
1982: Baby Cat arrived in this world and was super chilled.
Toddler Cat apparently spent years only eating dry Cheerios.
Little kid Cat found it VERY hard to move houses and schools and was considered a slow, picky eater.
Bigger kid Cat always wondered how anyone could hang out in the sunshine, its so bright! ps. how does anyone manage homework... or coursework... or redrafting...
Over the years small-adult Cat struggled with her relationship with food and moved house and jobs a lot.
Eventually medium-adult Cat found another human who 'got' how all of these things work and took them seriously and she finally felt understood.
They had mini humans who were neurodivergent SURPRISE and were both a huge challenge and also the most amazing thing ever when it came to the family understanding all of their individual needs.
Badibidu finally took shape and started flying after a few false starts and paying for the domain names for about 15 years.
I’ve always loved making things, I’ve always sewn, knitted, crocheted, drawn, painted, made jewellery. It’s been a way of relaxing, of expressing myself, of learning new things, of distracting myself, of procrastinating 😬. I’ve always been someone who fiddles with things, dismantles things and puts them back together so drawing, painting and teaching provide a focus for that energy.
My youngest kid’s total love of painting got me back into art and the comfort that the colours and brushstrokes give me are some of the best mindful moments I have ever found. No matter how frazzled my brain gets there’s a calm when I focus and start applying paint to paper in gentle strokes. I frequently start with no plan, and sometimes I get to a point and throw it away, but the time hasn’t been wasted because it was ‘quiet brain’ time. You can get so much from creating and you don’t have to show anyone until you want to, or ever if you don’t want to.
I’ve wanted to paint the rainbow infinity symbol for neurodiversity ever since I painted the flowery rainbow at the beginning of Badibidu really kicking off. My first attempt failed half way so I started again (something I barely ever do because the repetition takes the joy out for me) and it eventually came out how I had pictured it - I can’t believe the wonderful response it’s had. It's been used by mental health professionals, businesses, an NHS pilot project and now Scope, it's incredible.
When I'm asked what advice I have for people trying to be better at looking after their neurodivergent kids or be a better ally to the ND community I always just say to listen to them because they know best. You could even pick up tips for your own self management in the process.
ND friends, give yourself a break, you're working hard even when you don't realise it. Embrace Antiperfection ♥️
I’ve seen so many friends and family members really flourish once they figured out a few simple rules for their brains (rest requirements, noise regulation, online community, medication and creativity often appear on the list!), and we often end up chatting about these sorts of things at the workshops too.
I’m also always here to chat. I by no means have any answers but sometimes a chat can help massively 💕