Be bold, do stuff.
Hazel, 49. Single mum of three. Croydon born of Jamaican heritage.
How are you?
I can’t believe I’m 49! (laughing) I’m feeling a lot better physically than I used to. I’ve been doing this Ethiopian fast - it’s changed the way I think about eating. It’s become an annual ritual.
What’s you most memorable experience?
When my Grandma died. I was in Sierra Leone at the hairdressers - I got a phone call ‘your grandma is dead’. I was about 25 at the time. In African culture the response to grief is very genuine. It’s vocal. I got a lot of comfort from that. I remember writing on every book I had, ‘Grandma died and I miss her so much’.
What are your dreams?
My dream is to have my own art studio by the sea. The dream path is next to the one I’m on. I’m trying to bridge that gap. I long to have clear floors. In my house there is stuff everywhere. I don't sort things out. I can detach from the crap. I’m embarrassed and used to make excuses about the state of my house. How have I let it get to this state? I feel I have let my children down because the house is untidy. The untidiness has a function; it’s a comfort blanket. Because I’m used to struggling, it has become the norm, a badge of capability. I can't ask for help.
Where does all your energy go?
On struggling. I have a lot of nervous energy. I sabotage myself. I do too much. I take on too much. I do things for others and not myself.
How do you see yourself?
Half full. I am an optimist. I’m talkative, sociable and spiritual. I’m learning to accept that I don't have to be perfect. I’m learning to mind my own business. I am paying more attention to myself in a ‘need to do’ way , not a self indulgent way. I have lots of ideas. I’m reticent, fearful and frightened. I have an unhealthy relationship with money. I want to be financially independent and value myself.
How do you feel about body image?
I’d like flatter stomach. I’m glad of my shape after having babies. I used not to like my stretch marks but now I see them as a mark of motherhood. I’m horrified by my bum dimples. I have strong thighs and I like them. I have big calves and tiny ankles, I love the way tights shape your legs.
What do you like about yourself?
I’m a free spirit. I love to express myself. I love talking. I don't hold a grudge. I love that I focus on the mundane and the ordinary.
How do you best express yourself?
Talking. Singing, through art and dancing.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired visually by what people wear. My mum inspires me as do women who aren't like me. The WI inspires me. Gardens and nature. Places inspire me, as does tea!
What do you think about life?
It’s important not to have regrets. Be bold, do stuff. Do random acts of kindness. Live every moment. Observe stuff. Grow stuff, it’s the spirit of life. Plants struggle against the odds. In cities they grow in the oddest of places. You can’t stop nature.
What would you like to leave for the next generation?
Books that I have written, paintings and poetry. Always forgive and move on. Experience life. Respect nature. Don't take things for granted. I have spent a lot of time being angry about my historical past. Know your history, become an expert in your local area, your local history. Learn to help others.
Are you free?
NO! I am hinder by my mind, thoughts and belief systems.
What have you taken form today?
I didn't expect this illumination about myself. This is the best time you’ll ever spend. It’s precious and valuable. Thank God for this time, there is something angelic and healing about his process.