Designed in May 2019, Rising held a lot of meaning to me, for multiple reasons. And this one's a bit of a tricky one, because there's so much of a back story that happened in between Kingdom and Rising and even prior to Kingdom that makes up all of this chapter of my life, I almost don't know how to condense it down for you all...
So let me start by doing a bridge gap between The Story Behind Waheguru and The Story Behind Kingdom because there's actually a lot that happened in between that links to this one now, and I feel it links better into this blog than it did for Kingom. We all know what lotuses mean by now after all (if you don't then feel free to read The Story Behind: Reborn to learn).
So between Feb 2018 when 'Waheguru' was designed and Feb 2019 when 'Kingdom' was released, we could sum it up to say that I basically lived. I began to discover who I was in my own skin in London and what it was I loved, where sparked my soul, who I vibed with and who pissed me off, all sorts really. I got a new job as 'Digital Marketing Manager' which was shit really when I look back at it, but also gave me experience in new industries so can't completely knock it and I also met one of my closest friends, Opal - who I literally am forever grateful I met. I travelled! I visited Paris in May 2018 for my 22nd birthday by myself (and before you think 'that's so sad', it was actually the best birthday I've ever had) - I'll go into this in a second. After Paris I came back, not long after I left my job, did my biggest road trip to date from London to Lake District with Opal and 2 of the other girls I worked with for a weekend and back down - best leaving do ever! Few weeks later, hit up Brussels for a long weekend with the sis, then Ibiza a few weeks after that followed by a madness rave weekend at SW4 festival! I lifed, literally. But in the mix of all that, I met someone - well more just before Ibiza really we hit it off, things got serious after I came back. I got a new job working closer to home that was better pay, flexi hours and an amazing, caring team who valued me too, and they looked after me. They saw everything I went through with this guy I met, truth me told everyone did except me for the first good few months (we were together all of 10 months and they were all collectively combined hell). It was toxic, it broke me, he changed me, I became unrecognisable, I lost a lot of friends over him, almost lost my family over him, nearly did lose my complete self over him. He was something else... but of course they never start that way do they.
So then Kingdom came about, things I wish could say got temporarily better but in all honesty they got worse around that time, and it was towards May 2019 where we were at true breaking point and I finally plucked up the courage to walk away a day before my 23rd birthday.
So why did I say Paris 2018 was my best birthday ever? Well, to be honest, ever since I turned 16 I hated my birthday. Whoever I was seeing at the time always did something to break my heart, piss me off, hurt me, just do something that made me regret spending the day with them that year and it just killed me over and over again. And my 22nd was the one year I was single, thought 'fuck this I'm fucking off out the country' and went to Paris by myself - it's my favourite city outside of London because it feels like a more laid back cultural London, and I fit right in (minus speaking fluent French - but I understand bits better than I speak it). I met some amazing people out there, grew a love for French rap even more than I already did have, saw a underground rap battle show, had lunch at the Eiffel tower on my birthday, had a shot with my waiter who I'm still in touch with at dinner, it was a goddamn VIBE. It changed for my 24th, the guy I was seeing then (who is also my best friend) made it something so much more memorable considering lockdown circumstances and for once, there was no heartbreak on that day. See what happens for my 25th right?
Back to it - so you now know what I was going through since I designed Waheguru, it continued on basically, and around when Kingdom was done I also lost my grandad too (mum's dad), so it really was just a flurry of shit. But coming towards the time when I finally started to get some courage in me and stop taking shit from that particular ex, is when I had the urge to design a new lotus piece.
Now it's strange, because I love lotus pieces, but I only ever design them when I undergo periods of transformation. And even when I want to randomly design one, I never can because I get a sense in me that it's not the right time. (Also currently experiencing the exact same thing with getting a unalome tattoo done on the back of my neck - it's been 2 attempts since I've tried to get it done, first was COVID, 2nd was lockdown, third time lucky I hope but I also just did a shit tonne of shadow work in between which I think was needed before it got inked on me). I guess we could say it's weird, or we say it's that I'm intuitive enough with my artwork to know it's about to be a 'seasonal change' let's say within me that requires growth before the next one can be done. But I don't mind it, because it makes me look forward to reflecting on the chapters that happen in between the birth of each lotus piece. Reborn marked the start, and Rising, well, Rising marked a lot, but let's say a level up for now.
So what was behind Rising then, where did it generate it's meaning from?
Well, aside from all of the above, Rising, alongside Kingdom, was not only about regaining my own power back, but doing this in time for the next chapter in my life - not just physically for my birthday, but spiritually. Now that vile ex of mine took me away from being focused on me, my energy was constantly drained by him, all the damn time and everyone saw it. And of course naturally toxic people hate this so the second I started reclaiming it back, he went even more toxic and vile and I just had enough. But reclaiming it, wow, goddamn was that empowering! It was completed the day that I saw my sister at the V&A museum in London - the same day I had my haircut, feeling good about myself, and also had a huge argument with that ex because he has no respect for my time or commitments we made to see my sister and overslept and we wound up having a HUGE fight. It was also after my mum came to see me in London for the first time and stayed for the weekend since I had moved, and that actually meant the world to me because I didn't even know how much I needed that or her being there at the time. And it's so easy to say we definitely have some hilarious memories of that weekend which I still laugh about to today.
But the steps I took in the lead up to me leaving him is where Rising came from. It was about growth. My own growth once again this time on an emotional and romantic level - never allowing anyone to treat me, disrespect me and so much more that I'll never tolerate again to happen. It was me taking back my power, learning to love and respect myself again to never allow me to stand for that shit level of abuse again (because it really was ridiculous levels of emotional and mental abuse), and just be ready to go through my next phase of growth.
Now you're probably thinking, damn, that's already a lot of growth, what the hell was on the cards now?! Well, believe me, I felt the damn same. But actually shortly after that I put down a deposit for my own flat in London (to rent of course, we're not miss moneybags over here), and the next phase was learning how to be okay entirely - by myself well and truly. So when I first moved down I moved in with my mum's friend and her daughter, this now was about me moving out from there and into my own space entirely - no flat shares, nothing shared, just me, and my flat. Now even though whilst I'm at home I quite often like spending time by myself in my room, knowing nobody else is there if you need them or want to spend time with them is actually quite scary - especially when you've just come out of a relationship where time to yourself was a myth because they never allowed that to happen without some form of blow up of an argument or threat or false accusation coming your way with doubt and insecurity and trust issues. And to be honest, that break up although I felt relieved to walk away from, really did take ages for me to heal from, to the extent I'm still doing the work to heal from it now - he riddled me with insecurity, doubt, everything. Literally everything mentally negative because he projected so much of himself onto me. So now being in a situation where it's me and 4 walls alone, you better believe I had ridiculous amounts of time to reflect. And it became great after - I'll save that for other blogs, but just know it did go upwards.
Back to Rising and the present moment - so this was still designed whilst I was living at my mum's friend's house, but every moment of designing this was a new part of me feeling stronger internally. It was actually a bit of a different process, because to gain the name I put it out on my social for my followers to name my piece for me, and it was one of my enlightened friends Krupa who labelled it 'Rising', so a part of this piece is in honour of her. She lifts me up, even without knowing - seeing her posts, her own spiritual journey, the battles she overcomes on a day to day basis and how she's always remained so true to herself and at one and peaceful, it's honestly inspiring. (If you're reading this I love you so much!) But some of the other name suggestions I got were truly incredible, particularly one that a follower labelled the piece as "Rebirth" (I only didn't pick this because I already had 'Reborn') but he openly commented that his perception of my progression shots were 'that's what I see, water, growth, and growing from ashes'. It amazed me that others could also see that in my work, without even knowing my current story at the time (a lot of my personal life was hidden from my art account and my personal account was and still is on private).
But they were so spot on, because this piece was about growth. 3 hugely powerful elements combined into one - a Unalome, a Lotus and a Mandala - what more could we possibly add to make us feel infinite and whole and at one with the universe? For those who don't know what a unalome symbolises -
Unalomes represent the path to enlightenment in the Buddhist culture. The spirals are meant to symbolize the twists and turns in life, and the straight lines the moment one reaches enlightenment or peace and harmony. The dots at the end of the symbol represent death, or the moment we fade to nothing, or in my eyes - the moment we become reborn into another lifetime.
Everything about this piece symbolised enlightenment, growth, a journey for all that entails - every single high, low, twist & turn and the details that form as part of that journey before we reach our highest selves, but knowing that it's all achievable and the fact that the top of the unalome sits as the base of the lotus being opened and white to symbolise 'purity of mind, wealth, knowledge, fertility and faith', Rising is just so many words to try and put into one to sum it up.
It's been one of my most valued and spiritually strongest pieces to date for what each element represents - the strength in those elements alone is powerful, but combined, unworldly, and I believe in strength in unity. The piece represents one of the biggest chapters in my life, as did Reborn, and I bet now you get why I say the Lotus pieces come every so often in chapters because actually there's so much that happens in between them and the way my work grows in between in insane, the level of detail, the meaning, the intricacy - they're reminders for me of also where I started from personally and professionally as a designer to where I am now, and a way to keep my grounded and grateful for all I have endured that's made me into who I am right now - for once, strong to speak about this.
There's more to come around this subject, having my own space allowed me to feel creatively free again so keep your eyes peeled for the next in the series...
For those who wish to, you can shop Rising online here.
Thank you for reading & keep your eyes peeled for future piece meanings being shared across the blog and also socials. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and even your own interpretations in the comments below or if you wish to let me know privately - I'm always social on emails and my social media channels.
One love - Simmy. x