If Lost Start Here is a new initiative headed by me, Claire Fitzsimmons, a now California-based Mancunian who finds herself a long way from home. I used to be a curator, in a former art world life, creating exhibitions in museums and galleries that I could have only dreamt of, like Tate Modern, the Serpentine and the ICA in London. It was an incredibly exciting career but it wasn’t my career. I always felt out of place. Boo.
Then something happened that forced me to reassess everything. My mum, who had been my best friend and constant in my life, starting to lose her mind. Slowly, then completely. Now she struggles to function in the world. No, I don’t know her diagnosis. Noone does. We’re still trying to figure that out, after years and years of appointments, and ER visits, and specialists, and reading. Lots and lots of reading.
But it did this to me: it put the question of how we function as people front and center in my life, and it made me feel that this reified environment of conceptually-oriented art exhibitions didn’t connect with my life anymore. So I quit the art world to be a therapist. Which I thought I should be. But it turns out, I shouldn’t. My year at CCPE completing a Foundational Psychotherapy course taught me that I loved this world of psychology but I’m not what I would call people-y. There’s always that tension with me between ideas and learning and how they take their form in the world, in other words the human piece. But that’s the point of interaction that fascinates me the most.
If Lost Start Here began to percolate when I realized that people were starting to do some fascinating things with that tension point. They were starting to build brick-and-mortar places around things like community and emotional intelligence and even the end of relationships. They were starting to make places that hold our mental well-being in ways that the museums that I’d worked in held contemporary art.
I also realized that was nowhere to go to find all those different things. There were, and are, incredible platforms for great interior design, or travel off the beaten path, or wellbeing trends, but there’s nowhere to think about what I think is a new sector that combines travel, lifestyle, wellbeing and lifestyle, all directed at making our lives better, and easier, and more fulfilling. A platform that could show the best places that support us as actual people in our worlds.
If Lost Starts Here is about that practical search for something else, for the gap in your life, for the thing that you need. My hope is that you’ll find what you are looking for and what you need. As I’m trying to do for me and for my mum. Maybe we can do this together?
There are various ways for you to engage. By reading the blog of those places and supporting them as and when you need them in your life. By participating in the blog, contributing the places that you know prioritize our mental wellbeing in new and interesting ways. And of course by sharing - help us get the word out that this platform exists, that there is help out there. Sometimes, we, you, and I just have to find it.
P.S. If Lost Start Here is also the first collaborative call to action for The Collective Together, a practice where creativity and kindness meet. Its run by Amanda Sheeren and myself. Amanda designed our logo, is a huge contributor and advocate of this site, and makes all the words make more sense! Plus she saves my life almost everyday by just being my friend.