This week I have been even more exhausted than last week. Now, other than a couple of hours on Sunday, I have a few days to relax with family. Although this means travelling, there’s enough down time until next Wednesday when I will be easing back into work before things get super busy again the following week.
I cancelled some activities on Saturday to rest, but it was a struggle. On Monday, I attended a conversation panel at Coram – a potential placement as an Art Psychotherapy trainee. On Wednesday, I was back there for their poetry night, and although unplanned, I ended up sharing a piece (my name in an english accent, previously published in The Rialto). It was so interesting to get an insight into people who are care-experienced, and the intersection with being mixed race or growing up in a transracial family.
Aside from this, I have been teaching EFL in the mornings, with a few long days of also tutoring and doing related activities until the evening. It’s been full on, and the sun right now makes this slight break all the sweeter.
One of the catchphrases from my Art Therapy course is to “trust the process”. Whilst I often say such things tongue-in-check, there’s always some truth there too. I’ve accepted some EFL work which looks like it’ll be fun – apparently one of my students has pink hair and likes to wear pink (there I am in the meeting today, head-to-toe in pink!) So, now I’ve gone from being scared about not having enough work, to having too much work. I’m hopeful for another alternative education placement after the next three weeks, but I’ve also been offered an interview for EFL work for Lewisham Council.
I dedicated some time to art making the other day (see above) and I’ve still got some more works-in-progress, but it felt so good to do. It’s all very responsive to the present moment and things that have come up through the course, rather than the ideas I have for specific pieces connected to my poetry, but I trust that will come with time.
I’ve started my Art Psychotherapy course, and it has felt overwhelming at times, but after just two days I feel very connected to my colleagues and like I have found kindred spirits. I have to be careful with what I share and respect the confidentiality of everyone, but I can share my own work and experiences. At time moment, I’m trying to find extra work, and have had two potential new students whose parents have ceased contact without informing me, which feels really horrible, so I’m trying to prioritise, which is difficult when there’s so much to do, not knowing where to start. I have also been trying to keep up with the uke, as having such things structured is important, yet at times I find myself lost in emails and searching for what books I need and where I can find them.
I started the above picture in an experiential workshop, where we were to introduce ourselves visually. I’m in a period of uncertainty, where my living situation will change over the next couple of months. I feel I’ve got a lot of clutter and I want to get rid of some things, but it never seems like a priority, so it keeps weighing me down in that way. Even stuff I don’t want to get rid of gets overwhelming, from unread magazines to untouched internet tabs and bookmarks. In the Red Sky Sessions with Vanessa Kisuule and Cecilia Knapp this week, one question I noted down was ‘What do you hoard?’ and I enjoyed the poem that came out of answering this question.
The weekend was overwhelming too. There were nice moments too, like mooching around Crystal Palace’s galleries, cafes and antique shops, but even being at Apples & Snakes’ 40th Birthday Party was a challenge. I felt so overwhelmed I was shaking and tearful. I managed to speak to some people, but didn’t really approach anyone myself. Not only did I feel like that, but the critical voice inside my head was questioning my place there, putting me down for not being successful enough. Shout out to Antonia Jade King, Deborah Stevenson, Vanessa Kisuule, Bohdan Piasecki, John Berkavitch and Joelle Taylor for making me feel better by just talking to me or giving me a hug. Trust poets to hold you.
I’ve returned from my holiday feeling refreshed and excited for a new chapter, training to become an Art Therapist. Then on the Monday, I began to feel overwhelmed and indecisive. I’m puzzling the pieces of my timetable together, trying to work out how I can earn enough money to get by each month, let alone pay for my course fees. I tell myself this is just a period of uncertainty, and it will pass. By November, things will be clearer… either way, I’ll know the outcome of my scholarship application, and will have a better idea of finances.
There’s inevitable instability with freelance work. Going on holiday, and an important family event abroad means I’ve earned a lot less this month and need more work to pick up. I have no idea how much time the course will take up outside of the classroom, so all you can do is go with the ebb and flow, and try to keep as balanced as possible to keep negativity and anxiety at bay. From my Creative Entrepreneurship, I’ll be going away from the fantastical “champagne” budget (well, more like Tinto de Verano, which could can get for €1 from the shop in Lanzarote), to the “cabbage” budget (good thing I make a mean bokkeumbap!).
The past week, I’ve felt like my energy is properly back to pre-Covid standard. I’ve had the energy to go to all my gym classes and have taken on some extra work. I still need to get to bed earlier, but I’m setting my alarms less. I’m trying to remember that I’m in control!
I’ve got some extra work over the summer, which will not only help me live day-to-day, but it should help me save for funding my MA in Art Therapy! I’ve been getting back on the ukulele and had another in-person lesson and have realised what a difference it makes learning songs you know and like and can sing along to! I’ve released another couple of episodes of Carmina’s Cantata as well – Malaika Kegode and Dizraeli, from when I was in Bristol.
This week, my gran sent a translated poem by Anna Akhmatova. I happened to have just picked up a load of my old books from my parents’, and had the book she’d got me at hand. I found the poem, but it was a different translation, and I preferred this one my gran sent.
In other news, I’ve also been starting a few things I’ve been putting off or not got round to for a while. I’m going through notes on my notes app from 2018! It’s very long, but there’s lots of poems. I’d love to be able to get organised and make a nice spreadsheet of poems. Many are unfinished! I’ve also started doing a series of videos on mental health stuff connected with neurodiversity, BPD and being a HSP.
I went out to the park with my laptop and its tent, but it was a bit premature as it clouded over and got a bit chilly, when I had visions of being out there until sunset! Next week, I’ll have 8 hours of online tuition as well a my regular lessons, so I’ll try to make the most of any sun when I can, looking forward to my birthday next weekend!
I haven’t written an update on Carmina’s Cantata in a while, and as I’m back to it after a bit of a break, I thought I’d write a little on what I’m doing, as well as some more general stuff. So, after the festival, I didn’t listen to my body. I had an amazing massage should have gone home to rest, but I went to the Taking Back Sunday, Alkaline Trio and Destroy Boys gig… which I’m pretty sure if where I then got Covid! Made worse by going to see Funeral For A Friend the following week! I’d gone so long without it, I even thought maybe I’d had it but been asymptomatic. It was rough. It’s the second-worst illness I’ve had (the other being a kind of relative of Glandular Fever). I’m still struggling with the fatigue and my lungs don’t feel 100% when exercising. At one point I even got mixed messages about going to A&E, but I waited until Monday to see a doctor and it turned out that I just rushed into exercise. I’m feeling super tired right now and hoping I’m getting the balance right, as it’s something I struggle with.
I’d had to cancel my poetry gigs at SHEreos of Lewisham and R.A.P. Party, but I was at least able to watch The Albany stream, where an audio of my poem I’d recorded in the day was played, and a couple of people told me that my poem was one of their favourites. It was a joy to see people dancing to my chosen tracks as well. I was able to see the SHEReos of Lewisham exhibition with my poem in it the following weekend at Crofton Park Community Library. I have also been accepted onto the MA in Art Psychotherapy at Goldsmiths. As I’m not eligible for a government loan and getting a loan to cover the full tuition is proving to be impossible, I’m trying to crowd fund as much as possible. Read about and share my journey here.
As I was trying to work out what I could do whilst still resting… I did some drawings inspired by the themes of Grayson Perry’s Art Club. I just felt weirdly guilty for watching and listening to things… though I wish I knew you could get audiobooks from the library on your phone then! It’s just so hard to manage fatigue. So, this week, I have started to work on the podcast interviews. I have finished editing the one I used for the production course I did, and after a panic that I have forgotten everything, I now know what I’m doing again.
I interviewed poet and theatre maker Hannah Jane Walker about her book on sensitivity… and just had to cut it down from over 13,000 words to nearly 5,000 words! I may have to cut it down even more, but it is taking a lot longer than anticipated. Although off-putting in some ways, I have made a note on my to-do list to use the same platform (Otterly) to write transcripts. It won’t take quite as long as I won’t have to edit it down to an article length thankfully!