Thursday, 29 June 2017

Anonymised writing and an accidental sofa nap

I was going to write in my anonymous blog, then decided I would write briefly in this one first. Really just to write about shifting to the anonymous one for a while, not that I blog regularly whatsoever any more. I have no idea where this blog is going, and it really goes back some years now so sometimes I think I would be better deleting the whole thing and starting from fresh. I could work on creating something a little more meaningful or related to my work. I do love my jobs and my research, and I always have stuff going on or stuff that I am debating or thinking about. Writing is a wonderful way to process some of that. On one hand, that would be wonderful. But on the other hand I can barely pull together a spare half hour to work on my PhD, so the thought of writing for work in my ‘spare time’ seems sort of wonderful and great, but totally idealistic. I’ve taken to thinking that the anonymous space on my ‘other’ blog might be the space I need. So, back to the anonymous blog I go. I quite like that sense of freedom that comes with anonymity. I am a little restricted here with my name attached to everything I post. I was having some conversations today that reminded me of some of the interesting interactions I’ve had when I was modelling a fair bit. Conversations about ownership of images, basically about models owning none of their images and not having any control over how they are used OR what is said/discussed about them in public online spaces particularly. So I suppose I am quite wary of that here too, but the bigger issue is that my students (not so worried about that) and my clients (this is more the concern) do have access to the wonderful internet and that’s a whole new kind of self-disclosure.

Anyway, so anonymous writing I think is where I’ll go to over the next few months. I am in a strangely reflective space after writing all day. I don’t think I give myself half the creative and reflective headspace I need to do a PhD – so I really must carve out spaces of my own. But the space I’ve created this evening is quite a new one. I’ve just woken up after getting home quite late, attempting to navigate thermostat instructions that make no sense whatsoever, and at some point during getting so lost in the instructions, I fell asleep on the sofa. Half an hour later, I woke up quite confused about what happened. I rarely sit on the sofa, never mind actually drift off to sleep on it. So you can imagine the surprise when I woke up horizontally on it at about 11.30pm. It’s quite comfy on there. And it is shiny brand new (well, less shiny. It’s just new). I should really make more of an effort to sit (or even lie) on it more. 

Anyway, when I woke from this strange accidental sofa nap, I promptly decided to skip the bath I was planning, leave the cold tea on the side, quickly check all work was sorted and just crawl straight into bed. I am so pleased that I have a few days off on leave.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Five months later

Now another five months later. Last time I wrote a post here, I had left it two months. Now five. That is a record in the seven years this blog has been going strong. Although now it is not so strong any more. It’s rather sad – I either have nothing to say any more (definitely not this – I more than likely have *too* much to say), or no time to say it in (certainly this). I even forgot I own a blog and it was only a conversation with a friend today that reminded me that I do indeed have a blog and I used to love writing it. Writing in this blog was a strange sort of act of self-care. Perhaps not so strange really, but it was strange to me, that I could write and love writing and take some time out that was just for me. I loved it – I would usually write on trains/planes/taxis/cars (not me driving!) or in train station coffee shops. I would always feel an odd sense of familiarity and home in the random locations but usually in transit – in the spaces in-between. It was real peace and time out. The irony is that you *need* time, in order to take time out. Certainly when I first started this, I did have time to write it. I also had very little restrictions about what I could and couldn’t write. I wasn’t a therapist and I didn’t teach. But now I do both, and I have clients and students who really shouldn’t read half of what is on my mind. The boundaries have narrowed and now there is not much space left to write as freely as I used to. So, I am left with no blog posts any more, and a very neglected small space on the internet. Slowly, it has dwindled down to nothing. Oh, that is sad.

Another reason I think this blog really has been quiet, is that I have not quite developed the skill to say ‘F-off’ to the guilt that arrives with writing something for pure pleasure (yes.. for pleasure). You know, the guilt that says ‘you should be reading for your PhD’, ‘you should be marking’, ‘you should be doing your emails’, ‘you should be doing teaching prep’. Even at midnight on a Wednesday night.. even on a Sunday morning. Wherever, whenever – the guilt isn’t selective. It is just there. It is quite persuasive as well, so writing this is my small attempt at saying ‘F-off’ to that. I didn’t get home until gone 9pm anyway. And my first thought was ‘oh, I should try to finish marking those last papers’. Of course, it is late and I haven’t - I’m writing this instead. It is good to reclaim time. I did it last night when I went to a yoga class for the first time in about 18 months (bar a random one I tried a month or so ago). I am clawing back some time for myself; it is more important than I have the words for.  I am currently sat here in my house, with a cup of tea and with my ridiculous next door neighbours banging out tunes very loudly. They are not bad tunes so it could be worse. But it’s mid-week and it’s approaching midnight and I’m pretty certain they have a new drum kit along with their much loved guitar.  I’m surprised at my tolerance really. I mean, I haven’t knocked their door down yet (I’m a bit afraid of them, and of my street actually!) and I haven’t banged on the wall too much (really because it bruised my arm like a very badly bruised peach last time!) but.. I am tolerating. And silently seething in rage.


I was reading the last few things I posted on here – and it is incredible what has changed in a small space of time. I have been in Northampton since September – I didn’t think I would make it to Christmas and now we’re at Easter. I am still navigating the new space and working out new relationships and people. Northampton is Northampton. People still look at me like I’m a little crazy for leaving York. But I have found some really wonderful people here, and that is one of the most important things. I am also still making sense of all the things that come with new roles and new responsibilities, and really only just connecting with the fact that I came here to do a PhD, and I should take that seriously soon (AKA now). Somehow everything took over. The things I am paid to do literally took over my waking hours and it took me months to even take one PhD day. Currently I am a little in awe of people who do PhD’s alongside full time work. I am not sure how it is done, but I can see that it must be possible and I suppose I will test myself over the next few years.  Nothing like a good test of endurance, right? That, and good active resistance and political acts of self-care. Blog posts and yoga. Surely I can keep at least one of those going..