There’s stuff I guess I want to share, to say to the world at large, but it’s not so easy as to just type it; like a nagging but shy little thought that wants to go play, but wants someone to hold its hand.
So this is an attempt to create a safe little blog post for some of this stuff to come out and be.
One year anniversary
One thing that I have not talked about very much in public happened a year and a day ago. I’m not surprised that it’s taken me so long to be able to write about it, but I am now in the odd position of having lost track of who I have and haven’t told and blind-siding people with the news. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my Mum’s death.
It’s taken a long time for it to filter through, a lifetime’s practice of repression and denial doesn’t drop away overnight, but it is coming through and sometimes I’m able to see the positive in that, the space for healing. The rest of the time I try to hold myself somewhere between pushing everything into the cellar at the back of my mind and being completely overwhelmed.
I’ve missed writing here. Part of the reason I stopped was a fear of showing too much to potential employers or colleagues. Given that I want to work in dance, and in particular with people who use dance to explore emotion and humanity, I’m starting to feel that may have been an unnecessary fear. My sudden desire to be taken seriously, to try and become a dancer, rather than accept that I already am one, getting in the way of me actually exploring.
There’s a thought, a belief, or several hanging around behind this, something like “professional people are stoic” and “showing weakness makes you less employable”. I’m not really feeling strong enough to poke around there too much, I seem to be so tired when I’m not dancing (and when I am there’s energy coming from a seemingly boundless source).
Meeting new mind squirrels
When someone is able to point to your mind squirrels and name them, it is both relieving and terrible. The sense of emotional release is potentially addictive, and the pain is therefore bitter-sweet. The combination of surprise, delight, and agony often causes me to laugh at how my own mind is constructed – the ridiculous nature of my habits, thoughts, feelings & behaviors.
It is easy to recognize when a mind squirrel has been caught in the headlights. My brain goes quiet, all I can say is either “Yes” or “Ow”, and it feels like I’ve been skewered through the chest. It is not an understanding. It is not the addition of a new node of information to the multi-faceted construction of my mental model, indeed it can take a while for my mind to catch up and put the understanding into a context it can accept. It goes straight to the heart of me and is thus a raw & powerful moment. It is to feel heard, understood, acknowledged.
I may not have what I truly want
Meet my most recently discovered squirrel. He is an old squirrel I feel. He does not talk to me directly but I can see his hairs left on so many things I’ve felt. He will not be released just by knowing he is there; he has minions who may carry on working, even in his absence. No, this squirrel is a network of squirrels, and he may not even be the leader, but he is most certainly a General.
Oddly enough, despite the military metaphor, I do not feel in battle with my squirrels. Rather they are like busy little workers, given a task so long ago, creating new squirrels as they see the need, and only without proper management and guidance have they wreaked the havoc that is now happening in my mind (and most everyone else’s too).
My job, therefore, is to learn to manage my squirrels properly. To see their skills & talents and put them to good uses rather than unhelpful ones. To tell them off for all their hard work will not win them over, rather I must try and remember to be grateful for all their efforts, to remember the good they have done for me and not just focus on the negative. I will become a Master Squirrel Herder, and eventually, they will need only minimal attention day-to-day. For the moment, however, having found my squirrels in panic and disarray they need constant love and attention, and I am so very tired.
I’m not alone; I’m receiving support from a Master Squirrel Herder, have company in fellow Squirrel Herding Apprentices, and sometimes have the patience and understanding that it is acceptable for my squirrels to be in disarray right now and to give myself a break. Indeed, learning how to maintain momentum and motivation without beating on myself is another new skill to start to practice. (Skills and skills about skills. It’s no surprise I’m tired.) Not being alone doesn’t stop it sucking though.
I can see bits and bobs I could write more about. I don’t know if I will or not. But for now fatigue is taking over and I would rather avoid this turning into bumbling emotional rambling. More than it already is at least. So I’m going to see if I can manage some more knitting or if I need to just sit and stare at the rain a while.