The past month has been a roller coaster of emotions with its upheaval of routines and identity. But already I know that I am coming out stronger and more settled to the other side and into October.
I’m starting to find a rhythm to my weekly timetable of teaching and writing, and I’m mentally stronger knowing how much I need to give to my new teaching job. The fever and heat of the last academic year are over. More and more I’m seeing my anxiety for what it is and calling it out. It is my perfectionism. It is my feeling less than. It is me trying to control my life so I can feel close to equal to those I perceive as doing so much better than me. I breathe deeply and I remind myself of the truth. I am good enough. I don’t have to retreat and hide. I can ‘turn up’. It can be done, and it can be done simply and without fuss.
And so I am trying to look after myself, making a promise to prioritise my self-care ~ taking the supplements that I need to, ensuring uv therapy, exercising (but only moderately as anything more seems to induce a euphoric over indulgence). I’m also prescribing myself at least one long walk in nature a week. Barely seems enough, does it, out of the 168 hours available?
I want to seize the day, my life, but I need to ensure I’m not seizing the nettle alongside it. The nettle is the cycle of depression and anxiety that so often accompanies my attempts to make changes. I want to seize the day gently and without drama, just to live creatively and encompass what is good and nourishing in my life for me and those around me.
I am happy to be earning a living as a teacher, but I have changed my work path so that I can work part time and have time to write. Right now, I don’t do all the writing that I want to do in a week (will I ever?) but I am making progress in getting to the bottom of the why I am writing, and what I want to achieve. You see, sometimes I feel ashamed that I’m not inventive enough because my creativity lies so closely to my lived experience. There is a lingering feeling that what I do is closer to therapy than art, and then up pops that feeling of not-enoughness once more. But what about my creative heroes ~ Sylvia Plath, Frida Kahlo, Jean Rhys? Their art lay very close to their lived experiences. Were they not enough? No, there is a reason why I am drawn to them. They are a lighthouse that I navigate towards.
Today there are grey skies and a discernible mist. But tomorrow could still be blue skies and golden light once more. I am sitting here with the windows to the back of the house open, and I can hear birds singing. Sparrows, I think. An ordinary chirp that many wouldn’t stop to listen to. It’s beautiful in its insistence. Eight years ago when we first moved to this house there were very few trees along this road and for such a long time there was no birdsong, not even the unexceptional sparrow. Look how far we’ve come.