No More Monday MOrning BLues

When I was teaching, I used to experience ‘Monday Morning Blues’. That dreaded feeling of going back to the grind after the weekend off. Going back to the bells and the timetables and the disruptive kids. One of the many reasons to leave the profession without a safety net in place, without anything lined up, was that I knew if I didn’t go then, I’d never get out. I was getting too comfortable, too used to the regular pay check at the end of each month, justifying the slog, the staying put within an environment that was slowly eating away at my soul.

I used to see cows outside my classroom window and I vowed not to become one of them; a cow put out to pasture, giving up on life and life giving up on them. I knew there was more to life that the 9-5 job, or as it was when teaching 7-7 job. I put my whole life, heart and soul into that job to the point of probably neglecting my child at the time. But I was after perfectionism, acceptance and recognition. I was defining my whole self -worth by how good or bad I was at teaching. And teaching shite I may add. Shite filled up with the words and opinions of mostly white dead men who probably didn’t think much of me being a Black woman.

I was duped into the belief that work was meant to be hard and difficult and long and mostly unrewarding. It was what we were put on the earth to do, to be. To work for most of of our lives for others, propping up the system and if we worked hard enough, we’d get time off at the end with a pension that would be taxed again. This is what I bought into and what was fed to me through family, education and society. To step out of this construction to pursue creativity, to do my own things and be my own boss was seen as weird, a risk, stupidity and misguided to say the least.

I knew how I felt. And I know how I feel. And even then I put a lot of store by how I felt. How I was uncomfortable in my own skin. How I felt a fraud. How I felt unbelonging and always striving for something that would never be mine. Acceptance. Whiteness. The Norm.

Now I don’t have ‘Monday Morning Blues’, because I don’t put that kind of pressure on my days, on my weekends, on my time. I pick and choose when to work or not. I try to have a 3 day week. Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday being the work days and the Monday and Friday flow into a long weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not idle. I’ll always be practicing my creativity ( I prefer using practice to work). I don’t think I’ll ever retire because being creative is who I am. And when I reserve certain days of the week for outside commitments, ‘work’ the other days are mine to create, to rest, to dream, to plot, to {BE}. And I’m grateful for the circumstance to be able to {BE} this way. I’m also grateful to my younger self who wasn’t afraid to jump and believe and trust that a net would appear to catch her fall. Again and again.

I’m quote proud to say I’m being useless to capitalism today. And the next day and the next.

I don’t remember when I lost my most important treasure

The Goddess Series, 2023

I don’t remember when I started to hurt.

I don’t remember when I gave up on myself being enough, being worthy.

I don’t remember when I gave myself away to others at the expense of not keeping any goodness for me.

I don’t remember when I started to hate on myself and wishing myself away, wishing myself into something or someone else. Anything else but this. Anything other than who I really am.

I don’t remember when I started to hide myself away became secretive and dishonest as a means of protection and advancement.

I don’t remember when I stopped being my own best friend and started to seek this relationship, this love and attention elsewhere.

I don’t remember when I betrayed myself by thinking that I was someone who didn’t deserve to be here, as someone worthy of love and happiness and joy.

I don’t remember when I started to listen to others, the outside world and stopped listening to my heart, to my own wisdom.

I don’t remember when I stopped just {being} instead of doing. When {being} was enough.

I don’t remember when I stoped paying attention to what lights me up, my wants and needs, what makes me smile.

I don’t remember when I stopped being a child and took the burdens of the world on to my little shoulders like they belonged there.

I don’t remember when I stopped being in love with myself and gave this love to others who were not deserving of my love, who could not see me as me.

I don’t remember when I began to think I needed other people to love me instead of me just loving on me.

I don’t remember when or how or why all this happened, I just feel it. And now, here I am trying to get back to me, to me loving on me, the most important treasure, lost.

My Mother was the Moon, the Earth, the Song

As I pull into the roadside drenched in memory, I practice breathing. Cycle through the minutes trying to gain ground.

She was silence behind her smiles. Behind her ample flesh. I burnt down our bonds because she dropped before her time.

I’ve too much fire to ever accept her truth. Too much sense to feel the moon held her fullness.

Late into the night standing by the window, she waited for my return. Without fail. I took her love and joy without a backward glance.

I am dark. Too dark. But meaning comes with the light. My own light, learning to shine from the inside out.

I wish she had her chance. I take her picture sitting in the grass amongst the trees and seal it into memory.

The earth she could not give me. She didn’t know how as she laughed her soul into existence.

I am red. All of it. And not at all. But with eyes wide open, body claiming space daily, I listen to her song and bathe in the moonlight.

Taking Myself Out On A Date

I like to think of my creative practice, especially my writing as a lover. There are times when I need to fall back in love with my practice, my writing in particular. The muse might be acting shady or we might have just fallen out and not seen each other for a while. This is when I need to start dating my muse again.

In order to fall in love with my practice again, I need to start dating my muse again. I need to treat my muse like a lover and start putting dates in the diary. Make an effort to show up for my muse. Get dressed for an evening date. Spend time on my appearance. Put on my favourite perfume. Make my favourite drink and show up at the page. All part of the ruse to get my muse to show up and spend time with me again.

When I do this, start to treat my muse like a lover, I start to get excited about our time together. I look forward to meeting up, I enjoy the time we spend together and can’t wait until we meet again.

This is all part and parcel of attempting to keep me committed to my practice. To not allow anyone else or any other thing to come between me and my practice. As I need my creative practice like air. To be completely finished with my muse and my creative practice, to separate forever from my lover would be devastating to me, to my being.

So when I think or feel that I’m letting things slide, start taking things for granted and not even bothering to turn up at the page, I know it’s time to start paying special attention to my lover. To make the effort to show up and let them know that I do care for them. That I want to be with them. And that I love them and can’t do without them. I let them know how much joy they bring me. That I appreciate them and that I don’t want to be with them.

Treating my muse like a lover is not just a reminder to my muse that I care but it’s a wake up call to myself that I want them in my life. That I love them, my muse, my lover, my creative practice.

The Final 100 Days of Writing

My writing year hasn’t gone to plan.

At the back end of 2021, I put in for an Arts Council England, Developing Your Creative Practice grant. I didn’t get one but I made a promise to myself to follow the project plan I had to submit with this application for the first 6 months of 2022.

Things just didn’t go to plan from the very beginning of the year, with family illness and myself getting ill etc. I was knocked off course and never got back on during the year.

Until now. London Writer’s Salon ran a 100 Days of Writing Workshop last night. Then there was 100 days left of 2022. Where has the time gone?

I attended along with over 300 other people, working through the workbook to get recommitted to my Mixmoir. And it worked.

I’ve set myself some goals and targets for the final 100 days of writing for 2022. I figure, I can turn it out for others when I have to or need to, the recent BALTIC commission being a prime example. Well now I want to use this commitment to others and their demands to my own advantage and complete something that is important to me instead.

My goal is to complete the Mixmoir in the final 100 days of 2022. I figure it’s about 3 essays and about 15 poems I need to get it into a completed state by the end of 2022. And I might even place in the word ‘shitty’ first draft of the whole thing there too in order to ease the pressure off for perfection.

My guiding words for this process are fun and play and experimentation. I want to enjoy the process and I figure these values with help me a lot with this task.

I’ve been wanting to write this Mixmoir now for about 5 years and I think I’ve just been taking it and myself far too seriously. So I’m inviting in the fun and joy and excitement about the project again.

And I’ve got the last 100 days of 2022 to crack on with it. And these final days of the year are not empty. I’ve got plenty of outside commitments, family responsibilities and travel plans to keep me busy. But this might be the kick up the arse I need to just finish the damn thing.

This Mixmoir is an important step in establishing myself as an expert in the field of Black Nature. I want to use this text as the basis of the Earth Sea Live CIC business. As a speaker and facilitator and expedition leader. But it’s doing nothing to further the cause if it’s not finished or published yet.

So here I am biting the bullet, getting my head down and ploughing on through.

No hold up! I said fun and play and experimentation in order to enjoy the process.

So my shoulders are back, my head is facing the light and I’m skipping off into writing pleasureland for the final 100 days of 2022.

Let’s see what I create.

Fiery Autumn Love

“The woman who is willing to make that change must become pregnant with herself, at last. She must bear herself, her third self, her old age.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

I love Autumn. I always have but it’s just now, in the last few years, that I’ve really embraced this love. Confessed this love to anyone who would listen. Maybe it’s because I was born during this season. Maybe it’s the feeling of beginnings I have for the season with the return to school. Or maybe it’s the array of fiery colours.

There is something about the light during this season which touches my soul and brings me hope with a tinge of sorrow. Each year, during this season, we used to travel to Barcelona for a week or so. And there, the light at this time of year, is even more pronounced. The nights are drawing in and the temperatures are lowering but when you get that light, that golden, warm light during an Autumn day, well the world doesn’t seem such an awful place. You can see and appreciate its beauty.

Many moons ago, I created a writing retreat in the mountains surrounding Rome, Italy, taking inspiration from the changing seasons within the landscape. The landscape’s on the change during Autumn and I wanted to explore this through creative means with others hence the retreat amongst the olive groves and rich colourful berries. Again there was a certain kind of light that would progress down the mountain through the day and rest into the evening with a creamy glow.

There’s hope during this season but also a necessity of letting go. We see this with the falling leaves, the flowers drooping , turning brown and crumpling into dust at the touch of a hand. There’s the ending of growth, death even, to make room for the next stage of development and growth and life.

I’m entering ( or could I already be there?) the Autumn of my life. In all honesty, I have been for the last few years. Since the pandemic, if not before, when there has been a great shedding of things, people, relationships, and responsibilities. I refuse to carry on, carrying the burdens of the world on my shoulders, trying to do it all instead of acknowledging the changes and entering this next phase of my life with grace.

This is what I’ll be exploring during this Autumn season. The beauty and grace and changes of the season. Within nature but also within myself. During Autumn, there’s a letting go, a surrender to what is, letting go of what was and a tenderness as there’s a slow progression into the next phase.

I’m not turning my back on my ageing process but I’m probably grieving the loss of youth, attention and usefulness. But this is the time, in that golden light, to embrace my condition of changing woman. Greet the transformations that are happening inside and outside of me with love. Like my love for Autumn. Autumn is here. She is beautiful and fiery. And definitely not silent.

Rolling Off The Shelf

Gyllngvase Beach

I couldn’t resist a 10 second film when I went to the sea today.

She was roaring and powerful and intimidating.

There’s a shelf +riptide+reef. So no swimming just wave splashing and feet sinking. But it still felt good.

Rest and Repair and Rejuvenate

Nature has so much to teach us if we only allow ourselves to {BE} and listen. Within nature, energies come and go in cycles; with the seasons.

There’s a time for bursting as well as for waiting. There’s a time for gathering as well as for resting.

Darkness and solitude, within society, are portrayed as somethings to be afraid of and to be avoided. I see both darkness and solitude as vital and necessary protective qualities for my energies. Allowing them to wrap around me and hold me during times of low, depleted energies and passions means, I can retreat. Rest and repair and rejuvenate safely. And come back bursting with energies and ideas and love when I’m ready.

Within white supremacy culture, the aim of the game is to be always switched on, always available to go go go and produce produce produce. The more you produce the better and the quality of such is not so much of an issue.

We are taught to always be striving for perfection. Perfection does not exist as we are flawed human beings. We know this yet this doesn’t stop us from striving for it. It’s a vicious cycle of striving, missing the mark and burning out. And striving, missing the mark, burning out.

Today I rest. I allow the feelings of guilt to slip away. I replace the chastising, criticising voices which shout about being useless and a failure and a disgrace with words of compassion and grace and love.

I deserve to rest. I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve to seek solitude and darkness.

The rest of the world can wait until I have nourished my energies and rested enough to feel ready to be its warrior again.

Light is the Source of Life

The Earthcraft Oracle

I needed to see /feel/hear this card today. I’m stepping into the arena and I need a reminder of who I am, at the core.

This card is a reminder that the sun is light and light is the source of life. My sun, my light radiates from my heart.

My heart is my source and sometimes I forget this or when remembered feel this is a disadvantage rather than a power.

My light is my strength and my source and when I’m living my life from my source from my heart then I’m following my passions, speaking my truth and being my authentic self.

Of course I want to be this all ways and all days. But we do not live in an ideal world and there has to be a practice to maintain this status.

If I compare myself to others, or allow others to diminish me and steal my light, then there is a cloud over my heart and things are not right.

Today this card reminds me of who I am as I step into the arena and take up space on my own terms. I receive this message today with thanks and brandish it like a shield, like a force field around my light today.

I’ll let you know in a later post what is happening today to need this reminder.