This evening I listened to a podcast about working out as the Americans call it, whilst working out. I was in the shed rowing. I was thinking about the usefulness of physical movement as a direct panacea to negative thoughts. I say panacea as the action of engaging in a physical action prevents you from full immersion into negative thoughts- its simply not possible to do both at the same time – certainly it prevents me anyway. I had headed straight out to row for 2 reasons:
I hadn’t trained for a week and literally felt like my flesh was melting in a slow gravitational downward pull off my bones. I had convinced myself that everything was wobbling more and getting softer, in one week. Now, I have a morbid dread of having no muscle tone, an absolute fear of losing my strength. I already have lost significant strength due to not training to the level I used to. I used to train 5 days a week, (5 years ago approximately) I’d do heavy strength training, and it, the training and the training schedule, would dominated my week and my head. If I hadn’t trained and gotten in the required sessions that week- that was what shaped my moods. Not the work I had done and the time I had spent, the work I had not gotten done.
But I swopped the high level athlete style kettlebell endurance and strength training for art, as I could not do both. I did not have the time in my day. Nor in my head. And consequentially training became something to do to stay strong and fit so I could continue to do the things I wanted to do and look the way I wanted to look I am not afraid to say. Now I cling on doggedly to what strength I have left as it’s so enmeshed in my identity and also such a continuously useful tool for alleviating stress and worry and allowing me to feel balanced and capable, and on a purely practical level helps me lift and move my kid who needs help mobilising and transferring from chair to walker, walker to bed etc. Also it’s so interesting on an objective level, the experience of training. How it feels to exercise and how the time passes.
The second reason I had headed out to row ( I’d been planning to do it anyway but had been delayed for a million usual reasons) was i’d opened my computer, checked the RHA website to learn I was once again unsuccessful with my submission. Thats 3 rejections in 3 years, 3 in a row, go me. GO ME. You know, this year I felt like I was waving a red flag as I even submitted, saying, ‘I know, I actually pretty much am certain you wont pick this but I love it, and I know its brilliant and moving and it represents a particular time in my life and Im really proud of this work and others loved it so FUCK YOU. I’m submitting it anyway and its your loss if you don’t like it’
I don’t know why I submitted it. As in why I bothered I mean. I mean, what if i’d opened the website and I had been successful, as in gotten to the next round. What would that mean? What would that represent? Well, I don’t know as I’ve never been successful in these type of arenas, so why am placing my energy into such a space? I actually feel closure now. Peace. I wont be submitting again. There’s no need. Because, I will use that energy into creating something that will give me a result. And I don’t mean that I’m bitter. I just don’t need to seek the validation anymore. I don’t have time to WORRY about validation, I need to use that time to make work. I know I can make arresting thoughtful work. Well made, well painted, well drawn work. its of great importance to me that this is what my work is. So that’s ok. Plus, significantly, this piece of work was already validated, seen in a space I respect, and appreciated by people I admire. And written about also by people who know about art. And thats important.
What I would like to be successful in is the Arts Council Award I applied for. That would make a profound difference and help me a lot. But I need to steel myself for failure and then the practicalities of how to get the work made anyway.
Lastly, as its 23.35pm, and I intend to go and chill shortly, I am still thinking about Tide Map. I haven’t forgotten the smell of the beach, the wind, the sounds, the feel of the sand and the jellyfish and the aches in my body. My feet still feel tender in the mornings, it’s like a little whisper of a reminder to me. The performance made me feel old and alive at the same time. I fully reject ageing gracefully. Fuck that. But I was amazed, really taken aback by how physically done in I was by making the performance. It took me a few days to get right again.
But with the head crowding thought of making Tide Map, making it, kids finishing school that day, house being pulled apart by builders as we reconstruct and add our extension, starting the TAP course the next day and legging it to the Burren that afternoon to facilitate workshops as offered and agreed to, then driving to dublin that evening, and the next week of TAP and keeping kids intact and fulfilled and being with my parents and negotiating family, it was a lot. I admit I bit off a lot. I am consumed with GETTING THE BEST OUT OF LIFE and not wasting a second. Is that good? It doesn’t matter I’m doing it. Anyway right now I’m finishing this and having a glass of wine. Goodnight readers :) :)