mmmmmmm its pissing it down and I am up far too early
6.05am ( at the table in the front room)
I have been awake since far too early. I am fed up. I fell asleep after completing reading the Moomins book to Naoise. He asked for more super, I ignored him and for once this strategy worked, he fell asleep without lots of trips up and down the stairs with milk, milk, milk, bread, cereal and bananas. Naoise often claims desperate hunger late in the night.
I woke up at five. I wondered if I needed to record some of my research about mental health and breastfeeding. I have been cramming up about breast feeding its benefits and related issues for days now. Its a shame that the knowledge won’t be used. I have ideas of cause for art projects. There is always an idea up my sleeve.
I bought the Jenny Lewis book this week, not that I have had any time to look at it. Its her images of mothers in Hackney with their one day old babies.
I’ve been thinking of the lack of women that you see breastfeeding in public. Is this just down to our rainy climate and short days or is it that the perception that society does not like to see babies being fede from the breast in public. This is a misconception, in fact most surveys suggest quite the opposite, the Nigel Farage’s of the world are few and far between.
The lactating woman is a powerful image. Omnipotent. Women’s bodies are amazing. Mothers milk is literally a life giving force. This sounds crass, uncritical, unthinking. I am too tired really to write anything particularly poetic or succinct. I am exhausted from the all day interview for the temporary job.
I wonder if there is a PhD in all of this. I would love to do some work around mental health and parenting. What would be the focus? It needs to be more specific. Post Natal Depression and the Post Partum Body. Drawing the post partum body? Drawing the transition to motherhood. Drawing the slip into new motherhood. Drawing the sludge and the slip and the sleep deprivation. Drawing out the idealisation drawing the reality.
I spent hours and hours and days and days on my own. In the flat. Walking the streets between the Angel Islington and the Caledonian Road. Pushing a circle in the pram between park, supermarket and salvation army charity shop. Staring into space. Attending playgroups. I was so very lonely. I couldn’t afford friends. I was stuck in most of the time. Nothing just me and Syd. I supposed I was happy. I supposed that this was what mothering was. Me and baby, our own little universe.
I mashed up courgettes and bananas and stirred porridge. I cleaned up strings of spaghetti from the kitchen floor.
Beep, Beep, Beep.
I went to the childrens library on the corner of my street. I loved to look at all the books in foreign languages, urdu, japanese, chinese, french, german, spanish. Occasionally they sold off the bilingual books for cheap, I still have the copies.
All the while as Syd grew, I knew that an eviction notice was eminent. It cast a shadow over every thing This home was temporary, our future was unsure. There was chewing gum stuck to the pavements, young mothers supping milkshakes in the Dallas Burger Bar, a Bun in the Oven Bakery. There were bewildered prisoners out on release who couldn’t work out how to buy travel cards. There was dust and grim. Black bogies.
Behind Kings Cross station there was a wildlife park I used to walk to. It had a visitors centre with photographs of pond dippers and pictures of flowers and descriptions of the local environment pinned to green felt covered boards.
There were terrapins lurking in the nearby Regents Canal that would eat the ducklings in the spring time.
There was an overwhelming sadness.
I still haven’t worked out how to deal with the financial responsibilities that come with having children. I feel locked out of society. I keep knocking at the door but it keeps slamming shut in my face. I do feel very dejected. I need to go back to the drawing board. I literally need to go back to the drawing board.
I look in, but I want to be in the centre not on the edges and the outskirts. I had wanted to utilise my knowledge, my life experiences. I can do so much. So much. I just don’t fit. Is that it? I am not normal enough? I think too much? I am not straight forward? Is it something that I have done rather something that I have not done? This feels like a sentence. How hard does it have to be? Have I made it difficult for myself? Where am I going wrong? Am I going wrong? What do you see?
I have run away from art, but I keep running back again. There is only this. There is only being a mother and being an artist there is no other.
I want to feel like an adult not like a child. I want to walk in the adult world. I want to earn.
Do I return to listening to children reading in the school? Where does listening lead? Where does being empathetic, supportive and creative lead?
I have run away from academia, but it keeps calling to me. I want to be back there. Back in the learning space. Surrounded by books and students and people wanting me. I have been advised to shed my cloak, to kiss it goodbye. I have been told that this time is gone, but I am still holding and holding on. I should never have left. I did not leave, it left me.
To do: look at PhD’s and Funding for an Arts and Health Project, Apply for PhD and apply for funding.
Its pissing it down with rain. Now its sunny. Then it will piss it down with rain again. Naoise has gone to school in his pyjamas for Children in Need. Its hardly pyjama weather. He wouldn’t listen to my advice to wear a vest, put his dry trainers on….He ignores good advice. I don’t fight him, whats the point, he will learn the hard way. He did think going in the car was a good plan after he realised how wet it was for scootering.
I am planning to go to the studio. I am sick of not being able to earn money. I will make the art anyway regardless of money. What am I meant to do, stew in my own failure. I will make something of the disappointment and the sadness. All these emotions will become art work.
I wonder how many other women are like myself, struggling to get back into the paid work place after working at home for years unpaid?
How much voluntary work, training and education do I need to acquire, to convince others of my worth. If you are reading this I am more than capable of doing a job. I am not without skill. I am not without sense. I can follow rules and regulations and procedures and policies and I know the limits and extent of my knowledge I know when to ask for help and I can work independently and as part of a team. Thats all you wanted isn’t it, or was there something else too, ahhhh yes weird that I can’t exactly fill all your criteria all your tick boxes, all your wants. I am just me and me is not enough.
Your loss, not mine.
I must stop stewing in these thoughts and eating hazel nut after hazel nut. I hear the scaffolders erecting the structure around my friends house, I marvel at the blue in the sky after all the torrential rain. There is always change. I am here living, breathing, determined, still making something creative out of a difficult situation. Always learning and acquiring more knowledge for the sake of knowledge if nothing else.