Cara Louise Jones
Filled With Panic Like A Boot On My Chest
Is there anything more anxiety inducing than the first blog post? That questionable moment where there is an invisible block between you and getting started, a space that is dense but unseen? That is where I have been, and perhaps not only the past month before writing, but longer than that.
I have been avoiding this, filling my time with all other distractions and blaming life for getting in the way, "This week is too busy" or "I'm stressed enough as it is" and adding writing seemed like a chore, a process filled with dread, and starting was like ripping off the plaster...boy, I'm glad I did as that scar has healed nicely as I love writing!
Firstly let me apologise to you for this next paragraph, as whilst the nation is ditching masks, leaving their bottles of overpriced hand sanitiser at home and running quickly away from the memories of social distancing and into the hugs of long lost acquaintances, I have been considering my next steps as an artist, educator and therapist. To find a way forward, I've needed to look back and see how far I've come.
See, I came into the pandemic a bit 'broken'. A week before Boris appeared on the TV at 8pm that night addressing the nation of the collapse of a normative social routines, I had been signed off from work because my mind and body had stopped 'working'. While the country was panic buying toilet rolls, stockpiling painkillers, and looking at each stranger as a potential carrier of the contemporary plague, I could only articulate through art and all words had left my mouth and I was filled with huge, heavy guilt of NOT WORKING.
Working has a double meaning:
a) To be a functioning, contributing member of society, paying taxes, pushing through with a stiff upper lip regardless of how you feel; and
b) All parts moving as they should.
I was neither, and the guilt of being signed off from work as I was not working was in-fact lifted as soon as we were all weighted down with a lockdown. Suddenly, everyone was home and I could process my illness at my pace without the feeling of failing at adulthood, as neighbours too slouched around in 'lounge wear' and binged every single series on Netflix, scrolling through their social media accounts looking for every possible way to disconnect from the cultural anxiety surrounding us. Funny eh? Obviously not for many, whom have lost their family and friends, experienced trauma and violence from unhealthy locked-in relationships, lost money, developed mental health issues from societies breakdown...my heart is with you, but honestly, I am grateful for what the pandemic gave me. Time to process.
Go With The Flow
I have been a busy woman. I have ran businesses, set up community projects, worked in the health and wellbeing sector, a single mother of two and my hamster wheel came to a stop. I knew I did not want to return to that, so I took the opportunity to return to University instead and gain a Masters of Arts, broadening my knowledge and experience and underpinning theories within my framework with new questions, such as who am I and where am I going? That experience is worth writing about, but not today for this is a post about inertia and a catalyst for future stories to be told, but I did discover a love for arts as protest, and arts for education as well as re-establishing my practice using arts for wellbeing. This is where the wheels are now turning as I've given them some good maintenance and cleared the blockages, again another post for another day.
An empty kettle never boils, and this has meaning for another transition in my life in two ways. If we don't start, we will never finish and if we don't fill it, there is nothing there so as I prepare to set sail once more, I do so trusting the process and allowing the love, healing and creativity to flow through me, now that everything is working a little better.
I am ready to join in and go with the flow once more.