This time a year ago we collapsed onto our sofa, and tentatively looked around at what was to be our new home. It was a bit of a come down from what we'd been used to: from a detached five bedroom house on the edge of a semi-rural village to a two bed flat above a Chinese takeway in town. Did I ponder where I'd be in a year's time? Probably not. I was pretty tired from a day of working out where what was left of our stuff was going to go, and somewhat emotional about what we'd just left behind. Putting on a jolly face can be exhausting. I knew we had no choice, and I was trying very hard to paint a picture of adventure and new starts, but honestly I was just sad. And lost.
Much has changed in the last twelve months, and much remains the same. As is always the case I suspect. We are still in the flat and because the last year has been so busy, nothing has changed here. I'm now starting to think about decorating projects and DIY that we could attend to. I have completed my last year at art school, and gained a degree. I have more confidence in my abilities as a designer, artist and photographer, but worry now about getting a job for me, as well as one for my husband. And of course I am no longer 'a student'. That part of my identity, that signifier for who I am and what I do has been stripped away even as the degree was conferred upon me.
In many ways, I feel...reduced. My routine of waking at 5am to read/research/write until it was time to wake the children for school has gone. Their summer holiday means they don't need to get up and not having a tutor breathing down my neck, wafting deadlines in my general direction has resulted in me going to bed later, drinking more and sometimes not waking until 10am. I am adrift and my days sometimes feel as if they could be drawn, performed, with just a few repeated gestures - shorthand for the markers that take me from day to day.
I need to make work. I need a focus and a reason to do more than exist. And frankly I need something to be angry about. I've spent so much time over the last year not being angry because I was afraid that if I gave vent to the fury it might consume me completely, and now I don't know if there's even a glimmer of anger in there any more. Have I supressed it to such an extent that it is buried and suffocated? I hope not. There is potentially more to be angry about now than ever before. How to find it? And more importantly, how to use it?
Two things struck me recently. First is that because of a knee injury, I'm not as mobile as I'd like to be, and I rely too much on painkillers to get through the day. And second is that it's just about impossible to go anywhere or buy anything without plastic. Well that seems like two things to get angry about right there. For the first, it is my intention to try and get moving again and to document the process as a means of motivating me to get off my arse. For the second, well, I can't claim ownership of the idea but as a start I've adopted a jam jar as a water bottle/coffee cup. It will go into my bag, complete with lid, and should reduce the number of times that I feel the need to buy a plastic bottle of water or buy a single use cup of coffee. It's just tiny, and it's not enough but you have to start somewhere.