Just what I needed

I decided to get in contact with the University for the Creative Arts, as I wanted to find out more about their outreach provisions. My new job involves working with outreach teams, and as University for the Creative Arts is spread out over Kent and Surrey I don’t often get to meet my contacts in the university. I decided to introduce myself to the gateway team at Canterbury (as I often work in the building next door to their campus).

So, I ended up meeting a colleague who is the designated contact for the care experienced students at the university. If I’m honest, I was also interested in seeing the facilities because I have always had a fondness for art schools. When I turned up at the university they asked if I’d like a tour and I jumped at the chance! I asked questions about the outreach provision and was hugely impressed with the knowledge of the staff. I mentioned in passing that I wanted to be an art student in my youth but I was sidetracked into work…

… then I felt the sadness I’d been holding back push to the front.

We spoke of my experience and ambitions, particularly surrounding creative education. It felt good to be in a place where I feel inspired, and talk with people about learning. It reminded me that hanging out with like-minded folk and spending time outside an office is good for me.

No you’re crying because you miss your classmates and their end of year show is making you question your move away from arts

I really miss Brighton so much at the moment. I can’t even visit because it is too heart-wrenching.

Personal branding

Today TotallyKira blogged about personal brands. The idea of personal branding makes me cringe a little because it feels like the commodification of the self/identity; and just generally icky. I have been thinking about my online presence and I realise it’s such a difficult place for me because it’s where my work and personal life cross. It has also make me realise that half of my brain is in the past because I have such a drive to segment my life so I am not giving away my labour (eg. you like my words – you pay me for them) but the other half of my brain acknowledges the opportunities engaging content can create!

This internal tug-of-war is probably why writing stopped being fun for me. That, and I got a pretty good job that has a certain level of gravitas, and I’m not sure what my brand is anymore (well, my personal brand, anyway). When I undertake a project I think about purpose, resources and consequences. It feels hard to work on a personal brand when I feel tired and directionless. I don’t even know what I want to achieve nowadays.

I share my thoughts because I believe open discussion is important. But I am afraid of the repurcussions of sharing. Like, what if someone reads my words and see I struggle with my mental health, or adoptee experiences, or that my success grew from being a sex blogger? But then… I realise the fear of being found out is hypocritical. And also pointless – hello!? I’m successful because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone(s) and that gave me the opportunities which led me here.

And then I think about how everything I write is a huge contradiction. And I want to address that as it seems important (a side effect of imposter syndrome maybe? A prelude to burn-out?)

The cycle continues.