Since my last update I have been invited to interview for a sessional art lecturer role, been shortlisted for another pathways to FE scheme and changed my name. I go on annual leave for the first third of November. I have also found my dream wedding dress. My mind is all over the place. I need a rest.

Caravans and Creativity

The last ten days have seen research into buying a caravan, coming second in a poetry competition and winning a voucher (which I used to order the Verso Radical Diary) and a visit to the Anarchist Festival. I’ve also contributed poetry that will be published in Readable zine. And my cough has improved. I let my old colleagues in the alumni team know how I am getting on. I’ve begun a new work project involving ways to enhance my university’s applicant support. And I have created a writing portfolio on my university’s intranet to collect all my works together. I bought a handful of zines from one of my favourite distros; Vampire Sushi. I’ve been trying to get over a flu that’s hung on for why too long. It’s a raspy lingerer which gets worse at night and/or in cold conditions (winter will be fun!). I’ve slept a lot. I’ve applied for a part-time art lecturer job.

Feral Youth by Nina Dunne

Often cited as the best days of our lives
I despised
The feelings of no control
Lack of respect
“What do they know?”

I know you left a hole
I cannot fill in
While I’m searching for home
Or ways to own my voice/body/soul

If again I hear
How I’m wet behind the ears
My calmness will disappear
Tense fist
Head reared

I remember the first September
When I entered a classroom
My pleas to be heard
Over behaviours absurd
Went unacknowledged

So I became silent
And watched
I fell behind
But I didn’t mind

I learnt at home
Much later
And alone

I decorated my own world
The walls greasy with words
I built armour
And tamed wolves
By myself

I am the master of my health

First published at blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/studentnews/world-mental-health-day-competition-winners

I am struggling

It’s world mental health day and I’m just going to come out and say it; I’m struggling. I’ve been struggling for a couple of months and I have been pushing these thoughts to the back of my mind. I figured they’d pass and I am sure they will. But they’ve taken a lot out of me. And circumstances have impacted that.

Yesterday I returned home after a day at work to find my housemate standing in the hallway. She had found my landlady’s dead body an hour before. And, you know, it’s hard to talk about these things because you believe you should be mourning a loss of life but I feel even more insecure in my home. The world is moving forward and I feel left behind. I believe I should be feeling a certain way, but I am not.

Today I had planned to go to a UCA open day, a poetry event where a piece I had written was shortlisted in a competition and a journal workshop. Today I had planned to work on my wellbeing because my immune system had been taking a beating this month. Today I had made an active promise to deal with things I had been putting to one side…

… But I stayed at home, coughing in bed and trying not to think about anything.

I have intermitted on my counselling course. My tutor left and the course had to be rescheduled to a day I cannot attend. I put in a request to transfer to a January/February start and I am just waiting to hear back. I miss the course; I miss feeling useful and inspired.

I’ve dealt with blows like this before. I am used to upheaval. But lately it’s chipping away at me and I don’t think there’ll be much left to bounce back.