I don’t very much like failing at something and I don’t like feeling that I’ve let people down, so it’s not felt comfortable for me that I didn’t get even halfway through my ‘What would She say?’ Lent project. I loved the idea of reflecting on what the child and crone figures within me might have to say, but I should have realised that this Lent was not a good time to commit to something that would take quite a lot of time to complete.
The perfectionist side of me feels I should somehow ‘catch up’ with the project as I did continue to take photos throughout Lent, but I’m actually going to just show two pictures which sum up what I think the child and crone might say to me at the moment.
The last photo I took thinking about the child was of this silver birch tree. I was drawn to it because of the hole in its bark. As a little girl I loved going outside and finding special hidey-holes for things. I adored trees with deep crevices, drystone walls with nooks and crannies you could tuck little notes in, or finding old nests and other natural containers to squirrel something away in. I think what excited me most was the idea of hiding a message that I could come back to when I was much older, or that perhaps might even be discovered years and years later by someone else. I realise that I’m still like this now: on this blog for example, I love writing little messages to the world, but I feel diffident about other people actually reading them. In some ways I would feel more comfortable handwriting them and screwing the paper up and tucking it in the silver birch tree where no-one else is likely ever to find it!
The other photo (which I’ve called Wise Women) was taken at an exhibition of the work of the wonderful Grayson Perry at the National Portrait Gallery. Oh – I love Grayson Perry! I also adore these wonderful, curvy, voluptuous women and hope my inner crone might turn out to be something like them. What would they say to me about my miserable failure to complete my Lent project? I expect they’d just laugh raucously and tell me to eat another large piece of chocolate cake.
So my message to myself from the crone is to lighten up a bit, look after myself and not worry too much about always trying to do everything. Time to just start again from where I am.
My ‘Fertile void’ year has continued to be interesting. My work situation is still pretty unsettled and it currently looks like I will be made redundant from half of my job in September. I veer between seeing this as a wonderful opportunity and a scary catastrophe. On a good day it is the push I need to focus on the creative projects which make me feel fully alive, but on a bad day I fear not finding a positive way forward and worry that I won’t have the energy to make something new happen. Most of the time now though, I feel ready to move into something new.
I have loads of exciting ideas and plans I hope to share with you over the next few weeks and months. Thank you all for hanging on in there with me and a very belated happy Easter to you all.