In creating this blog initially I never really taught about the reasoning behind it, only the fact that I often see many show, mainly musicals, throughout the year. So why not document these journeys into the lives of people and creators of art, while enjoying myself right? Well, life kinda happened…and it fell to the way side.
Life got busy
So I just finished my final year of university studying a BA in Music and Economics. As I prepare to grace maynooth once again with my presence, this time in a hat and gown (which we have to rent….who knew…have we not paid enough?) The true magnitude of what is about to become official is sinking in. I’ll be the first in my immediate family to complete a degree, one of a handful of my cousin’s to have a degree and now join the somewhat prestigious company of my 3 Aunts & 1 Uncle to have such an accomplishment to their names.
This sound like I’m totally up my own you know what and believe me I was recently told this, but it’s not the degree or the fact that I can now put BA at the end of my name. Or that my CV now has more black type compared to 3 years ago. It’s the fact that I set out a goal in my life almost 4 years ago and on September 6th 2017 that goal will come to fruition. I’ve been told it’s ‘only a degree’ or ‘it’s not worth anything anymore’. It’s not just a degree it’s been the majority of my life for the past 2 if not 3 years, my blood sweat and tears has gone into this ‘piece of paper’ ( note this is not a metaphor, I did cry, I did sweat a lot especially when printers don’t print and yes I bled….maybe once). This is the single biggest accomplishment of my life and I’m so proud of myself.
Just to blow a little more smoke, sure why not….bring in the dry ice people!!! I did this all while maintaining my role as an Events coordinator on the MU musical society committee. Having a part- time job working with my dad and possibly the best year of a social life I’ve ever had so far. I’ve met some of my dearest friends in my life, performed a leading role in a musical at the Helix with Westside Performing Arts. Oh and for the last year I was a member of the senior Petra dance company also with Westside, a 2.5hrs intense dance class every Thursday and the odd weekend. Granted I did miss some, but a mere handful.
So you see you sometimes you CAN have it all, balance is the phrase I like to use…. Although this blog did suffer.
As with anything, mental health is so important. In my experience it’s much like the weather, the Irish weather. Your expecting a hot 21-degree August and you get a full, wet and windy October and sometimes the reverse. From what I’ve learned through meeting and talking with others is that everyone suffers some kind of hardship in there life, it’s not always visible. But everyone at one point in there life will suffer from a blip without WiFi or a bump in the road. That’s why they invented Botox for the 50 plus and why middle aged men buy motor bikes they ride for 5 days of the year and it gathers dust for the other 360.
So I’m proud to say, yeah someday’s were hard, someday’s were unbearable but someday’s were filled with joy, hope and great people and in the end that outweighed all the rain, hail and snow. As an Irish person talking about such issues can be hard as we move into a new era of liberation of our people, we didn’t gain true independence on the day of that infamous declaration, the grips of dark and dangerous institutions still ruled mind and vision. Now 100 years on we have become a more liberal and understanding society, sex out of wedlock, marriage of two people in love who happen to be queer…I hasten to use the word gay because people picture camp, white males and most likely controversially, not LQBTQ+ because it can often leave many out. Queer Britain, on BBC3 is available worldwide on YouTube and is heart warmingly presented by the wonderful @RiyadhK Go watch it! (Queer Britain ~ Episode 1, YouTube). Now the most prominent fight, the for the full and equal treatment of both sexes. Why in such a liberal capitalist society, do we still judge and number and categories and bully and hate and kill and destroy.
What makes life and the human race so special is that yes we are different, individual and an incomparably unique mix of DNA, carbon, water, personality, sound and interests but we are also very much the same. We all feel pain, we all have and will experience loss, we all eat, laugh, cry and breathe the same air. We were born and we shall die. What makes us so special is our ability to be different and the same in one moment of time. The true weight of what Ellen DeGeneres always says at the end of her show, possibly the most generous despite the latter of her name, ‘be kind to one another’ rings through…. in my experience be kind to yourself first and be kind to one another too.
Ruby Wax (@Rubywax) has done excellent work in the area of mental health, Having studied psychotherapy and later achieved a master’s in Mindfulness based cognitive therapy from Oxford University. She has released two books which I’d highly recommend as they provide not only a scientific insight into how our brains work. She also provides practical skills and techniques for dealing and coping with many things such as stress, anxiety and depression among others. Her books are ‘Sane New world’ and ‘A mindfulness guide for the frazzled’. She brings here highly acclaimed tour on the subject of her research and her story to Ireland in October 2017, further details on her website, here.
A Lack of audience = unsuccessful
We live in a digital world, people are always connected and information, reliable or otherwise, is a click or tap away. However, it’s incredibly hard to get exposure for what your doing/creating these days without the backing of a ‘team’ or a company behind you. Apparently, endorsement is everything. Personal or commercially that kind of exposure is hard to come by. We live in an age where popularity certifies whether something is of value. This is often true but it would be wrong to say just because you’re not ‘trending’ or ‘reaching’ large audiences that your work is not credible or of value.
I now see this blog more like a personal diary or a memory bank. Just like those growing theater programmes that now grace my grandparent’s former chest of drawers. It serves as a memory of what happened and how my previous self thought in past moments compared to here and now. I intend to carry on despite the popularity or reception, in an effort to create something I’m proud of and can use as a tool to remember. Resilience is everything.
Follow my journey on Instagram @althefiver and/orTwitter @althefiver – Thanks reasd getting this far!