Archive for June, 2013

  • Life Things

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    The time seems to have elapsed again, and we are now in the last hours of June. That means that half of 2013 has already disappeared; gone; poof! I often think about the passing of time, and that’s been especially true for me this last year, but I wonder if that’s perhaps because my life seems to have been marked by so many colossal events over that time. When I cast my mind back to what I was doing this time last year, I almost don’t recognize myself. At the time, I was deeply unhappy in my professional life. While I loved the essence of what I did – working with people, helping them to achieve, and helping them to rebuild their lives – I was disenchanted by the lack of job security, seeing dear colleagues forced into redundancy, retirement, and redeployment situations, and the general disarray of the probation service. Of course, I had never intended to follow a career in probation work: it was never my ‘calling’, but it wasn’t even that. Very gradually, I felt as though my spirit had been ground down, until there was little of me left. Some mornings I woke up feeling sick, dreading the fact that I had targets to meet and professionals to schmooze, and I would fill my calendar with an array of weird and wonderful activities so that I would always have something to look forward to; ‘If I can just make it to the weekend, it will all be okay,’ I would often think to myself. And when I found out that I had been offered a scholarship on a PhD programme, it was as if all my prayers had been answered. But once I knew, I was just itching to start, and began to resent my job more and more.

    Yes, the me of one year ago is bizarrely different to the me of now. These days, I struggle to factor in extra-curricular fun time, and when I do, I feel burnt out, as I have to summon up the energy to dive into my research with fresh eyes and a clear mind on a Monday morning. I struggle to make time to see my family – the people that are most dear to me – and this has been an especially hard readjustment given that I often saw them, if not once, sometimes twice a week last year. I only hope they realize that it’s not because I don’t love them very much. Of course I’m well aware that a work-life balance is important, and I have been struggling to negotiate with this very conundrum over the past few months, but I also know that we can sometimes overload ourselves, and it often takes time to realize that.

    Just over a year ago, I had started going to a lindy hop class on a Tuesday evening. I met some wonderful, happy-go-lucky people, and meeting with them filled me with such joy. I would rush home from work to make a quick dinner before driving out through the country to the Five Wents memorial hall in Hextable, and after the class, I would arrive home again and show Julian all the new steps I had learnt. I have been thinking a lot about lindy hop lately. It’s been nearly nine months since I went to a class, and I really miss it. But it’s no longer the thing that I need to get me through the week. I want to start lindy hopping again (and, preferably, with Julian) but the time will come for that. In the meantime, I have a whole host of interesting things to keep me occupied.

    Weekends should be sacred, used purely for rest and ‘decompression’, although they rarely ever are. This weekend, however, I think I have managed my time pretty well. Yesterday, I got up, worked a little, ran, and then spent the afternoon with family, and the evening with friends. This evening I have played 12-bar blues, and I have blogged. Finally, I watched the sun set on my balcony. New challenges await tomorrow, and I will take them as they come.

     

  • Time, Space, Here and Now

    This blog began several weeks ago when I went to see the latest Star Trek film, Into Darkness. I was pretty riled at the time: riled that I had spent my Saturday evening watching an action movie that was so far removed from the sci-fi fantasy dramas that I had grown up on, and riled because it was so disappointingly sexist. A lot of time has passed – I’m still riled, of course, but so many things have happened since that moment that have affected me in unspeakable ways. In a sense, I suppose that this is why I’ve been absent for such a long while, and I have to apologise to my dedicated followers for over a month of nothing. I’ve been busy, but that’s no excuse; that’s just the excuse that I make for myself.

    Knowing where to begin after such a long absence is hard. To surmise, I have been testing my own limits; I have been mining deeper into the recesses of my own mind (testing those hypotheses) and, in the process, becoming more increasingly assured of the importance of the project(s) that I’m undertaking. In a sense, this is good news: affirmation that we are doing the ‘right thing’ is always going to fill us with a little bit of warmth, is it not? On the other hand, it is also a sad reminder of the fact that pervasive scars have been created by prevailing imperial sensibilities. It’s strange that it’s only been a few weeks since a horrific incident a few miles down the road from where I live exploded across the world media. I even heard about it on French Radio. The EDL went on a violent rampage: taking to the streets, abusing Muslims, torching mosques. My friend could see blue lights and helicopters from her balcony. People became disgusting. Or, rather, the things that were already disgusting just became a little more visible. Either way, I was sad that, over and above every other emotion that I experienced over that course of time, I wasn’t surprised.

    I should have had something to say, perhaps? I spoke with friends and family, I commented on other blog posts, tweets, and articles, and I ruminated. I am continuing to think, because I know that the scars won’t suddenly be healed overnight. Writing helps me, but it doesn’t help the problem. The problem is big, and the solution needs to be greater than big. I’m continuing to work on that one, and continuing to develop progressive ideas. I won’t be mute again though. Silence is not what I do; silence is what I combat. This is me, right here, back with a BOOM. It isn’t an essay, but I’m here to let you know that the fight is still very much on.

     

    ‘Better to die on your feet than live forever on your knees.’