The ‘Death’ Word

Today I’m going to be talking about something a little bit different. Something that really needs to be talked about more, and that’s coming to terms with death. I’m full of laughs sometimes but this is more serious.

The thought came to me as I was laying on the floor in movement class in an almost meditative state. As we moved across the space, my mind began to feel more and more preoccupied. I began to think of all the changes that would happen whilst at drama school and the people back home. Then I thought of my aunt.

You see, my aunt was diagnosed last year with a malignant brain tumour. Hearing that news was truly breaking, the thought of losing someone so amazing so young was incomprehensible. I remember sitting in the car basically feeling nothing and later crying it out alone.

Coming to terms with it has not been easy, but when given a time of a year and a half you don’t have time to mourn. That comes after. Death is scary, it used to keep me up at night with anxiety and the fear of the unknown, but death’s certain. We fear the loss and the after, and forget the now. My aunt is still alive and beautiful, exploring the world and living life, and after she is gone her daughters will have so much to remember her by.

You have every right to be distraught over the loss of a loved one, but know you aren’t alone and that they’ll always be alive in your memory.

Take care everyone,

Gabby

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. – Khalil Gibran

Writer’s Block and Lack of Motivation

As some of you may have noticed I haven’t written in a few days, that has been due to the fact this weekend I came home. Having a dishwasher and sunlight going into a house. All the luxuries.

As of late my mind seems to have lost creativity, even writing this has become a problem. I planned on writing about safe spaces and eating chocolate, but alas I sit on my bed with a beer watching Life of Brian alone. And let me tell you it feels great. (Alms for an Ex Leper!)

I try to make points out of my mistakes and success, but in all honesty right now I need a good nights sleep. Sometimes that’s all we need in the end along with cuddles from a dog you haven’t seen in three weeks.

Sorry this isn’t that entertaining, will return with something better in time.

Gabby

A new tapestry I got, love it so much

The Relapse

(Trigger warning)

I haven’t written in a few days, which is strange even though this blog was never intended to become daily. The truth is my ‘off day’ has started to become an ‘off week’. It’s not the work but the living in university accommodation, where I’m lucky even to get 6 hours sleep before a 5 hour day of workshops. For me and many people, their rooms and houses are safe spaces where they can calm down from the day and feel secure. When you live in shared accommodation, that can be taken under your feet.

Due to this fact, I relapsed today. It’s something I’m ashamed of but unafraid to admit (Ironic it happened on mental health awareness day). Falling out with flatmates on simple stuff like keeping the kitchen clean and then overhearing comments about you from others can have that effect.

But you know what? Uni isn’t about the awful people, it’s about what you learn, the kind people you find. Today I overran the negative from a fantastic day of workshops and movement, from the other flatmates I have who are so great to me. Today was another setback yes, but I will not let anyone get in the way of completing my course that I worked so hard to get. They can just bloody try.

Hopefully better news coming soon,

Gabby

Here is my dog in the sun, it has no relevance to the text but he makes me happy.

Having An Off Day

I never intended this to become a daily blog, and on some days I may not update for days at a time. Today I wasn’t going to update because I didn’t want to show the more negative side of me, but then this blog wouldn’t be honest and I really want honesty.

Sometimes we have off days, where nothing has provoked us but the world seems dim. Yesterday I had a great talk with my boyfriend and yet I still felt bad waking up. Sometimes depression just takes your whole day and makes everything seem dismal and dark. My main concern has been my lack of close friends here, my mind has made this image that everyone here except me has best friends that always hang out. It’s the most isolating feeling, one that is hard to get out of right now.

To try and help, I went for a walk in the park and sat down just taking in the views. Walking by myself has the effect of getting my feelings out, even if it means returning to my room to have a cry in the bathroom (absolute peak of a day). But it worked, I feel less lonely than before. I still don’t feel great but I don’t expect that. Having depression means that you have those days where everything seems wrong, and having any lift in mood for me is a success.

In the end the main person who is going to make you feel better is yourself, you have to want to get better to be better, look after yourself and accept the feelings you have. Feeling sad is pure sh*t, but don’t beat yourself up. Know that your feelings are not forever and tell someone that you aren’t feeling too great. Having a good support network is key, especially any of those interested in the theatre path. For now I might play some music and read, maybe speak to a living person, whatever feels right for me.

Sorry if this was not helpful, but this is me at my most vulnerable without a façade and I’m no longer afraid to hide it from people.

Keep yourselves safe,

Gabby

Picture of Rose Bruford from the Park, looks so secretive from here.

Holding Yourself Back

This is the proper weekend of the course, my calves feel as if they are on fire and my back is solid. Yesterday’s workshop really took it’s toll on, me not only physically but mentally. An ETA graduate called Andrew came in for the 3 hour workshop and the first thing he did was get changed in front of all of us which was surprising to say the least. What followed was three hours of intense games, running and breaking down each person’s monologue through getting them to shout angrily until they felt something. The feeling of being pushed like in the room was hard to manage at first, being so exposed in a group of 20 was daunting.

There were moments I thought about just stopping, where I had reached a limit I couldn’t pass, but when I stopped thinking about stopping, it didn’t become a problem. Andrew made a comment to me saying ‘You really continued even though you showed signs of pain, but right at the end you should of held your ground, you quit.’ If he said that out of the studio my anxious mind would not be able to handle that, but there I just nodded my head, He was right, I tried really hard but in the end I did give in. And there is nothing wrong with that. Quitting or failing does not mean you have given up, it means you’re human. It only means giving up if you don’t stand up again and try.

That workshop made me determined, it changed my thinking of failure and testing the limits. I was physically broken at the end, but ready again for another one. My anxiety always made me afraid of failing, already that fear is being contested. One thing that won’t change is having some quality me time and my lean towards the more macabre. Already my room is becoming decorated in some excellent pound land Halloween stock, now this room is starting to feel like home. I still await my tree tapestry (real student feels) but if anyone would like to donate some old hippie tapestries, my wall is still very bare.

As I write to you, the close sounds of heavy bass play echo from my flat (creative lighting students and their tech) . Tonight may be a good one.

Stay hydrated ya’ll,

Gabby

“Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do.”  – Marina Abramović

Enlight151[1297].JPGHaven’t named this skull yet, what should be the name? Also wish I could use real candles in this room 😦

Staying Motivated

I’ve almost completed my first week of my course and it has been a great one. Yesterday was spent talking on how to write our journals and then a movement class where we pretended to be rivers to music. You can’t make this up!

A couple of things have been getting in the way as of late however, one being tiredness. It seems no matter how much sleep I get I still can’t feel awake at 7 in the morning, which is a struggle when I take 3 hour workshops in the morning and assignments after that. For this I made a balanced structure: Complete the workshop, take a two hour nap, do some work, eat, finish the work and then video games. Tiredness is the killer of happiness, but how can I do the work effectively if I’m tired? You can’t, the aim is to know your working limit and work around it. Never do an assignment if your body says no, let yourself take a break.

Another problem has been pain in my back which someone described as ‘it looks like you have grown another bone in your shoulders’. I have always had a very tense back which worsens during stress. For now I may see a physiotherapist, but also have started doing yoga exercises for my back everyday. Just working on an tense area ten minutes a day does more than you think, I like to pretend I’m a little beetle on my back swinging back and forth. Makes it more fun.

Whilst uni has been a very stressful time, it’s the little things that get me through such as decorating my room, messaging people I miss, drawing, getting to know flatmates etc. On Saturday I may take a walk around the park, it’s a beautiful place and I might have something more interesting to talk about!!

Tomorrow is a long day, so wish me luck!!!

Have a great evening,

Gabby

A drawing I did a week ago, may draw something in the park perhaps?

Keeping Organised At Uni

Second day into the drama school experience and it seems my body is starting to take a toll. 3 hour sessions of intense games are really not that fun when your face has a tendency to go red and you sweat ten times more than everyone else. Who knew I’d be paying £9,250 a year to play stuck in the mud and pretend to be animals running around the room? I have no idea why the employment rate for actors is so low with skills like that.

The main takeaway from my lessons so far is the importance of having fun, or what they call ‘Le Jeu’. If you’re learning drama and you’re not having fun then what is the point of doing it? The purpose is destroyed. I haven’t giggled so hard in a class since probably primary school, it’s as if the child part of me is still there. Whilst the classes themselves are great, the reading is ENORMOS. This first week I have been set to read 4 long articles, a whole play, continue my journal, reflective thinking as well as learn a monologue from ‘The Three Sisters’ play by Friday. They don’t mess around on ETA. So how can someone like me keep on top of things? I mean when I was revising I got so bored I would birdwatch for hours instead of learning psychological studies (but who wouldn’t).

One of my biggest tools is self care, looking at myself and going ‘If you do this now you won’t have to worry about it later’. Knowing myself I get highly stressed and expect a lot, so not having much time is my nightmare. Additionally I try and split the work over days, only doing what can be expected even if this means reading one thing a night. Spreading the work is a godsend my friends. Also turn distractions into later rewards (I say this with Skyrim playing in the background), but my biggest motivator is thinking about how much bloody money I’m spending on this course and how I need to make the most of my money. Student finance doesn’t pay itself kids.

Getting messages about my blog is truly heartwarming. Whilst I have yet to figure out how to be more entertaining and helpful, I’d like to thank those that are on this journey with me. Hopefully this can only improve with time.

In the meantime, here is a picture of my corkboard. I’m thinking of filling it with photos but for now the main draw is the giant ‘Stay Sane’ written up there. In all honesty I may just change it to ‘insane’. Fits my personality more.

Have a pleasant evening,

Gabby

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