I am a woman first, then a sculptor, then mother. But it is mother that is first when it matters. Not when it matters to me, but when it matters. My identity becomes fixed when priorities change. All other personas fall away and my role as mother becomes underlined. My name is lost and mam is called more times a day than the days that have passed since this started.
I have no clear understanding where I stop and my children begin. This is mirrored through object in that I am the house, the kitchen, the bath, the dogs, the bitty Lego carpet and my un made bed. guilt and tired are one emotion that underpins all routines, and the edges are blurred. Every escape hatch is now weaved tightly in and amongst the mass of sticky domestic mother.
I felt ashamed to mourn the person that wasn’t mother. I felt her leave. She had nothing relevant to say.
I live in Llanelli and it is the first town to be put under lockdown. Llanelli is tiny once you realise you’re not allowed to leave.
I am a cyclist. Below is a photo of me completing the Everesting challenge in July 2020. I climbed a total of 8,848 metres up a local horrific hill. My club raised over £1000 for our cycling club’s charity Air Ambulance. It was an amazing event that brought the whole community together over the space of 15 hours.
Photo. Nic Forbs
Upon reflection I’m wondering if I suggested the event out of the desperation for human contact under the guise of charity. At the time I told myself that we should do something to build morale, to change the subject from COVID-19, but in all honesty I believe now that it was so I could interact with others. And it makes me wonder the lengths I am prepared to go to for that human contact, socially distanced or not.
Since then our small town has gone under local lockdown and this has raised very different emotions. I had more freedom When the whole country was under lockdown. Now I am unable to leave Llanelli other than to work.
I have become territorial over the space of which Was allocated to me. I was becoming aware of this regarding the 2 m, but now even more so when I was given a line that I wasn’t allowed to cross.
Mono Print, Breach
This was more apparent as a cyclist.
There was us, those that had to stay within the Llanelli boundary, and then there was them, them that were outside the boundary, and they could cycle as far and do as many miles as they wanted. They would post pictures of how happy they were in our absence. Worst still were cyclists that would post their Strava rides, where they crossed the Boundary and broke the rules over into Llanelli. Oh! and if they were from Swansea it would feel even more hurtful as they had the whole of the Gower to play with. The evidence of frustration would be documented in the comments below in the thread of their journey. friends fort when only days earlier rode together.
A divisive lockdown, we are no longer all in this together.
An investigation into territory, boundary and space…..
I spoke to my hero today, she has been for some time. Someone that says something at times when people don’t speak. She spoke with honesty and with presence. It shook me and i noticed.
We spoke about our practice. How we knew each other. Our childhood, our lockdown, us as mothers. She talked of energy and purpose. How some things just coincide and shed light over dark spaces.
We spoke about our heroes that draw us back to our strength in practice and if this is something we ourselves do?
Its something i look out for now. It happened today. In light of what happened yesterday. And as i write this now my youngest is crying over a lost toy i wont help him find. It is because this is serious. This is a warcry.
The conversation ends and i stop for a moment before i’m jolted with a plea for lunch.
My news feed yesterday was littered with panic. A fear of loosing something special, something integral, something serious. Its been rumbling with unrest for weeks. This morning i heard a different sound. #savethearts and it is a warcry accompanied with an image. An image that says the world turns in darkness in the absence of the arts.
The posts of my friends continue were i notice a little read notification. It asks me if i will accept a message. I do and i read. It is from an artist early in their career. The message reads that i was their mentor and that i was in some way important to them. I’m shocked to the core and i cry. Its because its serious.
The arts is a platform to converse and create a dialogue with the world for the world. It is spoken with an universal language. it is for everyone to everyone, it is history, it is culture, it is a protest, a conversation of perspective, voices for the voiceless…..
adjective….of relatively little significance, and therefore able to be abandoned or destroyed
A mortifying realisation that extra curricula subjects are potentially to be abandoned in September. It came up in my news feed. Outlined in panic. First from the artists. Scared friends feeling threatened. A core subject unrecognised as a core subject. Empathy pouring out to the artist child. Then it came from the parents. Parents of children that saw and felt the impact that the arts had on them. Finally through pedagogy. Teachers, Lecturers and Arts practitioners that have testified the strength of the arts when in collaboration with all academic subjects and the invaluable benefits in well-being. The panic is real and justified.
one job for me comes to an end this month. My role is to engage young people with the arts. it has beed incredibly rewarding. witnessing individual growth in confidence, in friendships, opening worlds and portals to industries, careers, and experiences that may never have been.
My hours as a sculpture lecture have been cut in half. I am not alone in this jobless world where the arts are now Expendable, at a time where they have never been more important.
when i heard the news about my reduced hours, i found myself at my dinning table. its pushed tight in the corner. the cat has destroyed the chairs. the cushioning spills out from the fake leather cover. they are not comfortable to sit on. and i wondered when the last time we found our selfs around the table for dinner. It was last Christmas day.
it now has become a surface to catch everything that cant be held at once. It holds my cycling helmet. the fan for turbo, the home school arts and craft, the overflow of tined food that wont fit in the cupboards, pasta that should last for ever, polish, cast wax, plaster, passed ideas, fabric freshener and my clay baby. And then there is my foot, that creeps in the very edge. the photo doesn’t take its self, and i am very much part of it.