Ah, the end of term. I am currently in my lovely warm student house, curled up in the front room with a cuppa and a blanket, with my suitcase packed and ready to go home tomorrow. <3 Anyway, as happy as I am to be going home, I have had a really good time this term. Highlights of the term include:
044. Play a gig – COMPLETED!
I did it! Who’dve thought it, eh? To be honest, I wasn’t happy with my performance – I was really nervous, and my hands and legs were shaking so much that my hands kept slipping and I kept making silly mistakes. That’s such an embarrassing thing to admit to, heh. Still, I went up there and played. I have some really messy difficult feelings about that evening in my head – one the one hand, I’m really disappointed in myself for being so badly-rehearsed; on the other hand, I’m really proud that I managed to go through with it, and go through it alone. I went to the gig by myself in a taxi with my big unwieldy stage piano and stand (my flatmate/good friend didn’t want to go for… political reasons, I guess you could call them), I set up and packed down by myself with the sound guy, I mingled and made conversation with strangers by myself, I performed by myself (for only the third time in my life), and I made my way home by myself. That all sounds very basic and obvious, but I can’t tell you how much of a step forward this is for me. I’d usually go with Hank or a similarly chatty and knowledgeable friend, who’d more or less do everything for me – setting up, introducing me to people, etc… but I did it all by myself for the first time in my life. Damn, that was a tough night. And even though I didn’t perform as well as I could have, it was a useful experience in highlighting what it is I need to improve on. I should also add that all the Women’s Network committee members were really nice and complimented me on my performance, which was very helpful and put me at ease – although part of me felt that they were only saying those things to make me feel better, I kinda know that’s probably not true.
Clementine Cannibal wrote a really apt blog post a few days ago about performing live, and how us women need to just get out there and fucking do it. This blog post encouraged me to try to stay positive about this whole experience – yeah, maybe I was a bit mediocre, but at least I tried.
“i know i can’t just hide away until i’m super good and then play in front of people. i need to play in front of people right now. i need to get used to it, so my nervousness doesn’t overtake me and i can concentrate on what i’m doing. it’s really really scary. it’s scary to try. it’s scary to suck. but it’s necessary and important to growth. music isn’t just for people who have had extensive training in it. music is for everyone. the only way to get good at playing is to play. the only way to get good at playing in front of people is to play in front of people.”
Getting to the end of it without any sort of mental breakdown!
Damn. I know this is a completely mundane and everyday thing to celebrate, but I have to stop and acknowledge that this is excellent progress for me. Last winter I was a complete mess – I quit making zines because my self-esteem was at rock bottom, I just about managed to get through the academic work but barely put any effort into it, I almost didn’t go back to university when I was home for Christmas because I never thought I’d make it through the rest of the year. And here I am, a year on – getting solid grades and mostly coping with everything. Yay!
Studying a feminist philosophy module.
I wrote my essay on the norms of feminine appearance, which I’m going to use bits from for a new piece in my next zine! My lecturer said she really enjoyed reading it, but I didn’t get the first I was hoping for, so meh. Still, it was a fun module with some very interesting weekly reading material.
Seeing Melissa Auf der Maur live. (see this entry for more details on the evening!)
I’m writing about Christian feminism – specifically, whether it’s possible to be a Christian feminist without compromising one or the other to make them fit together. And I’m rather enjoying it. I have a good (professional) relationship with my supervisor, which helps. I told her about my depression, so she’s been really supportive and helpful this term when I’ve seen her. I think the biggest reason that this is a highlight is because throughout the past 2 years of university, I was terrified of doing a dissertation (as mentioned in my previous blog post). Now that I’m in the midst of it all and keeping on top of everything, it feels good.
Writing an essay on Pullman’s His Dark Materials.
I haven’t had the grade back yet, but I’m hoping I did quite well, because I really enjoyed writing this, even though it was 6,000 words long! I also read the entire trilogy (all 1000+ pages of it) over the course of 4 days, which is incredible progress for someone who usually takes weeks and weeks to read a book!
I only fell over once!
So far, this academic year has been my best year yet. Not that it’s been perfect, of course – I’ve still had to deal with a lot of shit from people… but I won’t go into that now. It feels as if I’m gradually becoming more stable and independent, and more able to cope with the world. My time is now.