The past few weeks have been busy and both exciting and sad in equal measures. I’ve been to two art/photography exhibitions at the Royal Academy in London (Hungarian Photography and the Summer Exhibition) and I’ve also had a couple of exciting things happen regarding freelance writing.
There are also a lot of sad things that have happened in the past few weeks; someone I used to consider as like a Grandparent to me (before there was a giant falling out when my Grandpa died) died. Her funeral in in August, despite having died a couple of weeks ago. It seems like ages ago, but I’ve had some time to think about it, and about how easy it is for people to lose touch, because of all kinds of issues. She used to be a carer for my Grandpa (my Dad’s Dad), and looked after him up until he became too much and we had to move him to a care home. He was only in the care home a couple of weeks before he died. I think we all feel really grateful to her for looking after him when he didn’t have anyone else. My paternal Grandmother, Millicent, died when I was a few months old, so I did meet her, even if it was only briefly, as a baby. People always tell me that I’m like her, in looks and personality. I definitely resemble my Dad’s side of the family, with light colouring and green/hazel eyes, and a larger frame. My sister looks more like my Mum’s side of the family, with dark hair and eyes. People tell us that she looks like my Granny’s father. Anyway, for the longest time, Beanie (our nickname for her) looked after our Grandpa and I sort of considered her as a Grandma. Then Grandpa died and it sort of went terribly wrong, as things sometimes do, and I don’t think I saw her after that. I do feel a lot of regret, but at the same time, she didn’t want to see us, so I have mixed and confused feelings about the whole thing. My Grandmother didn’t like her, and so it was a huge surprise that Grandpa asked her to move in with him (but as far as we know it was a carer and friend relationship). So yes, I’m sad and conflicted about it, and I know that my Dad probably is too, but won’t talk to us about it.
The news in the past few days has shocked me too – the Oslo bombings and also the death of Amy Winehouse. I don’t care to speculate about someone’s death, because it is none of our business. I do know that she was an icon to many, and had a beautiful voice, full of emotion and pain, and had real talent. I know what addiction is like, from someone close to me, so I understand the pain her parents and family and friends must be going through. With addiction, there really is nothing you can do unless that person admits they need help. For me, Amy’s style and attitude, her music, is what I will choose to remember; I’m not going to pretend that she didn’t have any problems, but doesn’t everyone? Her music is full of raw emotion, and so was she. I feel that everyone thought she was made of tougher stuff, that she would one day clean up and roll her sleeves up and come out with an album to rival Back to Black. It was only the beginning for her and that makes me sad. With Oslo, I feel so devastated for them all, for all the families and friends of everyone who died. It doesn’t matter who the terrorist is and I hate that as soon as people found out it wasn’t a Muslim, they stopped referring to him as a terrorist. But that is what he is; a fundamentalist Christian terrorist. It doesn’t matter what religion is behind someone’s rationale for acts of terrorism – it is terrorism, hate.
I’ve also finished my Stage 2 BSL course, and did the last exam on 14th July. I’m relieved the exams are over, but sad that there are no more classes – our teacher has taught me so much more than she knows. For a start, I feel a stronger sense of pride in my deafhood – that we have such an interesting and expressive language, that once I know what I’m doing, it comes naturally, and flows a bit better. I think its interesting that human beings are so expressive and BSL seems to me to bring that expressiveness out of people. Everyone’s signing is different, just like everyone’s speech and rhythm are different. I might get round to doing BSL Stage 3 at some point in my life, but for now, I just need to keep practising and remember all that I’ve learnt. I’m going to miss the group too – they were all so supportive of each other, and I think our teacher was impressed with us. She’s been teaching for around 20 years and said she hasn’t taught such a lovely and supportive class before. There was a lot of love!
My Mum, Sis and I have been going to the Royal Academy Signed Talks/Lipspeaking Talks for the two exhibitions we’ve been to. The first one was for the Hungarian photography exhibition and it was BSL, which I found easier to follow than the second one, the Lipspeaking talk for the Summer Exhibition. They were both talks with a projector before we went through to the exhibitions, but I loved the BSL one, and I somehow can’t believe I couldn’t follow the lipspeaking tour. I’ve been lipreading since I was a kid, but I think that hearing aids help. So I guess I’m happy that BSL has had such an effect on me – I should be able to go to BSL signed plays and art exhibitions and so on. Lipreading is so tiring, and I’m amazed that I’ve done such an about turn in the past year. Last year I went to an art collective day with lipspeakers and I found it okay, but very tiring – my eyes were dry and itchy by the end of the day and I was exhausted. Perhaps it also depends what the subject is, because I was kind of lost when it came to the art lipspeaking talk – strange names doesn’t help. It was the same with the BSL fingerspelling names – they were unfamiliar names which is always a little difficult!
My writing has been a little touch and go recently, but I’m starting to feel a bit more motivation. I think I need to get out more and do things, and people watch and have a change of scenery. It is difficult to sit and write when you’ve got a serious case of ‘monkey mind’ bouncing all over the place and insisting on doing mundane tasks or saying that you can’t do it, why bother, etc etc. Yet at the same time, I’m determined to push through it and get myself organised. My business plan is coming along, so I’m looking forward to getting the ball rolling out there. One thing that I’m concerned about is money, because I know its only a matter of time before I’ll need to be more focused and make sure I build up enough commissions to be able to eke out a living for myself. Determination is key though – and a lot of patience!
I’ve also been to see the last Harry Potter film. I’m so sad its over, but now I can go back and start all over again if I want to! Its always sad when a series comes to an end – I remember StarWars, Lord of the Rings, Charmed, Buffy, Heroes – all brilliant, all finished. I guess it reminds us that life goes on and that people move on. I’ve grown up with Harry Potter, and I’m now 26 and yes, I did get all emotional seeing the credits roll! There’s no shame in loving fiction and the characters that come to life through your imagination and then maybe come to life on screen too. It gives a little more colour to the world. Fiction is my passion, and it means a lot to many other people too. The crazy thing was that my man and I went to the 9am on Sunday (yes…Sunday) screening of it because that was the only one subtitled last weekend. I’m glad we did go, even though I had to drag myself out of bed on a day usually reserved for lie-ins. We also went to Wagamama afterwards and I had this delicious Japanese Cherry cheesecake. Please do try it, it was delicious.
So – the beginning is that I’m only just starting with my writing, and I’ve got my first paid commission for the Edinburgh festival, so I’m looking forward to that. I feel more optimistic and hopeful for the future now, even though I know I’ll be a little broke over the coming months. I’m also going to Barcelona for a week with Dan in the Autumn (because all his colleagues hogged the summer holiday slots, and we need to save up anyway…), so its another thing to look forward to. Two years ago, I was struggling to feel happy, I felt oppressed and worried about everything, but I feel so much more optimistic, even if I’m not completely out of danger (money wise) yet. I’ll get there – and so will you if you’re just starting out.
The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning. ~ Ivy Baker Priest
Image from We Heart It