The final day. My final thoughts. I’ve just one picture to post today, and the story behind it. My apologies, it is a long, wordy post so please bear with me.
This was taken on May 22nd, in the appropriately named Cafe Rouge, about 30 minutes after I finished my last day of paid employment in over 20 years. The lovely lady sitting with me , Sue, has been my ‘work wife’ for 7 years – we’ve job shared, developed and delivered grant programmes together, gone through marriage break ups (hers), family deaths (mine), triumphs and tears across a third of my working life.
For those new to my blog, I resigned from work in April after a particularly rough start to the year to take a sabbatical. I didn’t resign because I hated my job – I had a great job – engaging, rewarding, demanding and one that brought me into contact with a wonderful bunch of people who – like me – had a strong ethos of supporting the underdog and redistributing wealth with a social conscious. I left because I knew that mentally I was wiped out and unable to deliver my work to the standard I personally demand, and the one thing that this wonderful place couldn’t give me was time to repair my shields and rebuild my fractured emotions.
I do not regret for one moment my resignation. There are a number of goals I wish to achieve before looking for paid, regular work again. The one thing that did scare me was a worry of social isolation once I no longer had to walk into the office community. My first full week out of work was last week – when I had two sets of people staying with me, social events and a funeral to attend. It was THIS week that I was worrying about.
Once the hoopla had died down, and the guests had left, I then had to reboot myself with a purpose this week. I want to write, but I was frightened of switching on the Mac. Of picking up the pen. I didn’t know where to start. I always knew that inertia was my biggest weakness, and that there was a real danger that I would draw the curtains closed in The House of No Seasons and retreat to the settee under a duvet, hiding from the world and from any form of socialisation.
I am aware that my blogging voice is quite a chirpy one, at least publically. I do have a number of locked posts on this blog that look at the darker, most fragile side of my psyche – there is a reason why I identify as goth, and have done so for over 20 years. I have a tendency towards melancholy that I have to keep in check.
So what’s all this have to do with Red & Black week?
Well, I had been a lurker on Victorian Kitty’s blog for a while. Towards the end of last week I was restlessly web surfing (aka procrastination), when I came across Red & Black week. As I mentioned on an initial comment on her blog, I was a little stumped by the idea, thinking that I had no real input to give. And then I embarked on a wardrobe clear out and began to look at what I do have from a new perspective. I have no income for the moment. This challenge gave me just the kick in the pants I needed to get motivated, think creatively and to rediscover some beautiful clothes that have quite simply been overlooked or neglected for some time. I also began to look at my surroundings in a new light.
More than this – it gave me a reason to boot up the Mac at 8:30am every morning an write a blog post. To get into a routine of focusing my brain on a specific writing task which I then have to deliver within a 2 hour window (it also gave me a pretty funny insight into how not to take a selfie!). This is invaluable to me moving forward, as the template is now set for disciplining myself next week as I begin to develop and complete commercial pieces I have been working on.
But the most important element for me of Red & Black Week? It’s given me a community. A great community that is world wide and made up of women of all ages and interests, bound together by a common thread. It’s given me a reason to talk, albeit virtually, to smart, funny, creative people. What has shone through for me personally this week is how lovely everyone is, how supportive and positive – I’ve not seen any negative posts or comments on any of the many blogs I have read – and this bears shouting about in a world of negativity and people seeking to bring other people down through careless comments. Ladies, you are a credit to the gothic community.
Next week is a new week and it is up to me where I take this mind of mine. I feel so much more positive about it. And I want to thank everyone who has made it to the end of the mammoth post, or taken the time to stop by (commenting or not) this week. You are awesome.
And Miss Kitty – I am raising a metaphorical glass in your honour right now. You created this challenge, this community. From across the world, in a small study by the sea in England, I can’t thank you enough.
Here’s to the next challenge!