I had a really ropey start to the week with blubbing at the GPs on Monday and not knowing if I was here there or anywhere. Not sure what triggered this descent into a somewhat bewildering mental state but the fog began to lift by Wednesday and it may have been after a conversation with one of trusted colleagues at work. Many of my “trusted” colleagues are leaving or have left the Parish and I am a little concerned that my splendid ability to isolate myself may prove my undoing. I am also considering applying for a job that would mean a huge change – a drop in salary and huge challenge BUT I actually think that is what I need. There is no doubt about it I am sick of marking and although I am not the only one that finds this activity one of the most draining activities in my life it may have come to a point when I have to nourish my creativity not kill it off!! Also the changes I want to see in nursing, health care and in the education and development of practitioners are well beyond my sphere of influence. So maybe I can make a change if I go back to practice. I have toyed with this for years but have never had the confidence to go for it. Teaching in the University ironically seems to have sapped my confidence completely. So much so that it has taken me to quite dark places and I certainly have lost any sense of perspective and proportion in relation to achievements etc. the key example being that I received the result from the coaching course in the post this morning – I have done outstandingly well and have been awarded a commendation. It seems a bit hollow and I can’t take it in as much as I should. Think that has something to do with decision making – it all feels a bit familiar I have to say. Back in 1996 when I was making decision about leaving nursing practice I went through the same dilemmas and quandaries.
I also presented my (our) visit to Great Village last summer at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle on Wednesday evening. I think it may have been behind my odd mood as it was such a different experience to my professional self that the imposter phenomenon took over big style. I felt inadequate and untutored – what would an ex-nurse know about Elizabeth Bishop – I presented from the heart. I have passion for her poetry and the visit to where she lived for such a short time during her childhood has been one of the highlights of my life so far. Standing outside the house where she lived in with her Mum and grandparents and seeing its position in the village has left a lasting impression on me that I know I need to do more with. Folk who were there liked what I said, loved the photographs of Great Village and the Bay of Fundy and made it clear that the passion was enough and that I obviously need to go back to Nova Scotia.
I had not realised until I got home after the event just how anxious I had been about it all. Anyway it was a wonderful evening and I have to thank my friend Dr Sheree Mack for inviting me to present my travels at the event and believing in my inner-poet that I find tricky to claim. I suspect it is something to do with not belonging and letting a bit of myself sabotage any chance of fitting in anywhere. I don’t even think I mentioned to the audience that I write poems – just that I was doing a PhD back in 1996 and that as a nurse I have always been fascinated by language.
I think that there is a lot to learn there and a journey of discovery worth embarking on – maybe this summer will see me give myself permission to start it.