Hippidy-hop, dippidy-dop, the PhD has moved along a year
Gosh, where did the time go? Covid seems to have deleted months off the calendar and for a while we went into a time warp. Things are speeding up slowly but I’m pretty much holding my breath for round two/three/four/twenty. Don’t think it will be as bad. At least we’ve all got Zoom installed and ready to go now…
It’s been a very strange year for a practice based PhD. Took me a while to settle in and actually DO some things and just as shit was about to go down, an unexpected shart really went down and lockdown happened (ok, definitely enough shit jokes for now…).
I’ve spent a lot of time taking care of my mental health. It felt important to re-adjust, take it easy and remember that I need to be building resilience for the marathon that is a PhD. I was searching for long term solutions and not ones that use up all of my saved up resources leaving me more tired and exhausted and in need of recovery time that cancels out the initial push anyway. Even before lockdown that was the direction I was moving towards – trying to figure out how to function without using shame as a motivator but actually listen to what I need and giving it to myself – very much a process of shape shifting happening at the core of my foundation. Often time that meant changing something radically in the middle of the day or reaching the end of the day and not getting frustrated with how little I got done but trying to learn what I can adjust for the following day/week/month.
In lockdown it was very difficult to launch into new collaborations and instead I focused on myself as a performer. Turned out that the getting rid of shame journey I started was also beneficial to my journey as a performer ( I recommend Brene Brown’s “Gifts of Imperfection” for any high achiever perfectionists that are kicking themselves a bit too hard). For the past couple of months I’ve been getting singing lessons from lovely superwoman improviser Maggie Nichols over Zoom. The singing lessons are more like life lessons, ways to be in the world through the voice, asking: how do we stick to our core self while we risk being dragged into multiple directions by the world, how do we take very little as being enough, how do we support and sustain others and, most importantly, how do we TRUST what is there and let it emerge without controlling it. Maybe they sound like lessons one should already know but for me they were great things to practice.
I’m also making public my annual progress review submission that outlines what has happened this year in my PhD. I’ve done it in a Research Catalogue format as I was looking on ways to build a less linear narative that includes media and text. Press Open Exposition over here and have a peruse at your leisure.