Keeping some control

Week 7? 5? 9?

Day twenty two hundred threety one teen and twelvety.

Just no idea at this point.

This strange phenomenon of living our lives in isolation or a lockdown is something we just hadn’t prepared for. We weren’t given any tips or tricks on how stop our - run about, emails on the bounce, teach a class there, go watch a show, have a drink or three after, plan a workshop fast paced lifestyles.

And it came to a stop and now there’s uncertainty about the future for so many of us. That loss of control is something I’ve felt and had to wrangle with over the past few weeks, I’m lucky that I have Eloise to bounce thoughts and frustrations off and she’s supportive to me despite averaging 1 hour sleep a night due to her beautiful little bubba.

Support systems are great, so I just wanted to put out a few thoughts out there that are helping me and maybe it’ll help keep the wind in your sails too. There’s no answers here, just a reminder that this is a new experience for lots of people and we'll all hold it in different ways.

I’ve LOVE LOVE LOVED doing P.E with Joe on YouTube Mon-Fri at 9am. I sit on the sofa with a coffee and come 8.50am I’m almost ready to talk myself out of it, but I know how good I feel once I’m up and moving my body. Joe Wicks has great energy and he’s pitching it to school kids, so I feel it’s just the right level for me to get into. And I think it’s good to have little markers in your day, whether that’s always having your lunch at the same time, doing some meditation when you wake up, always watching the same programme on TV, it just gives you a hook to push you on through the day and keep mentally and physically active.

I'd normally be lost without my (free, red Equity) diary, but there hasn’t been much need for it since the end of March. Enter the humble post it note. Post it notes have saved my life, stopped me forgetting things and allowed me to make big tasks seem easier, because I can break them down, and stick them somewhere obvious as a reminder.

Move Space have been an incredible resource, family, network of talented and lovely people. They have been holding two group get-togethers and chats a week since the lockdown. And getting to know that other teachers and practitioners are experiencing the same losses as you and have the same questions as you helps to ease that anxiety of feeling out of control. It’s a solitary life sometimes being a movement director, and being part of a team in such solitary circumstances is a joy. Lots of companies are opening their doors and doing coffee mornings/Q&As/masterclasses, don’t feel you have to do all or any, but sometimes it’s nice to connect to your creative world – even if you sit there with your video off and mic on mute. Do it your way.

Watching theatre online, I’m going to be honest, it’s not for me. I’m so glad it exists and it really works for some people, I just can’t get into it. But, I have found I can have a piece of filmed theatre on without the sound and just enjoy some of the physical world, movement, and picture-making without having to follow the specific story or text through a microphone at the back of a theatre. I do miss the sound design and the beautiful connectivity of the voice, but it’s been a good way for me to be engaged in the work that is so generously being shared online. So you could maybe try that if you’re missing that live feel from recorded performances.

A positive thing that I’ve seen is loads of great people are opening up and letting their skills be shared; whether that’s YouTube videos, zoom meetings, Insta live classes, Facebook dance classes. Theatre and dance talks about the strive to be accessible, but in my opinion they often pay a lot of lip service to accessibility, and very few make it part of their constant practice. In a way, lots of opportunities are becoming available, opening up doors that have been shut for a long time. And people are aware that charging stupid money for a masterclass or workshop just isn’t viable when people aren’t earning anything. Hopefully that will continue when this pandemic comes to an end, but in case it doesn’t, and you are able to, take full advantage of any opportunities you can now.

I found myself getting angry at people not understanding what 2 meters distance was if I went on a walk or a run, and in the first few weeks I wasn't enjoying my time out of my flat. Over time I made some changes to help me enjoy it properly. Now, I choose to go out at lunchtime because I think lots more people are in their homes munching. I choose to take back roads and quiet streets, to avoid main roads, which has allowed me to see so many unknown little treasures in my area. But most of all I chose to make a conscious effort not to get angry at people. I know spatial awareness isn't easy and people are just enjoying their time outside, so if I can shrug it off and smile through it then it means I don't get home and feel more tense than when I left.

My final thought is a reiteration of what so many people are saying about loving yourself and those around you. Our bodies aren’t used to being held in this prolonged state of fight or flight, so accept that moods may be up and down, anxieties or confusion may come and go, and know that’s ok. Remember to breathe, release your jaw, relax your shoulders, and breathe again.

Be grateful for any little things you have, and try to champion yourself and those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice or money or just a shoulder to socially distancingly cry on.

Like I said, no answers, just a few thoughts. If you need anything from us, please give us a bell.

Huge love,

Mark and Eloise xx

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