Brenda’s Unfortunate Record Of The Week #9


“It’s been a bad day”. Lisa’s answered the door and I am beside myself, the frustration having boiled up during my journey to her North London studio. I open my mouth and it all comes out. She’s never seen me like this. I rarely get angry but when I do, I don’t hold back. It’s a festering, violent temper, one I’m not proud of and try to keep a lid on. But today, right now, it’s got the better of me. The words are vile and spitting them out feels good. She gets the kettle on and I help myself to a biscuit. 

Rewind to an hour before ….

I have been locked in a seemingly interminable loop since the beginning of September. Fortunately I am well-surrounded. For the past two and a half weeks, we’ve been awaiting news which would finally put an end to it all the uncertainty. An imminent response has been promised. I’m not holding my breath but the others are hopeful.  

My general mood of late has been erratic, keping tabs on the emotional rollercoaster made all the more difficult with the effect such stress can have on a female body. I’m definitely not pregnant but there’s been no sign of mother nature for quite awhile. Not that I’m complaining, but getting one’s head around mood swings is all the more challenging when you question the cause. 

Whilst I’ve been working hard at staying positive (the other day the photocopy machine gave me 7 copies for the price of 5 and this morning, I worked out a new, much more efficient way to cut a banana – for the small things, I’m totally winning), I can’t deny it’s kind of effecting me. Gradually my hopes for the future have shifted. I’ve resigned myself to the fact this might never be resolved, or might take so long, my small window of chance will have closed indefinitely. Such change isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I’ve researched courses I can take in the new year and applied for a volunteering position which might better my application – but it still stings a bit. And of course the general political, social, environmental (etc etc etc) uncertainty doesn’t help. We’re all looking back at 2016 thinking, ‘fuck it’s been a bad one’ but damn, I challenge anyone to offer up a glimmer of hope for 2017. Unless of course you’re a populist right-winger, in which case, yes I suppose the future’s looking pretty, pretty good. Alas for me, shaky ground all around. 

This manifests itself in 4am wake-ups, ‘I’ll just publicly vent on social media, what a brilliant idea!’. And then the next 3 hours are spent tossing and turning, trying to hold myself back before slumber finally takes hold as the sun comes up. I’m not good when I don’t get a solid 8 hours shut-eye.

So anyway, on my way up to Lisa’s the promised email comes through and despite all hopes, it appears a resolution is no nearer than it was 3 months ago. I break. Not like floodgates of tears but pure, hot-blooded, throw all my toys from the pram anger. The situation is so ridiculous that by the time the kettle’s boiled we’re both in stitches. 

I am there to cut lino and to print. Although it’s statement scorned by many a professional, Lisa and I agree this is an incredibly therapeutic art. Before long I am engrossed in the process. Frustrations are transferred to the caustic soda eating away at yesterday’s block. Knife in hand, I’m busy carving away at another. Boy do I ever have good pals. By the time we’ve spread the crimson ink and I’ve had my first pass at the press, the mood is almost zen. 

Whilst I’m up there enjoying the cathartic experience, the wheels are turning and by the time I get home a real resolution is in sight. So what does this say? Patience is a virtue, being a good person  and surrounding yourself with good people is always the best plan and finally, it’s okay to loose your shit every once in a while but remember, never flush when seated on the toilet …. even the worst crap is liveable. 


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