What a week. Rose and some friends organised a surprise birthday camp-fire night for me a couple of days after the exhibition opening. Once I got over feeling embarrassed and a little overwhelmed, it was the nicest evening. Everyone else did the cooking and organising and running around and I just lit a fire and sat next to it. It was so peaceful and relaxed. We ate baked potatoes and chocolate cake and sat around in the dark telling stories and jokes and listening to songs on the guitar.
I’ve been taking things very gently since the opening night, a fellow artist kindly warned me in advance to expect a crash so I blocked out a number of days to just rest. I thought I would be very emotionally down after the big high, which often happens for me with personal talks in mental health. This was a very personal talk, I read poems about mourning Tamlorn. I’ve never openly wept in front of a room before like that, nor made so many other people cry with my sharing. It was a very precious space.
But the surprise for me was that the crash has been physical with severe pain levels. I must have been more tuned out of my body and pushing it harder on the lead up than I’d realised, because the moment the last guest left the opening night, it hit me so hard I could barely walk. I’ve done not only all the art and framing and hanging work, but so much admin and organising. I cooked two huge pots of soup for the night so had big blisters on my hands from cutting loads of pumpkin and peeling a big bag of potatoes. I was very lucky to have so much help with the set up and pack up from kind friends.
I spent all next day in bed, getting up for short hobbles around the house every 45 minutes to stretch my joints. Since then I’ve spent until noon or later every morning in bed just managing the pain. I was talking to another pregnant woman today who is a few weeks further along than me, and she told me that yes, at 30 weeks she’s just reached that point where the pelvic pain is kicking in and getting a bit uncomfortable. I bit my lip.
So it’s been pretty wonderful to have the recovery time from the opening match up with people being extra lovely to me for my birthday. I’ve been very spoiled and nurtured which has been very appreciated. I’m calling this whole idea of an exhibition for my birthday a win. I’ve been far less stressed than usual about an upcoming birthday, I feel incredibly proud of myself for pulling off such an important event and bringing to life a dream I’ve had for many years, and the opening itself was a tremendous success. I shall definitely be doing it again.
In the meantime I’m working on the admin and orders from the opening night and doing all the follow up and finish off work to tidy the loose ends. I’ve been debriefing and reflecting on what worked well and what I would do differently next time and capturing as much of that as possible so that it will be easier to do this again. I don’t know if this was a fluke or the start of something great in my life but I’m hoping to build on what worked. It’s the first break I’ve caught in a long while, the first work related endeavour that has turned out well in a long time! I’m celebrating that. And I figure that one of the indicators of a successful project is that in the aftermath of it, I’m actually excited about the next one. ❤