I didn't intend to take such a long time to write this blog, but a huge case of Writer's Block and January melcancholia came over me this term.
The balance of January blues, cold weather, the enclosed nature of Etampes, (to give you an idea of how enclosed... Tinder doesn't work here),the fact our bathroom in our house resembles a venereal disease but tiled, outside work commitments, personal conundrums and the constant flops at the school led me to feeling sluggish and knackered like a worn down cart horse. Stress and anxiety seemed to have nestled their ways into my shoulders and set themselves there like rot. Every time it came to write it was as if a huge slate had been lowered onto my hands alongside an impenetrable grey fog making words and ideas disappear.
The tipping point came four weeks in when we were given the task to make three masks for the Mask Play module. After a four hour botched attempt at making these masks** resulting in a burst of frustrated tears at 2am, I decided to put down the super glue and step away from the paper mache. Instead, I put on my pyjamas, got into bed, buried my head and dealt with my frustrations with a comforting and low brain power mixture of eating, Stephen King novels and Daredevil on Netflix.
We all have our own ways of dealing with depression - and mine has been perfected through the experience of eight years at an all girls boarding school where you share everything with hoards of other pubescent, stressed, hormonal teenage girls. When times are tough I now hibernate away in my own private concoon... alone and content, until I feel happy enough to start speaking to people again and getting up on stage with excitement rather than with complete fear.
This leads onto the most memorable and pivotal part about the school... THE FLOPS: The moments when you don't feel happy, when you don't feel content to go on stage, when you don't feel strong enough to deal with Philippe.
Gaulier calls himself The Tormentor, and indeed he is. His tormenting seeps into the attitudes and confidences of many of the students in first year. We all have anxiety dreams about him now! Although we are all fully aware of the tough love approach of his teaching, there are only so many flops you can take before you start transitioning from 'taking it on the chin' to feeling 'truly bloody awful'.