Moments of Delight #2
Nov 25 2021
I am logging my daily delights for the month of November, inspired by The Book of Delights by Ross Gay. If you'd like to know why I'm doing this – start back at Moments of Delight #1.
It's Supervision day and I've ridden the tiny train all the way from the dirty East of Bristol where I belong to the grand North Western heights of Clifton, where I am an alien. I come here once a fortnight to spend an hour on a dark green chaise lounge, picking apart my therapeutic / facilitation practice with Uncle Tone (although he is around the same age as my parents, he is not my uncle, he's my clinical supervisor, but I delight in secretly referring to him as Uncle Tone).
Tone has been my supervisor for 10 years, since I was in my second year of dramatherapy training. Together we inquire into what's been happening in the various rooms I work in, exploring the choices I've made and the impacts they've had on my workshop participants and clients. Tone enthusiastically jumps in and grapples with the tangled knots with me, before seamlessly hoicking me out of the mess and (metaphorically) standing beside me, so we can both see the bigger view of my life and work and notice the reoccurring patterns.
There's a lot of delight and humour in our relationship, he meets me where I need to be met. We often piss ourselves laughing at all the inventive ways I hoodwink myself into filling up all my time with work when I'm feeling vulnerable, then afterwards he'll offer the compassionate witnessing that allows me to feel my feelings of exasperation and melt into tears. He can be super direct when he needs to be, he'll ask me to pull out my diary and strike out days off and I'll do it with an exaggerated, scrunched-up, moody toddler face, but I'll do it for Uncle Tone.
Today he casually asks me, “So have you bought a new diary for 2022 yet?”
“No, not yet, it's only November.”
“Well I have, look! Nah-nah nah nah-nah.” I wonder if he uses this kind of playground humour for any of his other clients... I delight in the fact that he lets me see how proud he is of himself for being an organised grown up and I tell him that I'm very impressed.
Usually at the end of supervision, I'd scarper back to Easton, but not today. Today I'm sticking around to meet with my Radministrator and poet-in-residence, Beccy, to discuss future plans for Holly Stoppit Workshops. Beccy's been on sabbatical for a couple of months, dedicating her time to her poetry, thanks to the Arts Council's Developing Your Creative Practice grant.
Beccy has been supporting me to develop and sell my workshops for nearly six years. She offers a calm steadiness, an astute eye for detail and a gung-ho sense of bravery. Beccy's clear and friendly voice is often the first voice you'll hear if you're thinking of booking onto a Holly Stoppit Workshop – she handles a lot of the emails, social media and mail-outs. Behind the scenes, she challenges me to take risks and she helps me develop systems and strategies to support those risks. Together we've built a clown empire!
Over the six years we've been working together, it's pretty common that we will arrive at our meetings wearing the same kind of clothes as each other. We don't plan this, we just seem to tune into the same frequency. Today is no exception, we greet each in a rainbow of bold bright knits, skirts and scarfs, Beccy's in mustard yellow, mossy green and aqua blue and I'm in hot pink, bright red and new-for-me teal. We've dressed for a holiday in Clifton!
We waft through the pavement cafés that erupted during the quiet carless days of lockdown. We slow down as it becomes clear that we've been transported to some exotic European town. A multicoloured melange of macaroons shine out at us from the window of a bijou bakery, but being sensible grown ups, we steer each other away form the cakes and towards the cafés serving savoury food.
We choose a little round table, outside the Primrose Cafe, set back from the thoroughfare. We take it in turns to reveal our hearts for the other to inspect; one is soaring gleefully, high on poetry and new connections, the other is tender and sad, heavy with tears, quivering and leaking. Both are glad to beat together.
We chew over plans whilst munching fresh salad and sipping green soup. Beccy asks good open questions to help me think about about what I want to do next year. I get distracted with the rudimentary painted fruit and veg with cheeky faces, above 'Reg The Veg', opposite the café. We guess at the veg and ponder about the artist, wondering whether they were pleased with their work. We hope they were.
We finish talking turkey and as we sit in the satisfied after-lunch lull, the sweet little macaroons beckon us back across the road, “You need us!” It's true, we do. We choose cakes to match our outfits (sour cherry and praline for me and lemon zest and black forest for her) and pose like Parisians all over the street furniture, spouting fragments of O level French whilst nibbling sweet treats and quaffing fine coffee.
I am delighted to have spent an afternoon with my incredible support team.
-Thursday November 11th 2021
If you'd like to read some other Moments of Delights: