This is an excerpt from a bery personal blog I wrote for Paula Varjack on Monday 10th October, as part of her Artist Studio Space project. The full blog can be found on Paula’s blog:
“Today happens to be World Mental Health Day. A friend emailed me this: “you’re not falling apart; you’re just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful” – Anonymous.
I had set myself the task of drafting and testing my first stand-up set during my day at Camden People’s Theatre. Why stand up? Because I think I have difficult things to say and that comedy is the best way to say it. Stand-up is, arguably, a more populist medium than, say, theatre, live art, performance art, or spoken word. There’s less paperwork to do if I were to start gigging compared to applying to make a solo show. I think comedy is one of the hardest things to pull off properly and can be the most powerful in terms of social change. People say women aren’t funny. I am contrary as fuck. People also tend to cast ethnic minorities in dull roles and I want to make my own way so that people like me find out I exist – I want to play with those kids. People finding you funny is fun. I like laughing. It scares the shit out of me and so I should do it. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
I was worried about today. After a few years of being fine and naively thinking that my mental health woes were behind me, I had an acute relapse of anxiety and depression very recently. It wasn’t just the regular symptoms which brought me down, I was genuinely hit by the fact that this is something I’ll have to manage for the rest of my life. What with events happening in the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about death, incurable illness, mortality, regret, and legacy. What with post-referendum racism on the rise (and homophobia, and general misogyny rampaging about as normal) I have also been thinking about safe spaces more than ever.”