More notes on leaving home: The war of the noticeboard, letting go of bitter things and early drafts of new year resolutions
The most important note to make on leaving home- remember. To do. The hoovering. You are going to regret it so much when you neglect the hoovering.
The notice board wars began in early October and have continued until now, the final week. The debate over which side shot first rages on, but what is known is this; in this Welsh medium hall, on the noticeboard there is a welsh and English side to each notice. Someone swapped all of the notices to display only the Welsh side, or only the English side, depending on who you ask. The war began to escalate into a blockade of language. The English notice would be pinned over the Welsh, the Welsh over the English, endless loops of passive aggressive pinning. The battle reached a fever pitch when someone took a sharp object to the English section of a notice and slashed it through. The war then entered an uneasy truce. We all knew a line had been crossed. The war was revived last week, when someone attempted to throw out the ruined and slashed English language sign along with a reminder to keep the kitchen clean for inspection.
The war entered a new, potentially explosive phase: That of the note. A note was posted, berating the attempted binner of the notice and the slashed sign. A reply was quickly posted, citing the reasons for the binning and signed ‘love, Batman.’ A final note was posted in an attempt to defuse the renewed hostilities. ‘I LIKE TRAINS’, it proclaimed. There could be no truer peace treaty than that, and for now at least, the warriors rest.
So I’ve been in Wales for three months, and it’s been nice. A new network of friends and interests hesitantly and shyly started to root out. A lovely thing that happens when you’re completely removed from your old town is that all your bitterness and anger just flows away. It’s so much easier to just let go when you realise that these things don’t really matter, that these things are shifting, that there are more people to see and places to go and things to do than you could ever possibly get through. Why waste time being stubborn and unhappy? I slowly started to reflect on the place I’d stepped out of and while looking at it from an angle I hadn’t seen before I began to see where my edges were. Where all the things that I had raged and wailed and cried about didn’t actually matter one single fuck once you were out of there. I slowly got back into performing, after a pretty bitter departure from it last year. I rediscovered the old magic and sprang back into it.
Doctor Who and Roomates
I started bonding with my roomates on the Pantycelyn international students corridor. Three Americans, an Austrian and two French girls formed my little circle, along with some friendly Welsh and English from upstairs. In a moment of near unrivalled glee, we ran up to campus as a group and found a Tardis parked in front of the Union, with a talking, lit up Dalek trundling around. It offered a great photo op, both sweet group snaps and self indulgent selfies.
Now it’s nearly time to come home. I’ve started into a new diary, a smart black notebook I bought to convince myself to maintain this diary- I paid 13 pounds for this notebook, for fucks sake, so I’m going to use it. Around this time of year, I usually start to think about what I want to do next year, and reflect on what I’d like to develop, change or introduce in 2014. I present to you here my rough longlist of new years resolutions for your consideration.
1. Become blood of the Dragon
2. Buy more mugs
3. Get really buff and strong. Start lifting.
4. Also, get super fit and flexible. start yoga
5. Kiss more people.
6. Use the word ‘accoutrements’ more (Referring to luggage and bags)
7. Vacuum every week, so that your room does not become white with dust and the halls warden suspects that you’re dealing cocaine.
8. While deflecting this suspicion, illicitly brew Yakka in bedroom sink (not really, I promise. Please don’t kick me out if you read this…)
9. Listen to more podcasts. In fact, make one. It can’t be that hard.
10. Do couch to 5K, without ending up in a bath of cold water sobbing and eating oranges.
11. Learn to dance properly, and not like a complete berk. (seriously, you’ve made a name for yourself here as the ‘dancing Irish girl’. That’s not a good thing. You need help.)
12. Drink less soft drinks. Stop being happy about being a non-drinker when you ingest about nine times your healthy level of sugar and caffeine every day.
13. Try to quit coffee. not tea though. You gave yourself a three day migraine last time.
14. Vacuum every week. Remember how much you regret not hoovering enough this semester. Remember it!
15. Post more letters. people like letters.
16. Practice yoga stretches, tai chi and herbal tea to become one with your spirit and nature.
17. Be less of an angry motherfucker.
18. Keep your diary this year. don’t just get bored after a week like usual.
19. Make lists that are a nice, satisfying length. Don’t end list blogs on an odd number.
Niamh ‘Wait… fuck!’ Keoghan
FINAL EDIT: NUIM Drama, I am glad to no longer be involved with you guys. end of.
When I was 13, I started going to a drama group in Clontarf. While I was there, my brisk no nonsense teacher guided me through the craft of being a good performer. No bullshit, no arty farty crap, just how to act and how to speak well. Drama became the first thing that I was just… good at. Acting was easy. Even when it was challenging it was easy. It was fun. Drama was the one thing. Drama was my one thing. I might be fat, or stupid, or lacking in subtlety- but I could do a decent monologue and that was all that mattered. Acting became something really important to me not for productions or the limelight but for a small inner peace I had never known before. When I fell into the character of another person I could forget how much I hated myself. Eventually, as it went on I slowly began to accept myself. If I could do this well, I could do anything well. If I could turn in a good performance, nothing else mattered.
Drama basically helped me work through all my problems and my anxieties. It was enriching and rewarding and fun. My little group still keeps in touch- my fantastic, no-nonsense teacher is now training me to take the teaching exams myself after college. I’m still welcome in that class now. When I started in NUI Maynooth I hoped that the Drama society there would be just as fulfilling.
NUIM Drama, you have beaten me. You’ve exhausted me, and you’ve won. You have finally, as a society, killed my love.
The Play I was in the cast of before Christmas, The Last of the Last of the Mohicans, is going to the ISDA festival, and my part is being re-cast. Going to go public with this and say right now how much NUIM Drama have ruined my love of acting. Every time I’ve gotten involved with that society as a performer I’ve come out the other end feeling used and badly treated. Last year, it was to do with politics that had nothing to do with me directly but concerning the play I was a cast member of and now it’s about me directly. With your cliques, your politics and your complete disregard for my self worth as a performer, you’ve beaten me. You’ve used my ability to act for two productions and once again, you’re discarding me as an inconvenient piece that won’t fit. I hope Mohicans and it’s cast are brilliant at ISDA because they will be going at the expense of my good will towards your society. You’ve lost me. You’ve lost me as a writer, as a performer, a director and a well wisher. You must have realized this was the only reaction I could have to your standing by as I’m airbrushed out. You have burned your bridge with me. I’m not even angry; I’m just very sad that I matter so little as a member of your group. Whatever the reasons are for re-casting my part (and I was told it wasn’t based on my actual performance, which was fine), I reserve the right to be very hurt.
You’ve turned something that I fell into as a vulnerable kid for escape and enjoyment into something that I dread to think about. I’ve lost all confidence in my ability to perform and I don’t think I’ll ever have the same love of drama and stage ever again. I’m not bitter, I don’t wish any individual member any harm (Many of you are my good friends and I wish you all the best) but as a person and a performer I feel utterly rejected and alienated. I won’t be participating in any productions anywhere for a long time. The thrill I used to feel being a part of something is lost- the confidence that used to flow in me is all drained out. You’ve taken a very important part of me away, and that hurts. That hurts me deeply. You kicked me out, and I’m not going to limp away without noting how much exactly you have taken away from me, how much it meant to me and what it’s cost.
I’m not putting this post up to have a go at you or make you look bad- as a society you are full of talent, boundless creativity and incredibly good people. That’s why I haven’t named anybody specifically in this letter. I’m not even mad. I’m not angry at the fantastic cast of Mohicans or the fantastic director who made the decision to re-cast me. I’m just really, really sad. I’m alone. I’m back in the place I was when I was 13.
Consider this my retirement notice from NUIM Drama and from acting at large. I will never participate in a production in Maynooth ever again. As for anywhere else, I’m still not sure if I will. I won’t write it off forever, but for the foreseeable future I can’t see myself being able to face it. Which is a pity. I wasn’t half bad.
Niamh ‘And no you can’t borrow my vintage radio for the set this time’ Keoghan