Friday, August 31, 2012

Damn Compulsory Education

We are struggling at the moment.

Really struggling. To send our two children to school. It is compulsory education. For them, for us.

This does not feel good. 

For two mornings in a row we have spent 1 1/2 hours cajoling and forcing them into uniforms. Cajoling and forcing them to walk the 100 metres to school. Cajoling and forcing them into their classrooms. And then, after another hour of endlessly prising the younger one's hands from my neck/ skirt/ arms/ hands, walking away from my child who was screaming for me- albeit left one to one with the very lovely classroom assistant.

I know she is safe. But she does not.

I know that she will be OK, but she does not.

She looks like a rabbit in the headlights. A trapped tiger. Her need to escape, to be with me, to feel safe is primal. She wet herself.

The teacher wanted me to up and leave her straight away. She tried to bribe away her tears with stickers. I could sense her desperation as more and more toys and books were pushed her way and questions asked. "Don't feel your feelings" was the lesson she was teaching her. Shut down. Shut up.

She snapped at me for waiting outside the door and "starting her off again." And so I sat with her as the list of rules and controls was explained to the other children. Don't speak, don't swing, don't wriggle. Don't use the toilet unless you ask...

This is compulsory education.

26 little bodies dressed the same, sat in rows, bribed with stickers to sit still and shut up and colour inane shite.

"School is boring" - my 7 year old informs me. "I know, my love, I know. This is not my vision of education." I think.

I wish we could run free in the woods, with the river as our guide, the seasons as your teachers. I wish we could paint all day, and get up when we want. I wish I didn't have to force and cajole your precious bodies and spirits to satisfy the powers that be.

But I have learnt too, since becoming a mama - I am not the patient, all loving, full of energy mama I thought I would be - I get tired, and over whelmed. I long for peace, to do my work. I am a good one-to-one mama. But there is not one. there are three. Three different characters, different needs - each I want to serve and honour - but the cacophony of competing desires overwhelms me. I begin to sink.

I need to honour you. And I need to honour myself.

We have agonised over school for many years - see here and here.

We have agonised over school for her all year - she is young for her year - but academically and developmentally well above the older kids. She is too young for this year, too old for next. She was getting bored at playschool. Her free pre school childcare year had been used.

She is her - she is highly sensitive, with suspected Sensory Processing Disorder - which is not a "thing" here in Ireland, just in the US.

If we "give in", then what do we do? Do we allow them both to home school. Do we try to find the money for playschool - which we do not have. Do we teach her that when she tantrums she gets her way?

If we don't then we are complicit in forcing and traumatising our daughter. We are not honouring her fears and needs. But will home schooling really be that different - then all the responsibility for their learning will be on my shoulders.

We are trying a gentler approach, of quarter days, to ease her in.

But oh, how I wish there were an easy answer. For her, for him, for us all. One where we all won. One where our days were full of learning, joy and excitement at the world - not fighting and forcing.

Damn you compulsory education!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The kiss of death

The kiss of death
Lingers on my heart
I did not see it coming
Nor invite it in.
Few of us do.
But it is there, indelible,
And to my surprise its message is...
Dance whilst you can
Not because you should or you ought
But because the song in your heart
The rhythm of your life
Is calling you
Because you have the heartbeat of your loved one as your rhythm
Their hand in yours to hold
In this dance we call life
Right here and now.

And when death comes calling
The only true thing
Is here and now.
Did I love fully? Am I loved?
Are we here for each other?
And this moment of togetherness is all that counts, truly.

As we hold each other tight in love's embrace
Let us hear our tunes and dance them out.
Whilst we have this time together
Let us dance!
With the sun shining on our heads,
The moon lighting our backs,
The grass beneath our feet,
For we never know when the music will stop
In this cosmic game of musical statues.
I know now,
As all who have felt the kiss of death know too,
That it is also
The kiss of life
A life more precious, deeper, darker, more perfectly ordered yet random
Than any of us dare believe.

Monday, August 13, 2012


We almost lost our daughter last week.

This is what keeps going through my head as I hold her little, warm body close. Grateful, so grateful for her continuing presence. For the miracle that was. Today and yesterday almost weren't. I am emotionally and physically shaken to my core. As are the whole family. We are now all too aware of the invisible line between normality and tragedy. I am deeply awake to my mother self once more, to the primal biology of the fact that my children are now and always will be, flesh of my flesh. A fact that can be dulled by the daily drudgery of mothering, the complacency regarding the blessings that my children are to me, to us all.

Last Thursday our youngest, a dainty two and a half year old ringletted rascal of a girl fell out of her upstairs bedroom window onto the concrete path below. I got the call at work from a dear friend who was having coffee at our house with my husband. "She's bleeding out of her mouth and nose, but she's crying.I'll come and get you."

I put down the phone and started to run home, hands held in prayer, praying, praying.

The path had a pool of blood. And there in the kitchen, my baby, so small and battered and bloody in her daddy's arms. Crying for me.

I held her. And held her. At home. In the emergency room. all night in the narrow hospital bed. The next day and night. I held her and breathed my prayers. Knowing how close we came to never being able to hold her again. Holding another mothers story in my heart of a daughter who fell from a tree and didn't make it. Showing her little videos of her and her siblings playing on the I phone knowing that they might have been our last memory. I held her as she slept and slept, knowing that the child who emerged from this tragedy might not be the same one as before. My family have been through the trauma of severe brain injury with my cousin only two years ago. And she was so much smaller. Falling onto concrete. Without a helmet.

They did test after test. Woke her every hour. And beyond possibility there is no sign of internal injury anywhere. No brain damage. No broken bones. No teeth gone. Just a huge black eye and chin. A swollen face. A large infected cut in her mouth and round her teeth. Nowhere that will visibly scar. And no emotional trauma for her.

I feel sick each time we go down our road. Each cookie cutter house with the same two upstairs windows. The same concrete path. And I know, though it sounds too corny to be true, that the only way she survived that fall is that she was cushioned by angels wings. And we have been surrounded by them too in the form of friends and family, in our days of recovery since, as we help heal her body and our parent souls, from the nightmare of almost.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unfurling - in pictures

An exhibition of painting by Lucy Pearce

“Much art seeks to recreate what is plainly seen in the outside world. I paint the inner world of dreams and imagination – in a language which is deeply personal, and yet universal. Symbols emerge which speak the language of the soul – the moon, spirals, trees, feathers, birds, tribal women, mandalas... Colours shimmer and swirl: there is a sense of flow and meditative movement in my paintings that both energises and demands contemplation from the viewer.
The Rainbow mama presides
“Using a multi-layered intuitive painting technique, I build up layer upon layer of rainbow colour: my paintings evolve from abstraction to dreamlike imagery. Painted in acrylics with my fingers in the main, but also brushes, sponges, and printed with pens, lids and even Lego bricks.

“This is my first professional exhibition, having not painted for ten years.  In six months 40 paintings emerged – a number of which have already been sold in the UK and Ireland. This exhibition marks my own creative unfurling.”

From Barry Egan in the Sunday Independent:  

"Stephen told me proudly that his talented daughter Lucy is having an exhibition in the old pottery at Shanagarry starting this Friday and running for the month of August. The 32-year-old, who has given Stephen three grandchildren, is now "in full flight - writing and publishing her own books and painting."

Talent seems to spring eternal in Shanagarry. The apple never falls far from the potter's wheel, or what?"

Lucy Pearce is a writer, painter and creative facilitator. The mother of three young children and daughter of Stephen Pearce, she lives in Shanagarry, Co. Cork.

She is currently better known for her written work as a freelance writer and editor (Irish Examiner, Modern Mum, Juno magazine). Her first book, Moon Time, was published in March 2012.

The exhibition opened Friday 3rd August 6.30pm and will run for the month of August.

Part of women's group, before they got too sloshed!
"Leonora" from my post "Lessons from an elder"
The psychedelic peacock at the top was sold to Santa!!
My first beautiful creation
2 more of my beautiful creations
One of my very first buyers - cheers Rob!
Most of women's group at the end of the evening - another of my very proud creations!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

What a blast: view from the other side of my fears

Miracles start to happen when you put as much energy into your dreams as you do into your fears.
Richard Wilkins

I had my first art exhibition last night. (photos to come later!)

I still find it hard to believe.

Not even six months ago I was physically in terror of risking painting. Only in the past month have I gotten up the courage to start a sketchbook again.

Mr DA will have lost count of the amount of times in the past three months that I have definitively stated that I cannot, will not do this exhibition.

I really enjoyed the evening, which was hugely well attended. 3 paintings sold, a number of others are under consideration. A couple of copies of my book and buckets loads of cards (available from here).

I planned it, thanks to everything I have learnt over the past year writing Moon Time, according to my menstrual cycle ( ovulation) and the moon ( full) to ensure I had my own full energy resources behind me and enhanced and supported by the moon's pull.

It was also Lunasadh - the time to reap the summers havest. And 2 days off seven years since I became a mother, 8 since I became a wife, that I let myself out of the bag to all who know me.

It felt like a very powerful initiation to see how far I have come in this past eight years. My own personal initiation into creative rainbow mama hood. Perhaps that is why I could not finish the book, which I realised last week when I spoke to Lynn Andrews needs to take the form and spiritual energy of an initiation.

I felt cradled in the love and support of all my friends and family cradling me. I was delighted that I was not on show for press and could just connect heart to heart.

There were two special conversations that stay with me. Both with people whom the Universe rather than I invited. The first was with a far out therapist and wild man who has been in my family's life for a long time. He has eyes that penetrate your soul and make you feel as naive as a child, a growling deep voice like and earthquake. A beard which states he is a man of wild places and breath heavily perfumed with ganja. "these paintings come from a deep place" he said "I can really feel that and I honour that." he said lots more which touched me deeply but I cannot recall words.

The other conversation was with a very strafe character. I often wonder if she is real, but others seem to see her. She is the closest to a mouthpiece/ archetypal counsellor from the Universe who has ever fallen into my life. Anyway our paths first crossed in February. This was our third meeting. "hazel told me she was going to Lucys exhibition, she said, and I thought it must be a different Lucy" - ( I've had this before when someone saw these posters up all over the place for lots of interesting sounding classes, in creative writing and drama and yoga and couldn't believe when the same name -mine- was at the bottom. We met at the food writing course, the first copies of my book were about to arrive. I had not yet started to paint. Her jaw just kept on dropping when I told her that not only had I started painting just after we first met, but that I was also teaching blogging at the Cookery School, and was being paid to help Darina start her own blog. Her chin was nearly touching the floor by that point.

And so, dear readers, that is how I feel too, right now. Very proud of myself! I cannot begin to tell you the amount of major, major, major blocks I have blasted through to get to this point today.

Thank you, thank you to each and every one who has sat and listened to me do battle with them. I know how tedious I can be, how draining it can be to be immersed in the seemingly endless waves of anothers' negativity. To everyone who has held me, comforted me, practically supported me. Thank you.

Now do this for yourselves. Break the walls of your own fears and I will be here as doula to your dreams, holding your hand, listening to your fears and cheering you on the other side as one who knows.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Preparing to Show Myself

So my exhibition is tomorrow.

And it feels like it is a literal exhibition of myself. Which many people think I am good at doing. But honestly though it all looks good on the night, the emotional toll it takes out of me is always disproportionate.

But there are always multiple ways to look at things it seems. So when people ask me - "are you feeling excited about your exhibition?"

My response is - oh, excitement is another valid emotional response to this experience - rather than my predominant sensations of shit scared, anxious and WTF-am-I-doing-what-was-so-bad-about-writing-boring-articles-about weaning-or-being-a-stay-at-home-mama-for-that-matter.

So I am doing a little mental reframing. Coz I realised that all these people who are giving up their Friday night to come and drink free bubbles. They could be going out to dinner, clubbing, having sex, waxing their bikini lines, watching Big Brother. But instead they are coming to see my paintings because:
a) they love (or at least like) me
b) they want to support me
c) they are curious as to what I've been up to and what my art might look like
d) they might, potentially consider buying something (this is my favourite option)
e) they like free drinks

But not the following points, which are what revolve round my head:
f) she can't paint
g) they're over priced
h) are those HER tits? ( I have already been asked if they are self portraits - yup, my breasts are so pert after 3 kids that they nearly touch my chin, and they have those swirly nipple things too, for real!)
i) next she's going to be painting vaginas (umm, I have, they're just hidden behind the filing cabinet!)

About 80 people invited. But NO posters up. No press releases. I already feel like I'm going to be riding through our local area butt naked. I cannot begin to tell you how exposed I feel. Most people round here paint cows. Or cliffs. Or normal shit. And write books about local history or something.

So you see, it's a top-secret exhibition. I thought I'd just show off my tits to all my friends and family. And random pottery customers who stumble across them on the way to the loos.

I shall save the press releases for my minge show I think!!


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