Letting yourself be seen so that you can create things for others to see
When I started this blog I wrote 8 steps to digging yourself out of a creative hole. Step number 8 was “be honest” – it was about owning your thoughts and feelings and not hiding. How can you put yourself into your creative work if you cannot be yourself with others around you? It makes sense; easier said than done though.
My first step to being honest was to put my name to the blog and put a little bit about me in the info section. I told my husband and friends and family that it was me doing the blog – it was hard because it meant that I knew they could read any of the stuff I wrote and have their own opinions about it – some of which might not always be positive.
But I got stuck there. I couldn’t put a photo of myself up and couldn’t decide what other personal information I wanted to add. In a way I knew that depending on which photo and which info I put up – people would get very different stories about who Trudy Meehan is. For example – I have wavy unruly hair; if I blow dry my hair it is straight and very shiny but if I don’t it is curly and frizzy. In terms of personal information – on one hand I am a Clinical Psychologist with two doctorates from Trinity College, Dublin; on the other I am a woman trying to make a family of my own and at the same time trying to find ways to be creative and do the things that make my heart happy. I don’t know which story is more me or which picture more accurately reflects who I am and to be honest I don’t want to be tied down to one version of who I am or who I should be.
But I do want to share my journey to find wings and share my writing and artwork – so…I need to put a little more of myself out there so here it is…some photos of me and some more personal information. BUT it comes with a disclaimer – these are just the current and most prominent versions of me at the moment, I have a right to emphasise other aspects of myself or downgrade these present aspects at any time.
I trained as a Clinical Psychologist in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and worked for seven years in the public health service in psychiatric hospitals. I also completed a research PhD in Trinity on racism and the media in Ireland – it looks at how newspapers construct foreigners as objects of racism.
In primary school I was never the cleverest kid. I hated (envied) the clever kids and it seemed they had parents who sat at home in the evenings pouring information into their heads like their spellings and their timetables. Darren Ryan always knew his tables and could say them off at lightning speed – I still envy him and I still have trouble with maths.
My primary school teacher introduced a reading system to help us kids learn to read and I hated that too. It was colour coded and we had to read a set of books and answer a set of questions based on the readings before we could move up to the next colour. I was a slow reader and didn’t progress very quickly, but I had common sense and soon learned that I could cheat. If I looked at the question page first, I could scan the books and find the answers to the questions instead of reading every word on every page J I never read a whole book again, and progressed quickly up the colours keeping pace with the clever fast readers. As a result of that I have always appreciated method and approach over intelligence. I think we don’t need to be clever but we need to find smart and efficient ways to work to achieve our goals.
I still cannot spell and am terrible at maths. I am a Senior Lecturer in Psychology now and on a daily basis I have to explain to students when I write on the white board that I simply cannot spell and they will have to tell me when I make typos or spelling errors.
I emigrated from Ireland to South Africa in 2010. My husband is South African and he missed home and the economic situation in Ireland was tanking. I had the opportunity to move from clinical practice in a hospital to teaching in a university and I liked the idea of that. But being an emigrant is difficult. I have a brilliant family – people who I genuinely like not just love and I miss them all the time. I am trying to get pregnant currently but I have Lupus which makes things complicated. I value family and hope I can have one of my own but feel like I have been very lucky to have had the fantastic nieces and nephews and grand niece I have – so if I never have kids of my own I know I have gotten to share in the lives of 11 amazing young people and watch them grow.
I am hyperactive and giddy and love to play and be creative. But I also like quiet and my own space and am sarcastic and critical. I have a dark sense of humour. I have lots of self doubts but I try to be brave and seldom let doubt or fear stop me doing anything. I am never certain of anything and am always asking questions and wondering.