Monday, September 26, 2016

Brighton


Back in July I went to Brighton for a few days. Honestly, it was an odd trip for me, and I've put off blogging about it for ages because I felt like I should write some 100% cheerful and positive post, and I just didn't feel that way.


I think the main issue was that I just wasn't in a very good place at the time. I was feeling pretty rubbish and frustrated with a lot of my life, I'd slipped back into my old people pleasing ways and wasn't putting myself first, and I'd put far too much pressure on myself. And sometimes those feelings follow you, however far you run from them.  Added to that, it was peak season in Brighton, so it was packed with people. I'm fairly introverted and find crowds and lots of noise difficult to deal with, so my strange mood mixed with lots of people wasn't the best combination. Just to pile on even more misery, I got very badly sunburned and friction burned (don't mess with waves and pebble beaches!) on my first day in Brighton, which plagued me for the rest of the trip. So it certainly wasn't all perfect and positive.


But I did make it to March of the Mermaids. The parade was really fun, and ticked something off my 101 in 1001 list. It was also a really body positive experience as I was surrounded by fabulously dressed merpeople of all sizes, shapes and ages.


My costume was somewhat more understated than planned after my original costume went wrong, but I got something together at the last minute which I think ended up looking pretty good. Overall it was a rather mixed experience as I had such high (impossibly high!) hopes of making friends with dozens of people and having a spectacular costume and doing all the after parties, which didn't happen. But I'm glad I went anyway, and I did meet a few fabulous merpeople from the UK Merpod group, and got to hang out with Emily, so that was good.


Sometimes, even if you're in a bad mood, it's still good to be in a bad mood somewhere with new sights to see and places to explore.


Even in the mist of gloom there are little flashes of light, like seeing the bandstand all decked out for a wedding-I actually saw the couple saying their vows from the beach!


And it ended up that there were some wonderful moments on this trip. My partner came to join me partway through my stay, and along with Emily we went to see the Folklore, Magic and Mysteries: Modern Witchcraft and Folk Culture in Britain exhibition. It was displayed in the beautiful and slightly spooky setting of Preston Manor, an Edwardian manor house, which we also explored.


The exhibition was made up of pieces from Doreen Valiente's collection, and it was a really special experience for me. Even though I'm not Wiccan myself, seeing her altar set up and her tools and writings, along with Gerald Gardner's Book of Shadows, really reassured me about my own practice and reminded me why I'm on my particular spiritual path. I think it was particularly poignant for me to see the artifacts of the life of a very spiritually powerful and attuned woman. The timing couldn't really have been any more perfect.


My partner had never been to Brighton before, so that evening we set out to explore in the fading light. We wandered along the beach for a long time, close to the water's edge. It was quiet and beautiful. 


We walked through the lamp lit Pavilion Gardens in the dark, and saw the Pavilion glowing in pastel colours. I can never decide whether I like the Pavilion better at night or in the daylight.


We wandered back along the beach in the blackness, watching the twinkling lights of the Pier. 


The final day didn't start off well-we walked all the way to the Booth Museum only for them to close for lunch just as we approached the doors. My sunburn was really painful so walking for ages in the heat and then getting nothing at the end of it was even more irritating than usual. But we took the opportunity to wander around the more residential parts of Brighton, found a couple of pretty parks, and found our way to Anna's Museum, which I had wanted to see for ages.


It was such a gem! It ended up being one of the highlights of the trip, and we spent a long time perusing all the strange and wonderful items from the pavement.


The weather for our last day was absolutely gorgeous, so we went back to the beach and braved paddling in the waves. Despite the beautiful sunshine the water was very cold! 


We ended the day with a ride on the quaint and slightly bizarre Volk's Electric Railway, which was another thing I had been wanting to do for ages. It ended up being a strange but interesting mini adventure where we saw another side of Brighton, and I really enjoyed the train ride.

I felt like this whole trip was an important lesson in going with the flow. The parts I planned too much or put too much pressure on ended up not happening or being disappointing when they did happen. The parts where I just let myself be and didn't worry so much about what I should be doing ended up being the most enjoyable parts, even if they went a bit wrong or weren't what I had originally planned. Even if it wasn't a perfect, entirely happy break, it was a really good learning experience for me and helped me clarify a lot of what I was feeling uneasy about. So I'm still pleased I went, and I still had some moments I will always treasure. I think that's another lesson I had to learn-things don't have to be perfect for there to still be some good in there. Yes. That's it.

5 comments:

  1. March of the Mermaids sounds like a delightful event, but I know the feeling of hoping to make friends and then not getting there at all.
    But Brighton really seems like a nice place (I love the foggy first picture!) and that bandstand is absurdly pretty!

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  2. I know how you feel about over planning and expecting too much just to be disappointed later, it sucks so hard. Brighton is weird, I live so close but really can't fit in with the vibe there, especially in the summer, it's so touristy at times and so, too much, you know?
    But, such lovely photos, especially of the sea mist, you captured it superbly.

    erin | words and pictures

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  3. I find your honesty wonderfully refreshing, especially as someone who always beats themselves up for not enjoying things the way I think I should and feeling guilty if I dont keep up pretence all the time!

    Well done and please keep up these wonderful posts!

    Soo

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  4. The witchcraft exhibition and mermaid walk sound great. I also struggle with social anxiety and introversion so I know how it feels.

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  5. Really lovely post Polly. I really appreciate your honesty and sincerity in talking about the not-so-perfect aspects, I feel like there can be so much pressure to blog about trips in a kind of "EVERYTHING IS SO PERFECT" way and of course that's not always how life is. Volk's has been on my to-do list for a while, as has Anna's Museum, but I've not yet found the time to visit both properly. The exhibition sounds incredible! I also love your mermaid costume, even if it wasn't what you first envisaged.

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