Staying afloat in a Pandemic

Disclaimer: This post is about mental health and the pandemic. The next post should be about art again. 

This year has been hard for everyone , myself included. I really wanted to embrace the community – moved onto the internet to hold us over until the pandemic was finished but it just made things feel harder. It made me feel lonelier. It made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough, I just wasn’t capable. It made me feel like an outcast.

I’ve struggled with feeling lonely a lot of my life and it became much worse when I left the marines. Honestly, I have never struggled as hard feeling like I was a part of a community as I did in the first few years after I got home. I’ve now been out for over 8 years and I still long for that safeness. The military sets you up with this camaraderie that has been hard for me to find elsewhere, but the SCA came the closest. The art community and the fighting community gave me the sort of family I was longing for. When the pandemic happened, it felt like the hole I felt in 2013 was ripped open again.

Then I went through a difficult break-up. Then I started a new job, caring for (high risk for covid) people with traumatic brain injuries. Shortly after I suffered actual loss, when my cousin passed away in the most tragic and heartbreaking way. Then military #metoo happened and that opened new wounds, deeper wounds that I had been ignoring for so long. Then there was George Floyd and taking deep looks at myself to find my role as an ally. And the pandemic just kept going on and on and on..

I tried to stay engaged in the SCA but I felt the distance. I did the couple of scrolls assigned to me but struggled to even make it to the post office to send them out. I did a gift exchange, which was rewarding but felt like such a small thing in such a dark time. 

And now, the SCA is starting to become live again and it’s hard to imagine where I fit in. It feels hard to believe that I didn’t lose everything I had worked for from when I joined the society until the pandemic. How many friendships were dissolved? How many poisoned? 

The good news though, is I am going to try and I’m also going to work on myself. I’m going to finally start therapy and try to get a hold on my anxiety. I’m trying to get better and find my place in the world, as impossibly hard as that feels. 

So, if you have noticed a lack of embla in the last year+ you aren’t imagining it. I hope that I can come back and find my place in things again. I hope to be posting more art and posting about my fighting. I hope to feel the love and warmth of the community again. 

Until then, watch my blog for some art posts. I have a few coming down the line. 

Lots of love —

embla signoff

Silver Brooch for Alienor Hathaway

This assignment was for someone I had never met (but I have since met!) She is a musician that had been playing in the SCA for a fairly long time but was newish to the East Kingdom. From what I was told, she is very passionate about all things bardic and often is taking classes, teaching classes, visiting bardic circles and encouraging others. I met her for the first time in person recently while she was at a bardic class that was next to the classroom I was teaching my scribal class! 

The inspiration piece I chose was a 16th century choirbook from the Netherlands. I choose a choirbook from this time period because her persona information in the assignment said either 12th century English or Tudor. I went with the latter because a Tudor era choirbook seemed extra appropriate (even if I did not put actual music in this assignment.) 

The not so good: I am still working on small cadels and flourishing to make letters and names stand out. The red definitely makes the important parts stand out (and bonus, it’s pretty appropriate for this style scroll) but I think I need to work on my flourishes to make them fit in better. 

The good: I really enjoy doing this style scroll. I wasn’t sure how it would be without the gold background (on the right side of the piece) but I think it came together nicely. What I really like about it is that even though it’s simple, it looks complete. 

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Materials: gouache, iron gall ink by Ian the Green, and Calli red ink on Bristol

Words by Nicol mac Donnchaidh (amazing as always)

Source: Royal 8 G vii

Welcome!

These things are always really hard to start. At least the very first post because probably some of you know me already because I’ve told you I’m starting a blog so introducing myself seems tedious. But, perhaps there are some that stumbled onto this page through wordpress recomendations or seeing a friend of a friend like it and… maybe you want to know what this is all about. So as a compromise, I’m going to introduce myself but keep it short and sweet.

My name is Embla and I’ve been doing sca things for about a year and a half now. I live in Malagentia with my dog Leona.  I have many passions and there are too many amazing things to explore to focus on just one. So I find myself darting between a wide variety of things such as calligraphy and illumination, lampworking (beads or most recently game pieces), pottery, sewing, the very beginnings of weaving, archery, fighting heavy list, and exploring cut & thrust. There may be things I’m missing that I’ll bring up later!

Mundanely, I’m a neuroscience student on my last year of undergraduate studies. After I graduate I hope to go to graduate school and eventually focus on helping those with substance use disorder. All this sometimes makes balancing “real life” and “sca life” difficult but I try my best to manage 🙂

So now that I’ve introduced myself, I’m going to go start updating some posts with some projects I’ve done recently! Thanks for being here! ❤

embla signoff