Some years ago, I found a small book in a charity shop. It was called How to Find Fulfilling Work. I was searching for just such advice.
I was at a bit of a crossroads. I had given up working full-time as a graphic designer in Dublin to become a stay at home mum, receiving social welfare, in the wilds of West Cork. I wished to re-start my career but wanted it to work for me. One of the exercises the book suggested was to create a Map of Choices. This map is designed to help you reflect on where you have come from, to ascertain if your decisions were motivated by talents, passions or values. Below is my map from that time.
Some time in her early 30s, Peg faced her own crossroads. Her relationship with Mr Lawless was over. Their five children had died. Once again she was alone. Once again she was looking for financial security. If, at this stage, she had created a Map of Choices it may have looked like this:
Peg could have found work in a shop, or perhaps as a domestic servant. But these options were not the best use of her natural talents and life-skills. She decided to open a brothel with her good friend Sally Hayes. She says:
Giving myself up entirely to a round of pleasure, and admitting much company, I soon found my little house too small to entertain them. I therefore, took a large one in Drogheda-street, and Sally Hayes lived with me. I hired a handsome chariot, and we dashed away, cared for nobody, wanted for nothing, had numerous presents, frequented every public amusement, were every night at the play superbly dressed, and lived like princesses.
Drogheda Street was the up and coming place to live. Developed by Luke Gardiner, it was renamed Sackville Street and lined with elegant homes around a central mall for the new, wealthy citizens of the area to display their finery.
When I think about this time in Peg's life I imagine her as a woman stepping into her power. At first I was envisaging a kind of sassy, celebratory arms-akimbo type pose. I was attempting to channel a Birth of Venus/phoenix rising kind of energy, but if I'm honest, what I have achieved is a kind of show-girl popping out of a cake vibe.
Those who read my previous post may remember I have moved away from the above style and am now working with a layered, collage approach. The image below uses golds, pink and coral to convey a sense of joy. Peg is no longer sheltering, shyly in the frame. Instead she has stepped forward. She is out of the shadows and has walked on stage. She looks us straight in the eye. I'm sure she is thinking "Bring it on".