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Sarah Hirst - disability arts online
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Talk to the mop! / 7 November 2012

I have been really busy today getting people to talk to my mop....maybe further explanation is needed!

It started about 2 weeks ago when after a tutorial I was experiementing in uni with filming myself trying to explore how to show, through film, my everyday feelings and how I hide my feelings. It's only been since September that I have started to tell people that I have BPD, even my husband didn't know my true diagnosis but I feel that i wanted to share with him my condition.

Someone said it was like I was 'coming out' and I sort of like that idea. I feel less alone now he knows and one day I hope I can share with more close friends. My family aren't very comfortable with talking about my mental health but are extremely supportive which I totally appreciate.  

Anyway.... back to 2 weeks ago....  After my filming was going from bad to dire, I went to the loo and when I came out I saw a mop that the cleaner had propped up in a bucket. I sighed, and said 'what am I doing?!, I don't know what to do next', at that point the realisation of the situation dawned on me that I was ACTUALLY talking to a mop. I thought "I COULD TALK TO A MOP!!!" and picked up the mop and bucket and carried it to my filming area and took some footage of me just talking to the mop.

I realised that after I felt happier (not sure the mop did!) to offload my worries and thoughts and didn't need it to advise me, just to listen. This made me think about how many people just want someone/something to talk to. So my mop project was born! I thought I would buy a mop and give people the opprtunity to share their thoughts and worries. This week I was given the opportunity to explore my mop project as part of a community arts event in the city centre, so today I went!

I was really nervous, and after a train journey with my mop I made it to the city centre and to the art event tent. It was hard to approach people to start with but soon got up the courage and people were intrigued by the tent and approached us. I explained that people could share their thoughts through a film interview or just write down on a piece of paper what they wanted to share with the mop.  

I was surprised by the openess of some. The second person who came into the tent was really open about talking to me. He had just recieved a diagnosis of bi-polar yesterday and was worried about the effects and having his girlfriend supporting him financially when he should be 'the breadwinner'. We talked for a while and then he said 'I feel better after doing all this' (meaning the drawing project running alongside and the mop). That made my whole project worth it.  

That is what I wanted, just for my mop to make someone feel better.  There were 13 people all together who spoke to the mop in my 3 hour stint, and that guy and a homeless ex-army man has stuck in my mind.  He came out the army 5 years ago and been on the streets since. We talked for about 10 minutes and I explained about the serious side to my mop and he said people don't talk to him.  

I hope for that 10 minutes he felt I did listen and his words were important to me.  I was pleased with the outcome and I have the chance to go again to the art project tomorrow so hopefully I can make it. Coming down with a cold today which has been hanging up my nose for a week so tomorrow would be sods law for it to kick in!  But hopefully I will be ok and will get to take my mop out again :-) 

Apologies for the lengthy blog and hope someone stuck with it to the end lol!