Photo by Niamh Barry
A really confusing time >>Video>>
I had studied music for four years. About two weeks after I left college I moved to Berlin; an opportunity came up to have a room there and I thought, “Why not? I’ll go for the summer and I’ll write loads of music”. I got to Berlin and I hit this wall where I actually didn’t want to do anything relating to music very much at all and that was very strange because my identity was so tied up in this thing I did. I suddenly felt, “Well if I don’t want to do this then who am I and what do I like to do and what do I spend my time doing?” I had already invested so much time in music. It just was really confusing.
In my head again >>Video>>
For the first few months it was amazing in Berlin. I wasn’t doing music and I was letting myself explore all these other avenues (which was mostly sitting in a park, drinking a beer with my friends and not doing a whole lot at all) but by autumn and winter I was definitely finding myself in a place where things I had previously ignored, because I was so busy, were in my head again.
I’ve always been someone who’s dealt with anxiety, depression and emotional waves – I feel things very intensely and I’ve always had this narrative of, “I’m just someone who feels a lot”.
Towards the end of that first year in Berlin when I had a little bit more space, I decided to try to go to therapy again. I had been in therapy previously but not for any long period of time – it was something to explore certain problems at certain times of my life but I had never really gone any deeper.
I met this amazing therapist in Berlin called Chrystal. That was just transformative for me in terms of learning more about myself and this label I had given myself of someone who just feels a lot.
Highly sensitive >>Video>>
Chrystal was able to give me insight into the type of person called a Highly Sensitive Person. It’s a thing that I never knew about and apparently 20% of the population could be categorized as this. It’s just a different way of processing the world and how you feel.
It was such a relief understanding this. I thought, “Oh of course I’d react to a situation like that then. There’s nothing necessarily wrong, I’m not just dramatic”.
For example, I always felt like I could feel what other people were going through around me. I don’t mean knowing what they’re thinking – just knowing someone’s mood and feeling like I could help and wanting to help. This feeling of being highly empathetic was so exhausting. Sometimes if you’re really aware of other people, you’re not aware of what’s going on inside yourself. I now understood why it was important to put up boundaries and say to myself, “That’s not my feeling to fix, that’s not my thing to take on”. I no longer felt like I had to give so much of myself to people.
Making a connection with a therapist is hard to do a lot of the time but worth waiting for. I always came away from these sessions with Chrystal feeling very full – it was thought-provoking. I wanted to ask myself questions and I was always learning something new. Someone was now reminding me of my own strengths and I was allowing myself to see them and I was cultivating that in myself.
Also the book Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity by Imi Lo was really thought-provoking for me, I highly recommend it.
Helped me as an artist >>Video>>
Going to therapy and the sessions with Chrystal massively helped me as an artist. I was redefining why I was doing something and where I was motivating myself from.
In the past my music was so tied to my own identity. If music wasn’t going well, then I wasn’t doing well and if it was going well, then I’m the best person in the world. That’s a huge swing of emotions when your inner world is so based on how your outside world is doing.
Now I’ve been able to disconnect. I now see music as more of a project and business that I run and I can see what it does and what the live shows do for people. I can speak about it outside of myself and I’ve learned to get my sense of worth from other places and from myself. That was a big thing for me. Rewiring those wires.
Less anxious >>Video>>
Ways of implementing things into your daily life, whether it’s periods of rest, things that give you joy – these are like little bamboo shoots that hold you up. Even though it sounds like the most basic thing, when you are going through a period of anxiety and depression it’s often not as bad because you’ve already put these things in place for your future self who’s going through this. It helps you feel a little bit more supported and less anxious.
I love to swim, it gets me out of my head; if I get into my body it’s always a plus. Writing or journaling for me really helps; I think everyone finds their own thing.
I’ve always written to myself in journals even when I was young. I’d always write, “Maria we have to start doing more of this” – that kind of language or, “You know what you want to be doing, c’mon”. When I’m in that headspace I like to write it down and it’s nice to find it at a later day when you’re maybe not feeling so motivated and you’re like, “Ugh past Maria, she was really on it”. I think I’ve always done that in some form.
Postcards became this thing for me around 2018 when I moved to Berlin, I used to put these postcards on my socials for people who were listening to my music. It was just what I was up to and I always liked them as an image, as a visual thing.
I love the idea of connecting with someone in quite a short little message – there’s only so much you can fit – you have to say the important stuff. I always thought they were a wholesome way of connecting with people so it felt like a good fit for my next project.
Postcards In-Between >>Video>>
Postcards In-Between is a project which has grown lots of legs over the last few months. I’ve asked 12 artists to write a postcard to a version of themselves whether in the past, present or future and we’ve decided to exhibit the postcards on April 30th and May 1st in Universal Space in partnership with Minding Creative Minds.
Something old but new
Along with the exhibition, there are some alternative versions of tracks from my album coming out and we’re also doing some tour dates in May around Ireland and one in London. It’s mostly playing the album again but giving it this new lease of life. When I released the album last year I got to play a few gigs but not as many as I would have liked with lockdown so I wanted to create something old but new. I’m really excited about this project and can’t wait to properly tour the album.
Postcards In-Between Exhibition
April 30th – May 1st
Free entry, 12pm – 6pm
Universal Space, 65 Strand St. Great. Dublin 1
Postcards In-Between Panel & Performance
Saturday, April 30th @ 7pm
Universal Space, 65 Strand St. Great. Dublin 1
Postcards In-Between Tour
Sat 7th May – Dublin – Whelan’s Main Room
Sun 8th May – Galway – Róisín Dubh
Fri 13th May – Limerick, The Record Room
Sun 15th May – Cork, Winthrop Avenue
Wed 1st June – London, Servant Jazz Quarters
Remember, if you’re a member of the Irish music industry, you can talk to a counsellor free of charge at any time of the day or night. Simply call the phone number below.