The Celebrant Behind It All!
So, this is my first blog post and rather scarily it’s about me and who I am… which pushes me well over to the uncomfortable side of the ‘comfort’ zone, but here goes… I’m Jill, well actually I’m Elizabeth but nobody calls me that and if they do I normally ignore them completely not realising it's me they're after (whoops and sorry!), currently living in South Cheshire with my rather fab daughter and her equally as great husband! We intergenerationally co-habit a little annex attached to my parent’s house, complicated but, for now, workable (most of the time)!
Approaching my sixth decade (where did that go? If anyone finds it please let me have it back!) and having re-invented myself several times, I still find that my abiding dilemma when having to fill in form is what to put when it asks, ‘occupation?’... I’ll try and explain…
I’m a creative and creatives are transient but I’m also a Taurus and they like structure and stability which can lead to internal conflict and maybe I won’t quite ever feel I’ve found where I want to be, but where I’ve ended up, building a compassionate, personal and creative #Celebrancy business is certainly starting to feel like a great fit!
So, I began as a #dancer, training at vocational college with the Royal Academy of Dance and The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. I’m also quite tall, 5’11”, and when I graduated in the late 1980’s I stood like a Llama in Sheep at any audition I attended, often not even getting the chance to dance. I filled my post college time by advancing my training into teaching qualifications and teaching in the family #Ballet School where I went on to open my own branch. I eventually got a couple of breaks into the performance business world, working with Bill Kenwright, The Gandey Organisation (Circus), Granada Studios, and the BBC, eventually ending up in a Repertory Company in Manchester.
Anyway, you don’t want a full CV so let’s cut out about thirty years!
Life chucked several impacting and nasty curve balls, but did I mention as well as liking structure, a #Taurus is notoriously stubborn?! And try as they might, these plot twists haven’t broken me (quite) yet, so with the support of my daughter, here I am… older, definitely. Wiser, hopefully! I’ve collected many scars and more creaking bones than a dinosaur skeleton but ready with sleeves rolled up to embrace the future, live my life as I intended and be as good of a human as I can be.
I take solace in #nature, the #sea, a #woodland, bird song and simple pleasures like our dog and other animals, sitting around a fire, son-in-law playing away on the guitar, being around friends, telling stories and pure belly laughs… I hope people leave my company feeling enriched in some way… connected…
… and I found Celebrancy! I quickly realised that as a professional #actor and #storyteller, I loved working with individuals and families to create perfect ways to mark ceremonies within life’s journey but, surprising myself, I found tremendous fulfilment in working with families that have been bereaved - spending time with them at their most raw and vulnerable to plan their loved one’s final send off and support them through their grief. I have trained extensively to work with poor mental health and have now trained as a #Bereavement Counsellor and always try and find a balance with my families between respect and remembrance, humour, and the understanding that it’s alright to grieve in different ways.
On the flip side of the coin are the family celebrations of couple making and wonderful nature inspired Celtic #Handfastings, vow renewals and naming ceremonies… how lucky am I to be afforded this privilege!
So, I continue to write and tell stories, to act professionally, to devise workshops, tours and projects, to be in different time zones as a historical interpreter and to develop as a never standing still creative always on the lookout for the next outlet, but nothing beats the honour of being approached to help celebrate an event or commemorate a loved one! Keep an eye out for my next #blog post, I’ll be writing these blogs posts as a sort of resource for those who need it, whether that’s tips and useful connections for planning a handfasting or helpful knowledge that can ease grief. The internet can be big and scary but it is also a great way to stay #connected and through these blog posts I hope to do that!