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Saturday, 9 March 2013

A Birdie Singing In My Heart.


 Where am I now?

In bed.  It is 10am and the sun is shining through my window.  Beside me is a breakfast tray.



Before me is a day that, last week, would have seemed daunting in the extreme.  Behind me is a time of rethinking, reconnection and extreme exhaustion.  I am in my bed, and I am fine.  I shall get up at some point, and the things that I shall do today that last week would have made me despair and collapse, are the following.  1.  Have a bath.  2. Iron a skirt.  3.  Buy a birthday card for daughter.  4.  Drive an hour to Alan's, with reluctant Boy Giant, and go to a party.  Even now, if I could stay in bed and not do anything, I would.  But a little birdie in my heart has begun to sing, and it is singing about joining the world again.  I am in bed and though I am still tired enough to stay here, for many more days and nights, I am becoming curious again about how that world out there, is doing.  I drop off the radar for a little while to hide, but the traffic still passes on the road outside, day and night, carrying people who have not stepped off the merrygoround, carrying on with their lives despite whatever may be happening in mine.  I shall iron a very flouncy frilly skirt today, and wear it with a view to dancing tonight.  Perhaps.  Dancing is a little extreme, I feel, as I sit here in my bed.  Despite the birdie singing in my heart, I think that just to arrive at Alan's with Giant Boy will be enough. 

Where I have been  

Mostly, I have been horizontal.  It has been a time of silence and resting and a bit more.  It has been a time of doubt, emptiness and fear.  It has been a time of not knowing, a time of stopping.  I have been running full tilt at too many things. I have wanted to be a part of so many things all of which are terribly important, at all of which I must be present, and all of which are galloping off in different directions at the same time.  It is not possible to run after each and every one of these things.  It was as if someone had dropped a box of little rubber balls and I was there, at ground level, determined to pursue each and every little rubber ball as it bounced and rolled off into infinity, with equal determination and passion for each rubber ball project.  Well, a thousand projects, a thousand and one commitments, a million pulls on my time, and only one little me - it was only a matter of time before I fell over and could not get back up again.  And so, a few weeks ago, I ended up fast tracked into hospital.  I remember as I was told I must not walk and put into a wheelchair and wheeled to a bed, that it was rather nice to be not in control any more.  It was rather nice not to be able to answer the phone nor talk to anyone, and that I was to not even walk.  I did know, deep in my heart, that I was not ill   I did know that it was a collapse of body and mind, and that it was long overdue.  A wake up call, you may say.  A go to sleep call, I say. 

And so it turned out.  I am to take time off and rest.  It has been hard to stop the wheels turning, and hard to decide to pull out of things.  Hard to make the phone calls, hard to be not the mega efficient whirlygig I thought I was.  It has been hard to stop the frantic bustle of being all things and every thing and telling myself it is necessary.  It is not necessary. 

So I lay down these last few weeks and let the full effects of just being me descend upon me.  I have been paralysed with exhaustion.  There were no distractions, and no escapes.  It was a lonely, sad, empty place to be.  I did get up and do things, I did go to London to see the Manet exhibition, I went to see Anita Moorjani speak, but I carried with me a feeling of not existing, of being laid bare, of being nothing.  My pain was not being really there, here, in this world, at all.  Not being much more than a whisp of smoke.  Where was Antonia? Had she ever been there at all?  If there was nothing to be excessively busy about, did she exist?  And worst of all, I had no desire to even enter my studio.  It didn't belong to me any more, it was part of a mirage that was no longer me.  I was a puff of vapour, I was a person of no substance.  My soul, my mind, my body, had unwound, flown away, and left me a shadow that could only watch as they drifted off.

It is a feature, I think, of these feelings, to imagine that you are alone.  In all of this, I was not alone.  Alan, my friends, and my family all stepped in and did not let me believe that I was mere smoke, nor empty and alone.  It is not that you are empty and see though now, they said, it is that you have been stretched so tight and thin that we could no longer see you then.  Now, you are coming back to your self.  We like this.  You will like this.  Have patience, have faith, we will not let you go.  My mother said, be quiet my love, and listen to your heart.  And it is in my heart, in my chest, that the trouble started, with not being able to breathe properly, and having a mildly unbalanced heart trace.  Listening to my heart has been the most difficult and the most wonderful piece of advice.  I am in my heart, I do know who I am, and it is my heart that I have been afraid of.  And so today, when I awoke and the birdie was singing in my heart, I know that I am back.

Where I am going. 

Apart from going to a party in a flouncy newly ironed skirt with Alan, I am going to start again.  I am an artist.  That is what I am.  All things that I do come from that.  I am not a community leader, I am not a nurse, I am not a campaigner I am not a million different things and and artist.  I can be all of those things if I am not an artist, but I am not all of them all at the same time.  As an artist, I am going to concentrate on my art.  My A Graceful Death exhibition is my passion, it holds all of the things that I love, and that is what I will do.  From that, I will paint, write, practice my Soul Midwifery, heal, learn, and be inspired.  I am going to stay within my own heart and from there I will do less, and be more.