Tuesday, 13 February 2018

I keep writing and writing and writing, here and elsewhere, casting my words out as a thread so that if i get too far lost in the labyrinth that is my mind i have some chance of finding my way out. 
Over the past few days i have begun using movement as a way to explore space. I think i am practicing Butoh, but i don't know much about Butoh, i haven't read or studied the concepts or form, so maybe i'm just moving from what i have learned in life to date. I am negotiating a course between the shadow of death and the ephemeral brilliance of life. 
Casting my line back into my past, as i seek to recall every detail of my life with Jon, i am finding myself up against older memories, shoved away, out back. As i meet these memories through movement my body expands or contracts to meet or evade them. 
It is curious exploration because when i met Jon i loved him so much i let go of my life before him, it was my past, he was my now and, in my dreams, my future. But now he is dead. And however i eventually take in his death his living form will never take part in my todays, or tomorrows. 
It is an odd thing grieving an ex. This is my experience and i can't speak for anyone else but there's an element of shame. That a man who left you is still causing you so much pain marks you out as a fool, a Miss Havisham, a Corpse Bride. An ordinary person would have moved on, forgotten, or at least have enough sense to disguise their feelings. But no, there you are sitting among the remains of your wedding feast, shabby in your wedding gown forever caught in the moment when your dreams got broken. Stuck in limbo. Why didn't you move on ? Why didn't i move on ? What a loser ..
Now, i have no choice, i know how much i loved him because my response when i learned of his dying was so visceral, so wholly unadulterated by decorum, is still so visceral and not yet trapped by manners and/or common need. But now i have no choice but to let go. We will not ever find ourselves face to face in a cafe, we will not ever have the chance to say sorry, to make good mistakes, to look each other in the eye and know that whatever has happened something good still runs between us, the stream of light that courses between two who know and love each other in all their good and bad, as friends of the heart. We will not ever have that heart stopping unexpected encounter walking down the street, at an airport or station, even on a beach that i'd hoped for. I will not ever see him again. I may still feel connected. I do. But he is gone. He is split into pieces. The piece that lives in me. The pieces that live in anyone else who cares to remember him.
Away from Jon, or maybe looking at the air around him. I return to my above mentioned movement practice and also the black and white stones of the previous blog. 
After some days of active movement, yesterday i felt plugged up and glue-y, my head had been chock full of blistering thoughts all day and a part of me didn't want to give myself my hour of movement last night. I was clock watching through the hour, make of that what you will, and my body was leaden. There is an urge to fight through the weight and obligation of a heavy body with fire and forge-through intention but i just didn't have it in me, and being still with my discomfort felt more honest, so i was still and then moved just a little and was still, and then moved just a little, and so on, for a full hour. And here a body memory would flick up like a fish flipping across mud and my body would go with that memory until it met water or sank back into the mud. 
Just as my hour passed, i bind myself to an hour to give myself boundary. I found myself back with my stones. After i blogged on friday, i thought it is interesting to me that the black stone is always in my right hand and the white in my left. I wondered how it would be if i changed them from one hand to the other. In the space set up by the hour before i was able to meet this idea as physical possibility; to hold out my palms with an imaginary stone in each and to pass those stones into the other hand and feel them differently as my more passive hand held the dark stone and my more active hand held the light. After a while and some contemplation i put the stones down to rest and felt the weight of my empty hands held out before me. 
In a life that leads forward, there is no going back. Who knows if this life is the only life led but it is the life i think most us buy into. So only in my imagination can i imagine where the what ifs might have led, with Jon, or any other consolidating or pivotal factor in my life. Imagination is a free spirit and can run where it will but the body i am in is an ageing thing. If nothing else the death of someone much loved brings home the transitory nature of this gift we are given at birth, which is to live, and to live to our fullest until the day we die. Carpe diem. 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Oh boy, i need to blog. I feel i should blog. I want to blog. Because my blogs act as marking points for me. Days, weeks, pass, and my mind goes this way, and then that, every so often i'll find myself on a path that feels like it might lead somewhere, i know these are the beginnings of something and they give me hope, but they don't run for long, and my sense of being lost in fog is still mostly overwhelming.
Thing is, grieving Jon is complicated, just as loving him when he was alive was complicated. The image that keeps coming up in my mind is of two hands - my hands - in one i hold a white stone, this white stone is the easy stuff, the Jon who was easy to love, the me who was easy to love, and in the other hand i hold a black stone, the black stone is the dross, the Jon who was not easy to love, the me who was not easy to love, the nastiness. The black stone is all the fucked up, nightmare, bastard bits of our relationship, and the white stone which i surely want to keep is the wonder and joy and happiness. 
The inclination is to chuck away all but the good but if i did that i'd be living with a half truth, alternatively, and this is not going to happen, i could chuck away the good and think only of the bad, make him out to be a total louse, but that too would be untrue. 
There are parts which i am looking forward to discarding. His family were odd when we were together and were the greatest source of conflict between us. Their manners made me feel like trash, made me feel like i was just another pair of knickers Jon had got into. This is what we fought over, i needed to be allowed self-respect.  Maybe it is vanity to think i wasn't trash, but i do not think i would have such an abiding and strong sense of loving and being loved in return if that narrative was the whole truth.
So I am angry at his family because i feel hurt and put down by them. And i'm frustrated. I don't want to be angry. I want to let go. But I know that locking down feelings and/or trying to pretend they don't exist doesn't make them go away, if anything they get harder and heavier and more deeply entrenched so I'm trying to practice buddha-mind so when they pop up i observe them like clouds in the sky knowing they will pass presently. I have to say I am not doing that well with my buddha-mind but i think my iil-will and sadness and sufferance will pass presently because it's not weight i want to carry and it's not worth carrying.
But the bits of Jon, and me, that were mean and uncomfortable are part of our story. Who wants to remember that shit ? Remembering may be the wrong word but until i find the right one i'll stick with it. I would say i do not want to remember the bad stuff, but, if i don't the story will have gaps that turn it into nonsense. If it was so peachy sweet how come you broke up, how come this, that or the other happened etc. It's why grieving Jon is complicated, i am sifting through the ten years we knew each other, and there is delight and there is despair, and dull, and disappointing and dreary, deception, damage,  excuse me i couldn't resist all those d-words. What i'm trying to do is make some kind of sense of it all. Not so much mind sense as heart sense.  To me, my mind sense is logic and reason, those are great and useful but they offer only superficial understanding, they are the maths, whereas my heart sense is deeper, instinctive, not clouded by rules or societal pressure, my heart offers me an understanding that is intuitive, that understanding feels more whole. The bridge between my heart and mind is poetry. 
So that is where the two hands and the stones come in, i am  measuring and weighing the past ten years, the good and the bad, my two hands are like the pans on a set of scales. My being depends upon me getting this right.  I am deciding what parts of our shared life i need to carry in to my future and what parts i need to let go. It's about finding equilibrium. 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Two little cups for a tea party .. part of my ongoing scribbling for Alice's adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass .. also made me think of the two of cups in the Tarot deck  

 

Friday, 19 January 2018

I wish i could write about the darkness that Jon's death has visited upon me, but I can't, so i''m posting a couple of images that are maybe, hopefully, part of my journey back towards a lighter place. 
I am struggling at the moment. It would be a lie to say otherwise.  I am trying to make sense of the past ten years, to filter, to sort, the good from the bad, to let go of that which is worthless, and hold, if holding is appropriate, that which was good, that which is worth holding. It's not easy. I feel lost and not in control. Every so often i'll find myself resting in a moment's sanctuary, but those moments are still mere moments. 
I am posting on my blog to document this time for myself, maybe to some it may feel like i'm boring on and should shut up, the scold and the boor in me act as gags, binds and beating sticks, and tho' i know these heavy censors would have me quiet and docile, i do not want them to break my spirit again. 
So the work i've been doing is scribbling really, here are a couple of images. They are notes for  larger projects; mapping the galaxy and inside my mind

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Ugh, feeling sad .. not much to be done about that .. i'm feeling sad about Jon, about the man who was easy to love, the joyful loving man ..  and i'm feeling sad about the hard and nasty man he was too. I feel sad that the he'll never feel sunshine warm the back of his neck again. 
Actually the sadness is overwhelming this week and has taken me aback because i began the year with a mind to be strong but my heart is faced the other way, so i am having to step back and accept that i'm still broken up and fragile. 
I have been in my studio making work of little consequence in the hope that working will act as salve - it does a little - but as my heart is a raw mess a little salve goes only a little way.   

Saturday, 6 January 2018

This is my seventh attempt at writing a blog this past couple of days. I feel like my words are stopped, that my voice is broken. I do not know how long I am allowed to grieve a man who left me. I wonder if his other lovers, before and after, are grieving as i am. 
This week my sleep has been dream filled. This morning I dreamed that a man of cruel character had sewn up the eyes of a dog. The dog was not mine but I was looking after it. 
The night before, Jon and i were walking along a beach, maybe Southwold - tho' not exactly Southwold as is the way in dreams, the sun was shining, and we bought pencils but they turned into pipe cleaners, we went to put them back but the place had disappeared, we just carried on walking until we passed a big house which we hadn't seen before so we knew that we were lost, i woke when we were at the bottom of a narrow up-hill road leading into a great dark wood.
I think my dreams are telling me to go into my wild. My wild isn't so very wild, i'm not physically brave, it's more likely to be a kind of quiet insanity, i will fall in to fairy tale country, there the light always eventually breaks through. If I am deep in my mind no one can reach me and I can untangle the mess of threads  running through my head.  
Because I can't write or speak well at the moment I am playing in my studio, hoping that what I need to say will come out of my finger tips. This is how I work when I need to exorcise something that really hurts. Generally the doing leads me to where I need to go tho' sometimes it takes a while. At the moment I am printing, and scribbling with wire, and making paper, and looking at shadows, and thinking about mazes and labyrinths.




Monday, 25 December 2017

To blog on christmas day morning is a little sad, it declares my solitude, it shouts out "unloved". Who is alone on christmas morning, who is not embraced in tender arms; the arms of children, the house full of sound and sweetness, laughter, chatter, squeaks of delight, paper being torn, chocolate-y smells and excitement about the day ahead, thrill and happiness on a comfortable bed of love pushed beyond exhaustion but ready to pull out a little bit more to make the day still better, more wonderful, or wrapped in the arms of a lover, face to face, eyes meeting, a kiss, a smile, a gentle "happy christmas love", maybe christmas loving, maybe a spliff, maybe a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of champagne, soft socks and nice clothes, pretty new underwear, a relaxed meal-making, a walk together, and warm snuggles on the sofa in front of the tv, and so on and so on, we know the ideals and sometimes we have those christmas days, and sometimes we don't.
Obviously this year is a bit of a funny one. I've had rough christmases before. There was the year the builders left me without a kitchen, the whole back end of my house a destroyed mess, oh yes that was one of the years Jon had dumped me for a while too. It was the last year of my degree with a dissertation hand in hanging over me. My ex-husband rescued me and took me to his to celebrate with him and my youngest son. God bless Archie, he is a christmas king. Last year my mother and I were barely speaking, that was horrible, I didn't know what to do,she was sending me aggressive letters asking if I'd cancelled christmas and calling me bad. I remember Jon was sweet and sympathetic from a distance. And once again Archie rescued me.  And then there was the first christmas after I'd broken up with my older two children's dad, aged 23, broken, lonely, no money, Jessamy said she wanted pizza and McCain alphabites for christmas dinner, and we went to the local playground - alone, christmas was over by about 2 in the afternoon. My poor little girl, I'm so sorry. The following few were not much better. They started to improve around about 1995. 
Enough gloom. 
But, see, christmas is a funny time of year. It amplifies whatever is going on, if it's good, yippee, it's not so good, woah, it's not so good and then some. .And there is a lot invested in it "what are you doing for christmas ?" your christmas represents the who you are in the world, are you loved ? are you a giver ? a taker ? a nobody ? it's really unconscious, but having had some real loser christmases I feel able to say that christmas is a place where your status becomes glaringly obvious.  
And then all of the memories flood back; that song playing in the supermarket - Fairy Tale of New York, or whatever your song is, and that film - The Muppet Christmas Carol, that detail, the same old christmas decorations - tinsel getting more shabby every year but kind of lovelier for it's shabbiness, it holds the spirit of christmases past, the Carols at Kings (in Cambridge) which takes me back to my childhood and my mum tuning into a scratchy old wireless, and my grandaddy, and Jon, sitting in my living room watching it on tv, and him being so fragile and vulnerable, talking about his boarding school and childhood, and loving him so much. 
This year, it might seem like I'm lonely, waking and blogging, heavens sakes, but actually i'm fine and anticipating a sweet, soul-nourishing day with my sons and ex-husband. They will, i am pretty sure, get fairly drunk and be funny and loud. And Rich has been away, across the other side of the world, for two years so this is  a much longed for re-gathering. And the celebrations are set to continue throughout the week, Boxing day with all the people I love the most overlapping if not for all day, at least for a while, in my home. And meet-ups with my mum, and then my dad and stepmother, and a theatre trip. If all goes close to plan this year may be very lovely. 
So what is my point, I have no point, my blog is my journal, it's the place I make notes, mark out my journey. If I had a house teaming with children, and the responsibility of a massive dinner to cook i'd not be blogging, if I'd woken beside Jon, i'd not be blogging, but as it goes I have only a small warm cat for company this morning and not so very much to do until Richard and Archie and Amis turn up so i do have the time to blog. And if blogging on Christmas Day marks me as out of the loop, which it kind of does, so be it, that's my life. It's not obviously glistening. 
But .. in a bit I will put out food for the birds and I have a feeling that the robin that owns my garden will sing in thanks. And I'll begin to prep the vegetables for later. And switch on all the lights. And put on the radio. Light the fire. I guess shine is a state of mind as well as body. 
And to finish this blog, I am going to share something that came up on facebook a day or so back on the John O'Donahue page. It was an image of a doorway, and the two or three paragraphs came from his unpublished writings. The gist of the words as I understood them was that christmas is an opening, a timeless space, where all the christmases meet. So this morning is this morning but it is also all the christmas mornings, all my christmas mornings, all the worlds christmas mornings, a shared space that tracks back through to time before before christmas was christmas and maybe forward too. At a time when I have to be straight and admit to feeling sad about Jon I find that thought comforting and kind.