Tuesday, 25 October 2011


It's been a turbulent, rather distressing, couple of weeks. I suppose it was inevitable.

Wedding folklore dictates that someone, sooner or later, will become a nightmare. I guess I just always thought it would be me. Family dramas have been centre stage the last few weeks and the consequences haven't been pretty. Those that know me (and those with perceptive reading-between-the-lines ability who don't know me but who follow my ramblings), will concur that self-confidence has never been my strong suit. And that while my pale skin belies what is actually a bloody-minded resilience, it doesn't take much to make me wobble, however fleetingly, and question everything I've spent the last five years consciously counter-acting. Basic instincts that whisper insistently that I'm not special, that I'm not beautiful, that people will reject me, that I'm not perfect, that I don't deserve good things and good people in my life.

I don't regret my choices or paths - they have got me to where I am today in however a roundabout fashion - but the muddy path to this point now, where I am overwhelmed and humbled and excited by the love and goodness and possibility in my life, well sometimes it all still feels freshly trodden.

So let's just say there's been an inadvertent detour back down some of those roads the last two weeks. But I feel like I'm nearly back to me. And us. Poor Lovely Boy has been out in his own wilderness while I've struggled with all this emotional shit but thinking about the wedding, talking with friends and family, ticking fun things off our list like "Buy Lovely Boy A Suit" and "Post The Bloody Invitations Already" are helping to bring things back to where they were. That and my new mantra. Be The Dress.

I had my first fitting a couple of weeks ago and it verged on the disastrous. A make up stain that said "someone else has tried on this dress which happens to in fact be mine already so WHAT THE FUCK?!" didn't help, nor did said missing confidence or the overwhelming reality of wearing this dress during an enormously important, highly emotional, very public, almost certain to be photographed moment in my life. It was all a bit much so thank god for the presence of sensible, patient mothers and the supportive, reassuring words of dear girlfriends. Basically the dress out-psyched me. And now I have to be the dress.

Before I even knew what I wanted I knew I wanted a dress that was several things: glamorous, sexy, different, confident and effortless. It was an ambitious brief and to be honest, one I didn't think I'd ever fill. But I have. Effortlessly in fact. And now, I have to Be The Dress. I have to be all those things for myself. Because I'm never going to get this time again and I'm sensible enough (just...) to not let a frock or a family drama get the better of me.

What's funny though, thinking back over the last two weeks, is how much art I've sought out. Let me explain.

Five years ago I was in a pretty dark place. I was also in London visiting my sister. And one afternoon I traipsed all over the city with an old friend who also happened to be in town, seeing all kinds of art at Tate Modern, in the east end and somewhere else I can't remember and the things I saw inspired me - I felt giddy, happy, sad, uncomfortable, inspired, amazed and curious. And the experience set me free. I appreciate it might sound totally ridiculous but realising that art could make me feel these things made me realise that my feelings were just feelings - and not me. I felt sad, I myself wasn't sad. I felt lost, I myself wasn't lost. These were my feelings but these too would pass in time. They didn't define me and they weren't a permanent part of me. It was a ridiculously small revelation but it changed my life. And I sobbed for hours with relief at the realisation. Much to the consternation of my sister I might add.

Inside Frieze Art Fair, 2011
There's been quite a bit of sobbing the last two weeks too but in traipsing around Frieze, visiting the Pipilotti Rist exhibition at the Hayward, sitting in the dark Turbine Hall of Tate watching Tacita Dean's new commission FILM, well it steadied me somehow. It's not art therapy - it's just another way of looking at and coping with life. For me anyway.

Pierre Huyghe, Reflection, 2011. Frieze Projects
Pierre Huyghe's Reflection - a hermit crab taken up residence in a cast of Brancusi's bronze Sleeping Muse from 1910 - was whimsical and strangely poetic, I like the idea of art as a place of refuge, while Pipilotti Rist's chandelier of knickers was cheerful and intimate and celebratory.

Pipilotti Rist's underpants fairy lights on the Southbank

Video art in the loo at the Hayward...
Pipilotti Rist, Massachusetts Chandelier, 2010

And Tacita Dean's FILM was just a lovely visual balm. Gentle, strangely hypnotic, free of intellectual taxation. The perfect place to sit in the dark with a friend and talk of home and homesickness and the restorative powers of accessories and red wine.

Tacita Dean, FILM, 2011, Unilever Series
Commission, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern
It's only Monday but I'm exhausted. A poor nights sleep meant the imbibing of Red Bull at 9.30am this morning and a Milky Way and a diet coke at 4.30pm but hopefully I will sleep soundlessly tonight. No dreams of weddings, no dreams of drama, no dreams of Downton Abbey.

1 comment:

tori said...

Let there be beautiful dreams of the dress. And sleep filled with knowledge that you are very, very loved. x