As I write this, I am in a public cafe; the place where I most like to work, and to the side of me there is a man with a cold. Since he arrived half an hour ago he’s been sniffing and sneezing, tissue-less and, perhaps most annoyingly, without shame. A good person wouldn’t mind. A kind person would sympathise. A balanced person would keep to their own business and ignore the whole thing. I’m not sure what sort of person I am right now, but whoever I am she’s struggling, forcibly holding herself in the seat. There is tension running up and down my back and along my arms and I know I’m going to regret this later.
Ever since my pneumonia, I have had a heightened fear of germs and sitting this close to a potential carrier is waking all my gremlins. In addition, he’s watching videos on his phone – out loud, without headphones – which is just plane rude. Once again, I wish that I had a happy home space and the liberty of working from there… but we have had builders underneath for months now and the place is uninhabitable. Try concentrating to the symphony of a pneumatic drill, connecting creatively to the thump of a hammer. At least there are sliding doors, open windows and plenty of fresh air and failing that I have vitamin C.
Moving on from yesterday: I give my zebra some dirt because “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt” and I need something clean and unpolluted to focus on. But when I think about where I live and what I eat, about the whole world in general, I know it’s all chemicals and pesticides. My partner likes to say “it’s all hype and a con to make us spend more”, but he forgets what Man has done to the planet and how there’s danger now everywhere. According to statistics, we are full of heavy metals, bacteria’s, viruses and parasites… and over 50% of our homes have mould!!! I exist in a space of constant worry and not caring at all, because I cannot ignore the messages from my body but it’s too exhausting to overly think about. In my dreams, I press rewind; travelling back to when I was whole and uncomplicated. But then I dig deeper and remember how I arrived and think that in actual fact I was always muddied. And, perhaps, too, the harm came from before that in the womb, with the things I inherited and ingested.
When I fall off the canvas with the brown (literally), I switch to pink, returning to the words I am trying to make space for. I’m feeling quite proud and a little bit in love with “Candida albicans”, “bacteria” and “oral yeast”, although when the waiter passes by I blush. I want to stitch “colitis”, too, because I’ve also got that. But instead I decide to sew a colon. It compliments the lungs that I made right at the start and is also a little bit different. When I’m through, it looks a bit like a heart and a coiled snake and makes me think of Kundalini yoga. Perhaps I am waking up new energy inside and all this is necessary suffering?
To follow the rest of this story, which is part on an ongoing piece of artwork running for one and a half years, see Instagram and Facebook.
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