I took myself out on an Artist’s Date yesterday, the first proper one since I’ve been back in this town. I never realised that I was so ravenous for inspiration – twenty-two months of grieving leaves the well so dry, starring at four blank walls all day. I woke up hoping for sunshine, and as the rays broke through the clouds I pulled on my Converse and headed out the door, camera in my bag. I spent a couple of hours in the local museum and art gallery then walked along the sea front, snapping pictures as I went. On any other day it could have been rather depressing as the rain was threatening and the louring clouds were back, but I was looking for something… I was looking for beauty.
To leave the flat has always been an effort, but lately I find myself locking the door behind me before I realise what I’m doing; I’m outside and walking down the street before my mind has had time to complain. I started with nothing when I came here; my life was razed to the ground. With time and tears I rebuilt my skeleton, I rewired my nervous system. Next came flesh, and slowly my skin grew back. My home became filled with objects I treasured; I took my first trip back to London. The words started to return and blogging helped them to grow. Then I took a trip to a new country to meet with women I had never met before, and something changed – the hunger came back. It was as I sat reflecting on my time with those amazing women, looking through the hundreds of photographs I had shot, that a part of me returned, a part that had been dormant for longer than my grief.
Yesterday I had lunch in the museum, and I sat sipping coffee and eating my panini looking out over the sea. I didn’t need a book to fill those moments of alone-ness; I didn’t need company, or a phone call to make me look busy. I sat and I was quiet. Once upon a time, in a life far far away, I wouldn’t have been able to do that: now it is so normal and comfortable for me I want to laugh. Wherever I am I have company: I am with myself. To have this sense of wholeness is such a gift, it’s like spending time with the best company in the world, someone who knows you inside and out, and likes the same things as you.
And so I am left with the hunger: Michelle’s post yesterday brought this word into my mind again. I hunger for my love: that is a fact that has not changed, and may never (I don’t know). But more than this, I hunger for experiences, for photo-opportunities, for kisses, for laughter. I hunger for hot skin and dog-earred pages; for red and yellow, violet and cerulean. I don’t think I’m living with death as much as I used to; I think I’m living with life – scary, hungry, bloody, thrilling LIFE.