Monday, April 26, 2010

Picture this...


I got to do something fun and unusual last weekend. A friend of Peter's (and now a friend of mine) Daniel is an artist and was doing a series of photographs. He gets volunteers to pose for him, and the latest series has a theme which pushed my buttons. But probably not how you think. Hmm....clowns. OK there, I've said it. I know I'm not alone in thinking clowns are creepy and weird, hell Stephen King wrote a horror novel on one and anyone with a remote interest in serial killers would know of John Wayne Gacy. Freaky, creepy and just plain wrong. So of course once this unease towards clowns was discovered, I think Peter and Daniel were more interested and amused to see if I would do it.

If the last 12 months has taught me anything, it's to jump in with both feet. An experience was there to be had, and just maybe something amazing and/or interesting might be produced. And best of all, Peter and I got to pose together. Daniel said he wanted us to dress in top to toe black, so for us that's pretty much 'come as you are'. The hard bit was applying the makeup. Unless you cake it on, face paint is kinda patchy and hard to finesse the fine details, without a bit of practice. Well, us novices did the best we could, and with a few extra props provided by Daniel we were off to his studio. It was all over quicker than I imagined, and it was the blast I thought it might be. Any one who's known me for a while, will know I LOVE a dress up. Any excuse will do. Yep - and even as a clown if required.

Peter and I both thought it would be an experience, and especially as we really love Daniel's work. So we didn't mind what we looked like, as long as Daniel got images he thought worthy of his series. And luckily for us, there were three. Friends of mine had posed for Daniel, for a different series in which there may have been some nudity, and I had seen how they were initially confronted by seeing themselves. Sure, I had all my kit on, but armed with this knowledge, I went into this knowing it wasn't about me. It's not really a photo of 'me'. And perhaps that is the fun bit.

I had spent the last few years feeling quite unhappy about myself and had become adept at dodging cameras. You learn to be the one taking the photos, that way you're not in them. I hadn't liked a photo of myself for ages. But with all the change in my life, perhaps I was realising that when I looked at those photos, I saw the unhappiness. Now I'm calmer about so many things in my life and am generally so much happier. Good or bad photos of me, it doesn't matter. But mostly and comfortingly, I can see myself. I feel like I fit within my skin again, and it's been such a long time since I had.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. How very true. To quote Oscar Wilde, 'Life is too short to be taken seriously'. Sometimes you need a little dress up and to step out in front of the camera, because even through all that make up, maybe you can see yourself. And if you're lucky - maybe have some fun with fantastic friends. I've included a photo of Peter and I, in our clown-gloriousness, in the mirror at Daniel's place. You know, you gotta laugh.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In sickness and in health

It's been a few weeks since my last post. Sure I've been up to my armpits in essays and assignments, but mainly it's because I've been sick. Sick for a few weeks now. I've gotten the occasional flu every so often, but I can't remember being sick for longer than a week...for....years! I'm obviously out of practice. The wheezy asthmatic child, who's had whooping cough and bronchitis and spent time in bed or watching trashy day time tv and not going to school all seems like a distant memory.

There's been a weird feeling of 'letting go' over the last month. Once I handed things over to the lawyer (and when finally things got moving), I realised that I've stopped pushing. The feeling of running inside my head has stopped, and someone else has taken the load. There is still much to sort out and to work through, but I don't have to be the person in control and trying to push things anymore. And I suppose the flipside to this is that all the energy it's taken to keep my head above water for the last 12 months has caught up with me.

I feel like my body is rebelling. I've pushed it for so long, to 'just keep going' that the moment I stopped to take a breath it reminded me who really is in charge. And I have to listen. Now in my third week of a virus that has me feeling like a hermit, I'm on my second course of antibiotics and must face going back to work tomorrow. I've had a couple of days of feeling almost normal, but there lurking in the background is exhaustion, fever and sniffles. Damn it. It was nice to have extra time to write essays, but I almost wish for the days of being sick when I was little. I didn't have to do other things while convalescing, such as studying, grocery shopping, washing dishes, getting to the doctor by public transport etc. I just got to be home sick, with a Mum who circled around me.

When I was young, I was sick quite often. Mum told me stories of sleeping on the floor next to my bed, so she could make sure I was still breathing during the night. I remember laying in the dark and calling out for her when I would feel so awful and scared and need her to bring a bucket and towel to my bedside, or just place a cool flannel on my brow. I can look at my primary school photos and see which years I was on cortisone, as I look different. But as I said, that all seems like another life. I've had nothing more than a cold or flu for years. And even though I've been in relationships, I've been pretty self sufficient when I've been sick. Rest. Juice. Soup. Pajamas. Television. Tissues. More Rest. And back to it.

But this is something else. And I'm lucky that I again have someone else placing their hand on my forehead checking how I'm feeling. Peter took a couple of days off work last week to look after me. To escort me to the doctors and make sure I didn't keel over on the tram or footpath. And even though I was very much out of practice, it was kinda nice. As an adult, letting someone else look after you is hard. I think we've all grown into people who 'just keep going'. Regardless of what's happening, you pick yourself up and get on with it. And this is something that I've prided myself on. To not let things beat me down. To strengthen my resolve and push on. But maybe it's good to stop every so often. To listen to what's going on inside us. To take a moment and rest. Which is why I've put the homework aside tonight, acquainted myself with trashy dvds, made some soup and plan to curl up on the couch. For tomorrow it's back to work.