Death in India


Yesterday I met my ex-boyfriend and we spent some time talking over some of our experiences together and since we’ve been apart. We split up in 2009. It was a relief to see him yesterday. I ran away from him when it got difficult in our relationship. Ultimately, I ran away from myself. I closed down. Meeting him yesterday and talking about our relationship allowed me a sense of it being okay and I let go. We still have this strong connection that comes from our similar worldviews. I saw how much his vulnerability frightened me because it reflected my own. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t drawn / painted / coloured in for a while – fear of my vulnerability. Those activities access different parts of my brain and drop my guard against suppressed memories and feelings.

Colouring in was an activity I learnt while at my most vulnerable: as a child I had littled autonomy and was supposed to comply with the crazy ideas of the adults: eat at a certain time, when I’m not hungry; go to sleep when I’m not tired; have a bath in the middle of a great game; and so on. Last night I felt tired around nine o’ clock so I went to bed. This morning I awoke about eight fifty. Twelve hours in bed! I laid there a bit longer and thought about a sudden awareness of the need to draw or colour in. I remembered the times in India when Michael and I bought paper and pastels and made drawings together. Those were my favourite times.

Last Wednesday, I went to a car boot sale at the racetrack. I bought: an old German tripod, a pair of red shoes for tango classes, an academic book examining the music of Elvis Presley, a magnifying glass and a set of two A6 journals in a box entitled “India”. The journals are hand silk screened with hand made paper pages and decorated with gold bits that come off onto the surface they are in contact with. I paid one pound for them. I opened the pink one and and began doodling a mandala. Finishing with gold dots and sewing a found object to the page, I felt another sort of relief. Before words there were colours, shapes, sounds, tastes, smells, textures. It’s so easy for me to reach for my journal and write words to describe to myself my experience. I realise how necessary it is for me to allow myself time for wordless activities too. Drawing. Painting. Collaging. Colouring in. Sewing. My internal dialogue still likes to try to engage me in its stories while I’m active in a wordless task but I’m less likely to believe it or act on it.

When I was eighteen I tried to commit suicide. My counsellor suggested it sounded like I wanted peace when I said I wanted to go into oblivion. Last Saturday I laid on the floor in my lounge in Corpse Pose (from Hatha yoga). My internal dialogue was telling me something was wrong with me. My initial reaction was to think about my clothes and what I could change. I realised it was a ruse and went under those thoughts to discover the next reaction: my thought process was faulty and I needed to do something to make it better. Underneath that was my feelings and a sense of generally being bad. Underneath that was nothing. And it was terrifying. So I laid there with it.

Nothing is hard to talk about. It is devoid of everything. Later I wrote in my journal: love is an absence of everything else. Silence. Love is silence. Love is silence because misunderstanding arises from words. They can only point so far. I recognised that everything I do comes from a place of love and this realisation contradicts what I was taught by my family. But that’s okay because I’m sure they’re coming from a place of love too. Sometimes love gets twisted by rigidly held beliefs.


4 thoughts on “Death in India

  1. thank you for sharing immensely honest…simple…beautiful,heartening and inspiring words…love Alison

  2. Pingback: Neatly tied up in a bow | everything is art

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