ANTONIA ROLLS ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE NEWS. An account of an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis. Worthwhile, but exhausting, so pour the tea and make yourself comfortable...(this painting is a family portrait, about 2'x 3', oil on wood. It is the Ross Family, each family member with items that describe them best. And at the front, on the grass on the right hand side, is a photo of Grandma, sadly missed.)
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
How Do You Really Feel? Pretend This Is Private And Tell Me...
I feel frumpy, dumpy and lumpy. ( Keep reading, it has a nice ending.) I had looked forward to today with a nervous excitement; today was the day it All Begins. 8am saw 14 Year Old Thunder Child and me in a school meeting to discuss Son's re admission to school. It all worked very well and he was, for a teenaged boy, quite nice. They agreed to his return, but told him that he would go to the Tower of London if he went Robo Cop again and he said "Yessir". Yessir I want to go to the Tower of London or Yessir I won't be a vigilante again, I wanted to ask. But I didn't because I was busy looking serious and on the ball and traumatised and helpful all in one go, as mother of the Accused.
The day began at 6.30 with that dreaded feeling that I sometimes get when I wake up, that I have expanded in the night and am like a zepplin in the morning. It is all a state of mind, I know this, but it doesn't make any difference. This feeling is going to settle around me like a fog for the whole day, and possibly longer. I woke then, this morning, imagining that the night had seen me grow like a speeded up film of bread rising before it is cooked. Suppress that thought, I whispered fiercely to myself. But you can only partially suppress that kind of self destructive thought; generally it is going to take over your mind as the day progresses. So I dressed in my normal clothes, all of which fitted (of course, I was just having a Blob Attack) and went to the school. I tried to catch sight of myself in the windows of the building to reassure myself that I had not become obese in the night, but because I was in the grip of the Blob Attack, I dismissed all the nice reflections of myself as Lies Lies and More Lies until I found a window that reflected me as a circus freak. "That's It!" I cried to myself, "proof that I am turning into a Balrog".
Anyhow, Son's teachers didn't flinch when I walked into the room, and no one had to be revived as I left. I can't, I said reasonably to myself, be that bad. This is, I continued, certifiable behaviour. Once home, I changed into painting overalls and work boots and put on some nice perfume. I had planned to spend the day in the studio making important phone calls, painting and finishing the latest Angel, and feeling Really Arty in my Arty Outfit. Oh but I had not allowed for this dreadful state of mind.
I get this particular state of mind sometimes. I recognise it as simply a mental state, and not a fact. I know I can't have become ugly overnight, but I goddam feel it. I feel so very unloveable, so ugly, so big and ungainly that I may not be able to work ever again. I feel helpless and useless and hopeless. Awful, really. Well. Here is the plan of action when faced with this kind of nonsense - do the day anyway. Even if, even if I had morphed into a hopeless and helplessYeti overnight, I still have paintings to do (alone, invisible and privately) in the studio. I can do that. I still have phone calls to make, and unless they are Skype calls with a video camera attached, no one would know I was a Yeti. So just get on with it. Like naming your demons and facing them down, I go into the studio and say, "Here I am, what fun, let's get on with it" and try not to think that the only man that would find me attractive is Hagrid.
Today, I achieved a lot. This is where it gets better. I did finish all the painty stuff, and am very pleased with the results. I did make all the phone calls, and I have set up necessary meetings by which time I know I will be Tinkerbell again. I forgot, now and then, about being Frumpy Dumpy and Lumpy. I forgot, now and then, about being a fast forwarded film of the yeast in bread rising. I am now ending the day in my thick warm pink and white spotty pyjama bottoms and my green ripped and paint stained jumper feeling suddenly very tired, very calm and actually, very satisfied. The day did not then, depend on how ugly (or not) I felt, it did not depend on how large, and stupid, and unnattractive I felt, it simply did not. It depended on me finishing my work, doing my jobs and ignoring all the nonsense that I woke up with. I wonder if I have a Sabotage Gene that kicks in before I intend to do great (ish) things. Today, it is true, was to be the beginning of great (ish) things. Today I was to have begun the hard task of focussing on Lists, painting the paintings I have to do, and asking people in the know to help me. I have a film with Arty Man to make for God's sake! I have an exhibition to put on, to publicise, and to curate, next month. I have a proposal to write for A Graceful Death for a possible grant. And I have Angels to paint, one after another, it seems as soon as I finish one, someone else pops up and asks for one. Today, my dear Cosmic Gardener came to tell me he had finished laying the swimming pool (only joking. He had finished cutting down a dead bush) as I was finishing the latest Angel, and yes - he commissioned the next one then and there. Did he care if I was a Yeti? No. Did anyone even notice today? Actually, I don't know, but everyone was very nice to me and polite and so I think, I believe, that it was all a load of nonsense and I was wise to not let it stop me.
So how do you feel today? How do you really feel today? I feel glad the day is over. I feel that I am often at the mercy of quite ridiculously irrational thoughts, and I wonder if I didn't have them, would I do better in my life? I can't possibly know that. But I do know that when I am feeling like a Balrog, I think I am the only one. That everyone else feels just fine, and that if anyone knew, they would laugh at me and then call 999. But hey, it just isn't so. I bet you have felt this way too, Lumpy Frumpy and Dumpy. Nice thing is that if you do, and you tell me about it, I won't shriek and run off shouting Monster!, I will probably swap notes with you and ask for your tips on hiding hairy hands and feet.