I am in London, for my research residency at The Crypt Gallery on seen and being seen, my before nothing, and everything is going well. I am at the end of day 02 and tomorrow I will finish and go back home. But this is not the time nor the place to write about #beforenothing. I want to write about London. And about what I feel now, being here.
I don't know if you read my previous post on possibilities and a woollen skirt, but for a woman who spent the best parft of one whole year back in 1988 in her bedroom because of excruciating panic attacks, fears, and nightmares, a day like today is still full of child-like wonder.
And today I have rediscovered the London I fell in love with back 1985-87, I felt the same sense of elation and passion and sensual attraction which kept me alive and safe from 1988 to 2008. And that passion which I thought I lost when I moved to Lancashire, a land so distant and remote and in pain, my heart closed down.
After breakfast I headed north. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go but not a definite plan. So, head up in the sky, I walked.
And then I saw her, this city. I smelled the air: London has her own particular, wet, sweet smell. The colours! Oh, those colours! There is nothing better than London after the rain! And she said to me: stay, stay here. You found me now, you found me, again! You are here, again. As two lovers, at the end of a movie, when they can feel each other, lost in a crowd and they frantically look for those eyes they would recognise anywhere. Two blind lovers who can smell each other and still find those hands to grab. And as many years ago, time stopped. This morning I wasn't 52 but back being 19, full of desires, and passions, and plans, and dreams. This morning I felt I only needed a toothbrush and a place to rest my head and I would have been ok anywhere. This morning everything seemed possible and obtainable. Everything within reach. This morning I experienced, again, this desire I had under my skin for all of these years and which (partially) led me to a divorce in order to be back here, here today, in Camden. I creaved London, I craved her streets and noise and vibe.
There is this part of me which could sell her soul to be here. The dying last wish: take me to London, let me breathe her air, let her talk to me about freedom and adventure and all things new. The me back in 1986 was a very beautiful me: not only young and fresh, but idealistic and independent, courageous and eager. Then, everything fell apart one day in 1988. But now... but now, the time has stopped stopping. Now I can walk again, with my head up high and my nose in the sky and an open and welcoming smile on my face. And this is because I have searched for her everywhere, and there she is, this morning, showing me all her beauty, just round the corner, in Camden.
Lately I have felt not wanted and, within me, a deep sense of not beloging anywhere: thank you Brexit! And I have looked, with a sense of deep sadness, at this strong desire to reconnect with the past, not to let that good-ol'-British past go, to go back to the good old days of the mills and the working class (thank you Lancashire!)... but London! London is all-encompassing, open, welcoming, international, futuristic, hopeful, sunny, vibrant, intelligent, creative, wise, loving, colourful, imaginative, metropolitan, loud, caotic, sweet, old, regal and elegant.
London is simple to understand and easy to love, and she will love you back.
Get lost among her streets, follow her rhythm, her pulsating. Feel her heart.
Let her enchant you and steal your skin.
Let yourself absorb her essence. Look at her in the eyes and say: yes, I do. I will. I don't know what but yes... yes!
Welcome back Matilde. Welcome home.