The Perfect Wor[l]d - 03
In this strong desire to change, there is an even stronger desire for adventure. At times I feel that my life is flat, boring and eventless. The desire for a new experience has always been within me, since the first trips with granddad, away from mum and dad. I went away with him for the first time when I was about 6, I think, and there were about 60 years difference between the two of us. Blue thick velvet dress, patent leather shoes, green leather suitcase (me, not him, of course!). And I am talking here about independent experiences, confidence, senses awaken and excited, boundaries pushed, pure sense of freedom. He taught me how to be precise, to double-check everything, and how to always find your way back. More than anything, he taught me that no matter how painful it might look, and no matter how weak you might look, you can still live by yourself and make up something everyday to keep yourself occupied, and hence alive.
But you know what: the greatest gift from him was his passion for books and reading…
He taught me to trust and respect people, of every culture, heritage, religion. He taught me how to leave my country behind, when I travelled, and to dive head first into a new experience.
My stomach now feels light and eager for more, like back then. The thrill of going on holidays solo is something I haven’t felt in a while. There is almost a sense of urgency. I think that this desire to write as in the ability to travel-by-proxy, to create and then experience adventure, albeit on paper, is part of the drive. Being independent and fully responsible for my own happiness, the freedom, the feeling of not being known and hence at liberty to experience and show all range of emotions, with no conditioning nor expectations. The freedom to take a risk. The freedom to choose.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and the company of the people I keep close to me. At the same time, I am a double air sign (same sun and rising) and I need to be able to go, without justification, without explanation. Even if this means getting a train and going to the next village and sit in another identical coffee shop to type this. There is still something amazing in this kind of liberation, a sort of feeling of being on a mental holiday where everything is at ease. It is this kind of adventure I crave. To go, to be free to go. And then also to have a place to come back where I will be happier, hopefully, and one day more settled than now.
I know I don’t need to go to Sumatra or Cambodia to have an adventure. Some evenings just walking down my street is more than I can ask for! And definitely some years in my past have been adventurous as on the ‘drama spectrum’. Now, I do not want drama, just adventure. To experience and accept the unknown. To set off in a car with a full tank, bag, chargers, and see where this journey will take me. Going to towns and cities I have never been before and where I don’t know anyone and getting lost, seeking, wondering, investigating, exploring, drawing maps, talking to people, absorbing the energy of the place, spotting people and imagining their lives.
What is that man thinking? What is that woman planning?
What is this other one feeling? Who is waiting for them at home?
What are they going to eat? What music do they listen to?
Get more ideas, discover new things, collect images and notes for books and art and fill my heart with experiences. Face fears, all the fears, and decide that you choose life over anything.
This is my reason for writing, I think. I need writing because to me this is a form of fixing ideas and sensations that I have experienced and felt. I decided to create my own adventure in this profession of being an artist. This is going to be my adventure. My own personal journey. It’s New Moon tonight, and Solar Eclipse: mourn the loss, listen to your Shadow and the Truth from within, and then move on. I believe that this is what I am feeling now, with this deep and recurring desire to write and create. Walking around a pond in the company of young bats earlier this evening, I expressed my desires aloud, for the first time, to a friend. I then asked if it sounded silly, coming from me. No, she said. Silly would have been not listening to them; silly has been listening instead to a long list of men (partners, friends, colleagues, bosses, …) who have been envious (i.e. read scared) of my desires and abilities; of my resilience and stamina; of my determination. I believe I had only two men close to me who cherished my craving for knowledge and academia, my desires to read and for knowledge, my need to go.
Still, it feels that in my life I haven’t been able, up to now, to connect the dots of my various interests, ranging from Akkadian to existential psychotherapy, through modern design and contemporary and conceptual art, dipping into the Stoics, and adding coaching and mentoring, and please feel free to add a pinch of almost anything else. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t know anything about fishing because it bores me to death, nor about games or sports which include one or more balls, which I find tedious. Lately, though, while during my journalling exercises, I have wondered if there is anything that connects all my various interests, besides me and the fact that many are a form of communication: language, visual, expressiveness, talking therapies, the hiding or revealing of information. Why am I so interested in all these different mediums? And how can I use them to carve for me the perfect career which doesn’t feel like a job since I don’t want to work anymore, but it sounds more like fun? And always this desire to travel, move, change, and go on adventures.
I remember reading once: ‘Life is a daring adventure; or nothing’. I do understand its meaning, thoroughly, only now.
I remember being in an airport back in the early '80s wearing a light blue and white striped shirt, over a pair of jeans, trainers, and never forgetting my toothbrush in my right pocket. I felt empowered, happy, free, and that I could own the world and achieve anything I wanted to. I didn’t mind delays, sleeping rough, trying food I didn’t even know existed before it touched my mouth. I studied and lived 11 months a year just for that month to be spent in preparation and then travelling with granddad. He taught me to read maps, how to journal, to understand old architecture, how to take short cuts, how to archive data. I trusted him when he smuggled me into Asia just to dine on the other side of the Bosphorus Strait, when he left me alone in Bangkok for over a week and I was only 15, and when I feared for our lives when surrounded by armed guerrilla in a sunny afternoon. He taught me to take pictures, and to respect the people I chose to shoot; I relied on him when young and in the throes of cramps and violent vomiting due to an early period, he stopped our tour and started asking for a chemist, explaining in details what was happening to me and its reasons (it’s not an exorcism gone wrong, it’s menstrual pain!) to our coach driver while travelling in an Islamic country in 1981 (not speaking a single word of the language, of course). I even trusted him when we got completely lost in Tuscany while looking for the castle owned by the countess whose name I embody and wear with honour. He was my compass in life more than I have ever understood until now, sitting here in this coffee place.
Romano was his name.
At times I think I am his daughter more than my parents’.
When I went back home in 1987 after my two years at College in South Wales and with a strong desire to study drama and art (… already back then…) he was the only one who travelled to the only respectable university at the time which offered arts, which was the DAMS in Bologna (here), and got me brochures and leaflets and all possible information. He didn’t give me that material directly, but he instructed old auntie Anna to hand everything over to me. My parents decided differently and chose another university and another course entirely, for me. He never said anything, and art was never mentioned after that. I can say, now, that we tried…
I have to say though that I feel proud of myself for the courage and the resilience I have shown lately, to pursue my dreams and to try, again and again and again. Because it doesn't matter how painful it might look, and no matter how weak you might look, you can still live by yourself and make up something everyday to keep yourself occupied, and hence alive. I feel empowered now because I know the power of language, the power of naming things and telling stories and so of claiming ownership for what I believe in.
I name, I tell stories, I imagine. There is no place, whether closed or dark or where I am kept as a prisoner where my imagination will not run wild. I think, believe and imagine whatever I want and whenever I want. And that is powerful stuff!
I have decided to take ownership of this journey, to name it for what it is, and in this way to bring back the whole power to me.
This is the beginning of the adventure; this blog is the first step.
The beginning, my beginning.
(c) mtomat 2019 - written on 02.07.19 - no reproduction without permission.
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