because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Me, Anna and… Madeleine.

Sometimes the lining to my womb grows and grows over the course of four or five weeks, until the point at which my insides are so ready for a something to protect and nurture and gestate that I end up birthing EVERY FEELING THAT I’VE EVER HAD ALL IN ONE BIG GO KJWEBFJKWFBDJKSBVDJKSBV.

See: occasionally calling Mama Jane to say Mama, I’m so happy that I’m almost coming full circle into feeling sad about it- I’m sad I won’t feel this happy forever. Or, the equally mentally unhinged but still occasionally occurring polar opposite: I’m so sad right now that I think I should just end it all except first I want to eat this piece of cheese and this cupcake and a bit of this bread as well and oh. Maybe I’ve just got low blood sugar. Never mind.

Basically, what happened right after I wrote the post that went live Monday is that:

1. I came off the juice cleanse that saw me not eat solid food for 3 whole days.
2. I said sod it, and flew to Paris to alleviate my apparent wanderlust.
3. I got my period (metaphorically felt better for writing about my feelings, but also: actual menstruation.)

There are a few things we can quite safely conclude from this:

1. It’s not normal to forgo chewing for 72 hours, but is very helpful in making room in an otherwise overcrowded colon for
2. Eating everything in Paris. There is no fromage de chevré left. Anywhere.
3. I really am barmy. And refer to bleeding from my vagina too much.

So small crisis of faith aside, really life is brilliant, if not a little unpredictable. But then hey, when your imagination is as active as mine DON’T WORRY THAT THERE WILL EVER BE A DULL MOMENT JUST MAKE THINGS UP WITH YOUR BRAIN HAMSTERS TO KEEP YOU OCCUPIED. Hours of fun.

Also: caps locks.

Second also: when drinking with a friend this week I said something about books and peeing and thinking and he looked at me, really hard and for like, a full minute, and then crinkled his brow with his head tipped to the side as he said, “Odd one, aren’t you?”


Anywoohoo, Paris. On Saturday afternoon I stood in the middle of the Grand Palais in a remarkable exhibition about the history of Bohemia. (No, a wankier sentence in the history of this blog has not been typed.) Anna and I (you remember Anna, right? From this post and this post and this post too? THE ONE WITH THE SKIN OF A BOTTICELLI PAINTING AND SMILE OF A 70’s SEX KITTEN?) had just walked the ground floor of the exhibit, past stories about Romanian travellers who lived life from one city to the next, being reviled and eventually revered for their absolute dedication to living an artistic and free life without the weighted responsibility of always being in one place.

Basically, it was an exhibition about who I believe I was in a former life.

We reached a huge stone, winding staircase that was so breath-taking in its design that we whispered to each other, you know every bad thing we said about shit weddings by people getting married too young? I’d take it all back to stand on somewhere as gorgeous as this staircase to say my vows. I stood at the bottom of it and looked up, marvelling and thinking and breathing a bit too deeply with my eyes narrowed, so that anybody looking at me would probably have thought, wow. She must be an incredibly deep intellectual.

It was just beautiful, and I felt very happy to be alive, in Paris, with my old school friend who understands what I mean when I say BUT THERE IS SO MUCH OF THE WORLD TO SEE AND SO LITTLE TIME TO DO IT HOWEVER WILL WE DO IT ALL?

We reached the top of the staircase- no mean feat when you can’t really see properly because your eyes are busy trying to convey your very deep emotional response to your environment- and in huge foot-high letters was a quotation from Balzac or somebody equally as clever, and Anna translated it from French for me because the only French I know is Fake Made-Up French wherein the rule is: add Je to the beginning of any sentence. J'agree. J'know. J'can I have another vodka please? Merci.

Anna said: Something about… between the ages of twenty and thirty, we must be poor and unsure and make our art and know that we carry the sunshine inside of us. We have a responsibility not to be too conventional but just to live our lives as our art… happy and sad but true…

I burst into tears.

I burst into tears and hurried into the part of the exhibition set up as a 19th century Parisian café, and turned my back to Anna because I was a bit embarrassed that I was being so inexplicably and bizarrely mental. It was like I’d tricked myself into understanding the exhibit and having an emotional response except it all felt very real.

I found myself staring at a painting of a woman to take my mind off it. She was sat outside a Paris café in about 1900. Hair piled on top of her head. Ankle boots, long full skirt, billowing blouse. She was alone. She had half a beer, and was holding a lit cigar. I looked at the name of the portrait. Her name was Madeleine.

Anna, I said, when she came over to where I’d been staring for ten minutes. I think… I think I was Madeleine.

You think you were Madeleine?

I think I *am* Madeleine…

Madeline, sat alone but surrounded by people, taking a minute to herself to figure out her place in the world, before carrying on to live her life as her art just like the quotation that had made me cry in public had said.

I don’t really know why I’m telling you all this, except to say that she was my favourite part of the whole trip. Madeleine.

Anna bought me a Madeleine bookmark in the gift shop on the way out. That was my second favourite part of the trip. That my friend played the game too. The game where I am Madeleine. It made me feel like I want to do them both proud. And that all three of us can probably put tucked away into the "don't make eye contact or any sudden movements" box. 

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