Losing the ‘Self’

It’s as if everything that has been until now has disappeared and I have truly lost my ‘self’. ‘Affirmation’ was a complete purge of the system, how I felt about the world, where I lived, other people and myself – an honest and very public portrayal of my frustration and struggle, putting my body and face and the disciplined routines I go through on show for all to see. And now? I am living in a foreign country and, primarily due to media messages getting ‘lost in translation’ as well as not owning a tv, I feel I am rid temporarily of the importance placed on image. I am still in a Western European country with all its cultural and societal norms and ever growing prescriptions however, I am also surrounded by a majority who still ‘live off the land’, women head to toe in black even in the August heat and strangers who make eye contact and greet each other with a sense of caring and respect. I am not naive, I know there is no ‘perfect’ place without hate, crime, self-centredness but I feel I have stepped back in time in comparison to the UK. No one knows me here and for this I am lost, not mentally but physically and, for now, my work has lost ‘me’, the body, the explicit aggressive figurative image. Instead I am looking outwards and seeing through to where true beauty lies, those things we all tend to take for granted and get lost beneath the layers of self-importance. I see beauty in the life around me in plants, insects, birds, fruit, vegetables, sand, sea, sky and that view – that waking up and seeing the horizon, then the sunset which offers a true sense of self, of belonging – one which no commodity or material possession could ever fulfill. Everyone should witness this sunset and see it, not just look or watch but really see the beauty that has always been and will out live us. Our sense of self is so overinflated but we are temporary, transient. Although, I am also witnessing the spoiling, staining of these perfectly beautiful elements; littering, consumption of land, a growing population and booming economy – is this inevitable? Human nature to spread like a virus? I am in a country which mythically claims to hold the secret to eternal youth and beauty but what now seems to be a more spiritual one – a vibrancy and energy, a feeling on the inside under this surface image. I feel at one with the elements – my body in the sea, on the sand, sweating. No longer in a caged box littered with belongings to call a home. I feel outside my body – this is the feeling I have dreamt of. I have felt trapped inside the boundaries of skin, surface, image and now… now I feel image-less, experiencing, sensing structures, colours, life and sharing all of this with the most important person in my life. How long will this last?

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