I had to update my cv this week for the first time since 2002. What a pointless thing it seemed. What has Beverley Knowles done since 2002? This and that I suppose.
What did I learn about life filling in spreadsheets for a photographer? What did I learn about life listening to a lecturer in New Cross, banging on for an hour and a half about arborial thought? (“There’s nothing to get darlink”. If there’s nothing to get what has been the point of those sounds you’ve been emitting for nearly ninety minutes?) What did I learn about life sitting at a dinner table hidden behind a panelled wall at Sotheby’s staring at a piece of duck? What did I learn about life standing on my feet for days on end in a glorified tent? What did I learn about life learning how to touch type in Gloucester Road? Everything? Nothing?
I learned about life when I watched somebody pull my heart out of my chest and fling it to the pavement. I was also watching them do the same to their own.
I learned about life when I shared my pillow with a little yellow butterfly. Or was it a moth? It was still there in the morning when I opened my eyes, but gone when I got back from the shower.
I learn about life every time I meet my friend’s red border collie. (Jez is love.)
I learn about life when the leaves start to fall. When the wind blows. When the sun shines.
On the other hand don’t I already know everything I’ll ever need to know? Aren’t these things just reminders to me of that which I already know?
Is the painting I am looking at now going to be the same painting in ten years time? Will it be the same painting next year or even tomorrow? No. Of course not. It isn’t about the painting. It’s about me. Without me the painting is nothing. Without the painting, I am nothing. We are both nothing. And yet we are everything.
It all happens in the space in between.
What am I apart from a series of stories? My friend Sally was telling me the story of the German athlete who had to have psychotherapy because every time she failed to win a race she thought she was a bad person. Isn’t that amazing. It’s such nonsense and yet we all do it. All day every day.
I am not my failures. By the same token, I am not my successes. I am not my business. Nor am I my leisure time. I am not my stuff. I am not my favourite Emma Hope shoes. I am not my parents, nor my children, nor my friends. I am not my teacher. I am not my education. I am not my work experience. I am not my telephone number or the last book I read, the last picture I looked at, the last film I watched, or the last person I kissed. I am not my thoughts. And yet I am all of these things. And none of them.
Am I nothing?
Maybe I am nothing.
Maybe I am just love, waiting patiently for the doors to open so that I can be free.
Maybe I should put that on my cv. Or maybe not.