Sleeping with Mum while she dreams of Venus & Mars

My sister and I are looking after Mum while Dad is taking a rare and much needed break. I am floored once again by what Dad lives with. I am moved by love too.

Mum asks that one of us sleeps in her bed with her, basically because she feels safer like that. This is my call and though the closeness feels right, my sleep is interrupted for her noisy breathing. I do also feel grateful for the intimacy between us now which never there was before.

In the morning lots of energy is needed for all the processes of getting up, and most of that is Rebecca and I getting Mum up. Before breakfast is done I need a nap and we haven’t got ourselves organised yet.

The best part is the conversations that would never otherwise happen. We had hoped to take a bold trip out into Central London as we have done before, but that was without taking into consideration the extra mileage of doing everything else for Mum too. Usually a daytrip works when Dad and a carer have done the first part of the day for us. We are rethinking plans as I write.

Last night Mum dreamt she walked on the planets Mars and Venus, as she was in her 20s. Remarkable – she always dreams of being mobile and young, sometimes walking in outlandish places like the bottom of the ocean. She said she had thought of Botticelli’s painting ‘Venus and Mars’ yesterday.

Rebecca brought us tea in bed before the rigmarole begun. Mum mentioned her lack of confidence in life resulting in her getting few jobs and not having friends. After moving from East Berlin she didn’t really settle here. I remarked that she might have overlooked at least one type of confidence she didn’t lack, which was with men. She was beautiful and was rarely without a boyfriend, sometimes several. To hear her relating her past put fresh light on my own life patterns. I have been working on unpicking them to make positive changes, and I wonder how much more may I do.

I have a very big feeling about spending this quality time with Mum. It strikes me physically; I felt it growing in my belly area a day or 2 before coming here. It’s much bigger than us. It’s about love and it moves me. That she has changed so much, and her condition; she requires us to rethink ourselves makes her into a change-maker. It makes me rethink the way I live.

A few years ago faced with the imminent prospect of dying Mum told us all for the first time that she loved us. That love and openness have been growing.

Sandro Botticelli's 'Venus and Mars' depicts Mars asleep while Venus is awake and alert; meaning that love conquers war or love conquers all

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Anatomy of Love: Topless Sisters, Mum, a Beagle & a Hirst Sculpture

Following on from my Femen inspired exploits last week in Central London with my Mum, sister and boyfriend’s dog, here is the rest of the photo collection from that awesome day out – Friday 13th April 2012. By this point Steve Moore of Occupy City of London had seen us on our way… to the other side of the river.

After all this time showing off on my own, Rebecca decided perhaps she would join in...

Mum being supportive on a slightly unusual day out

It was getting busy by the sculpture so we found our own patch

Dee getting restless

Sisters doing it for themselves on Millennium Bridge

Reclaim Your Love!

It’s that in-between stage. Considering options for upcoming events, where to put our Spirited Bodies Energy. It starts to feel bureaucratic – paperwork to become a charity, applying for funding… learning how to make the correct spiel, and watching out in case some of our messages might be offensive… Hold On! What the fuck is happening? I am passionate about what I do; it’s the only reason I do it. Because it can affect people deeply in a way that I think really matters.

At our meeting Lucy brings a copy of The Sunday Times Magazine with a picture of a Femen activist on the front cover. The meeting goes well, plans are discussed but the next day what I can’t stop thinking about is radical feminist activism. I am bored, and I want to feel excited again; feel the electrical itch of anticipation when you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next, but you just have to be there every breath, on edge, on fire.

These Ukrainian women kick ass. They get arrested, they are funded by donation and they are hot. Sex tourism is so rife where they are with so few opportunities, topless protest just makes sense. They scream and they are righteous. I would be too. They remind me of me, or of a younger me rich with vitality, only in my youth I think I lacked such purposeful direction.

I research them, check out flights to Kiev and ponder what I’d do with them. I write to them, but I know they must be inundated. What they do is theirs. What I want from them is some of their raw urgent style. I can’t think of anyone around me who would likely join me on such a quest. This may be my own, and I am bound. That my boyfriend is recovering from an operation and unable to make love with me may be the best thing to happen to me, to my drive to push me, remind me how dissatisfied I am with my situation, and with the world!

Then Friday comes and I have arranged a trip into London with my sister – we are taking Mum to St Paul’s Cathedral, it is one of her favourite places in London. The night before I wake up early with an idea. Black paint and my overcoat. I can feel the tingles! It’s like being a teenager or falling in love all over again! Yes! Life!

I am early to meet Mum and Rebecca, and decide to call in at the Finsbury Square Occupy camp in Moorgate where I reveal myself; it's my first visit to that Occupation. Willing and bemused residents aid me.

I spot an auspicious sign by the pavement. Dee, my boyfriend's dog, is great for extra fond-inducing smiles, though I am trying to be serious here. A lovely French protester takes the shot.

Steve Moore from the Occupy camp accompanies me to St Paul's to visit his old home. It's his first time back since eviction; nostalgic memories. He knows the place inside out and is well suited to finding good shots.

I adopt classic Femen pose, without their traditional flowers and ribbons (symbol of unmarried women?) but with the addition of a beagle! (I am on walking duty this week.) Also my slogan is not a negative. I live in Britain and my prospects aren’t so glum. The council helps with my rent and the Arts Council may help with my feminist arts cause to help others. Besides I’ve read spiritual books which say embracing the positive is far more powerful than complaining or stressing what is wrong, which may encourage more of the same.Females of the family

Steve takes us to the best view of the dome; a roof terrace of a shopping centre. He has many stories from his St Paul's experience; he was a bailiff before he joined Occupy and his expertise proved pretty canny during proceedings: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/paul-davey/the-faces-of-occupy-steph_b_1412524.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=2912968,b=facebook

I pose inside a sculpture

On the way to the bridge

On the Millenium Bridge

Looking through the images I think I may have forgotten the ‘shameless exhibitionist’ tag, I definitely got a buzz from this! In fact Rebecca who took a lot of the pictures sent me so many, I shall do another post. We had a positive response from public unsurprisingly, and even the security guard at the shopping centre who had to invent an excuse about the dog to get rid of us was fairly polite. The family day-of-action was a success!