in the bath, in my clothes



SpcI took this picture during the weekend G was away in Queensland. In the sun, having a holiday. It wasn't easy holding the camera above the water as I tried to submerge further and further into the bath. Grace was hovering above me, amused by her mother in the bath, in the morning. She was momentarily distracted from the teletubbies video I had put on, hoping for a few moments to indulge my photographic whimsy. Sweet really, that she finds me so hilarious. Anyway, it's a long way from the original image, and uses a gradient meant to mimic being underwater. Quite fitting. I think I may have been influenced by the cover of Drift ,the final of a magical trilogy in which watery themes abound and currently on my bedside table.

The elements theme, as far as self-portrait goes, is one I've been feeling some resistance to. I'm not finding it easy, water being the stuff of feelings and emotions. Sometimes I think I'm too emotional, too ruled by those inner tides and I've spent a great deal of my life working really hard at sweeping all those pesky feelings under the carpet. Only to have them surface again. As they do.  At the moment I'm feeling less than thrilled about my anti-depressants which stop me sleeping and the pills that knock me out. A kind of One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small... type of feeling. Which led to a really interesting talk with my doctor last week. She thinks sleepers are still a good idea, and that it's not like before. We ended up having one of those sessions which I think in old school (but post freudian) psychiatry is called a break through. It had to do with my ideas of motherhood, about how I was mothered, about how my ideas of how to be a good mother conflict deeply with how my life is being played out and the choices I have. Issues which lots of women (and men) face. The guts of this are something for a future post, but the awakening of this in an emotional sense is very new for me. Something I've known about rationally for a long, long time. But to realise it in this way is very different. Freeing. Lightening. Something I can work with.

This is leading me to think about depression as an adaptive strategy, as part of the mechanism of social change. Not that anyone decides or chooses to be depressed, but perhaps as way of asking for help when you don't fit in where you expected you would. This theory (scroll down here until you get to the bit about social navigation or niche change theory) suggests that it is not only the depressed person who needs to adapt. That there are a complex set of social interactions going on. Deep interpersonal bargaining. Well, der..  Again, something to think about in a future post.

So that's me in the bath, with my clothes on. Make of it what you will. I'd best go to bed. Work tommorrow. View more people in their elements here.

12 comments:

  1. 'Cool' treatment on this. Love the story about your daughter being amused by your outlandish behavior.

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  2. Well BRAVO that you even attempted that scenario! Any with success, too!

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  3. Extraordinary photo - I love it. The "break through" left me breathless. Please post about this when you've mulled it over. I think I'm there now somehow.

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  4. wonderful photo. I'm happy you've had a breakthrough.Me too! Although it's kinda scary at the same time! I know that feeling, when life situations make it impossible for that perfect mothering picture to emerge. So is the next photo of you breathing in deeply and with force as you break the surface?!!

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  5. I love this photo.
    Being a mother is such a complex intersection of values and experience and biology and physiology that I don't think anyone comes through it without their brain chemistry altered in some way.

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  6. oh wow ~ i had wanted to do something like this and then print out the photo and put it in the kitchen sink floating among the bubbles ~ but my ideas are often more elaborate than the time i have, lol ... this impresses me ~ its so moving!! and your words ... wow.

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  7. Oh, Janet. I'm truly not finding the words to express how much I love this image. Your gaze is focused. I sense no fear instead perhaps some exhilaration. love. love. love it.
    The past few weeks I've sort of curiously watched you emerging again -buzzing about the kitchen- you seem more alive and confident lately. Good for you that you've had a breakthrough. I on the other hand, have been sinking for a few week's time, the prospects of being a mother and when is the time and how my life will change is tangled up in my mind.

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  8. this is a real cool shot in the bath i also love the tumbly down house, it's great that you see life and beauty in the old thing!

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  9. fantastic self portrait Janet. You look ethereal.

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  10. This is awesome.
    I meant to comment ages ago, but I really wante to tell you how awesome the pic was, btu fidn a better word than 'awesome'
    And so the moment passed, and you blogged on.
    Making up for lost time, and still, all I have to offer is .. ;awesome'

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