Tracey Emin. Alan Miller was a true ally.###NAV###
Tracey Emin - Alan Miller was a true ally. He showed me how to be a painter
Tracey Emin. "Alan Miller was a true ally. He showed me how to be a painter." in: The Independent. January 22, 2009.
Today I am emotionally burnt out. Grief is a terrible state to be in. The tears, the drinking, the tears, the more drinking – it eats you up and consumes you. And at the same time it makes everything spacey and unreal. I can't stand seeing those I love suffer. It's torturous. I know with all pain, one day when you are least expecting it, it arises. And instead of gnawing away and eating at you it becomes a strange little cloud that floats around directly above you, and sometimes it rains. It rains when it's not raining anywhere else. From where you stand you can see the blue of the sky and the sun shining, but inside everything is cold. Warmth doesn't have a home in you any more.
Love, passion and loss. To live broken-hearted for many feels like a living death. I really do think that some people feel things more than other people. I also believe that there is a hierarchy of emotions. When I was younger I used to think that I was jealous. That I suffered jealousy. It was one of the reasons why I fell in love with the paintings of Edvard Munch, because he made a painting called Jealousy that was about himself. I thought it was an incredibly open, self-effacing and defiant thing for a man in the early 20th century to do. By openly displaying his weakness it empowered him and gave him strength. It's only recently in the last few years that I understand that I was confused about the meaning of jealousy. I never envy or covet, and with the success of others my reaction is to celebrate. I have always been a believer in the Midas touch. But in terms of love, what I thought was jealousy was the correct reaction to somebody stealing love away from me. I have often joked and said the only times I have ever been jealous is when my boyfriend is sleeping with someone else. But this isn't jealousy, this is a passionate reaction to a situation, just like tears are the passionate response to loss. Being human is very difficult. We would like to have complete control over every aspect of our lives but when we lose something or when we lose our grip we realise just how tiny we are.
When I was 21 I was in so much emotional pain that I really didn't want to live any more. I attempted to slash my wrists, but after one small abrasion I knew it wasn't the way I wanted to go. I bought a half bottle of whisky and drank it on the train down to Margate and arrived at night. Drunkenly I walked along the sea front, past the neon, round to the harbour wall. I remember thinking of my childhood at the time, some of my happier times: catching crabs on a hook and line, and a piece of bread for bait; being chased by Tubby, the fat harbour master and hurling ourselves off the end of the jetty wall – we could then swim to the other side of the harbour in fits of giggles as we saw his perspiring, round shape breathlessly wobbling with his attempt to catch us. Now I walked along the jetty; with my clothes on I threw myself into the blackened night sea. As I felt myself go beneath the water I could then feel my feet touch the sand. I bounced back up like a piece of cork. If I wanted to die, I realised I would have to swim out to sea. It was then that I felt stupid and lonely. But the biggest feeling as I climbed out was just how tiny I was, and majorly insignificant to myself. I compared myself at that moment to the sea and all its greatness. I was the sea as one big entity. I also saw the sky as another big thing that surrounded the sea. And in the sky the millions of stars that were already dead but yet still shining. They still give light, and subconsciously I realised, at that moment, that that's what I should do. And even though my heart had felt completely pounded and trampled on, like a star that had died, part of me was still shining. I took on the responsibility of that being my existence. My little light could be useful somewhere in the world. And now when I look back at being 21 I realise what an incredible loss it would have been had I died. I don't mean that in an egotistical way, but just on a simple level – of a loss to myself. Me knowing me, getting to know me.
I love my passion for life, the ups and the downs. Sometimes they come from outside, and other times they just manifest themselves within me. But today's sadness is from the outside. And there's nothing I can do about it apart from try and understand life and its complexities. I know that it always rains on the other side of the mountain.