My hands are often strange to me. By turn they seem crammed with cotton wool; are pulsing, throbbing things; battered, barbed, pierced, brittle, laced with pain. Lately I have felt them as fleshy leaves, like a plane tree’s, and big as table tops… These constant passages are bonkers, but within the realm of language. Fatigue is harder to describe; its effects are tangible though.
Here’s a label I gladly wore: artist. It’s what remained from life before, utterly different, quite the same. For years I crocheted and assembled, in the supine. While one thing after another fell away I slowly, steadily produced small, impassioned pieces. Occasionally I sent work to exhibitions – a tiny stake in the wider world. Well, exhaustion has dumbed my fingers down. I can’t make shape stitch sew draw paint, can hardly even hold.
Making brought pleasure, meaning, purpose, and a wavering confidence, held promise of connection. The loss of this gift, which I have to believe is reversible, pulls the ground from under. What adds insult to injury is that M.E., this blunting, debilitating illness, is still not fully recognised, support is hard to come by, research underfunded, and that – at mine – shame has become a permanent house guest.