LIFE IN LONDON: A DAY AT THE TATE MODERN

I guess it's natural that there are days where I simply can't get out of bed. For one thing, I love sleep, and I've never particularly been a morning person. For another thing, I've had depressive tendencies and can sometimes allow myself to get overwhelmed when my mortal enemy, money (or lack thereof), looms overhead.

Today started out as one of those days, but in a moment of clarity I reminded myself that I'm in London, city of many free museums housing countless beautiful works of art, and that many of them were only a relatively cheap bus ride away.

And so when I finally pulled myself together enough to feel presentable, I grabbed a latte and hopped on the bus to go to the Tate Modern. While I knew I didn't have the spare funds to see their current exhibition of Georgia O'Keeffe's work, I knew I had the vastness of their free collections to view, and that put a little spring in my step.

As I walked across Blackfriars Bridge towards the museum and stood to look over the Thames, the sun, the blue sky and the clouds, I realized that my money issues weren't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. As my mom has reminded me time and time again, "money comes, money goes." I'm not exactly destitute, and I'm working, so I have a lot to be grateful for. I can eat, I can ride the bus, I can look at free art. Life is simple but it's enjoyable, too.

The view from Blackfriars Bridge.

The view from Blackfriars Bridge.

Because I'd spent most of the day laying about, I didn't have long to look around before closing time, but I did make sure to check out the Louise Bourgeois artist room that they currently have on display. I've always been drawn to her work, particularly the work that deals with her relationship with her mother. In viewing her spider sculptures and reading the following quote in regards to her mother: “she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat and as useful as a spider. She could also defend herself, and me," I was reminded of my own mom and how much I miss her right now. While I'm not dying to get out of London anytime soon, I am looking forward to visiting home at Christmas and seeing my family again.

One of Louise Bourgeois' spider sculptures, and some neon I was drawn to because apparently I'm a moth.

One of Louise Bourgeois' spider sculptures, and some neon I was drawn to because apparently I'm a moth.

I had to shuffle quickly to see the rest of what I could before 6:00PM, and I found myself overwhelmed and inspired, wishing for some sort of studio space of my own where I could be painting and sculpting right now. I missed my art room at high school, probably the only place I actually liked being before I dropped out (twice) all those years ago. I thought about how I wished I'd actually gone to art school after being accepted but then remembered I'd probably be in four times as much debt as I am right now, so maybe the choices I've made have been a bit more practical. Ha. Plus, it's never too late to create, anyway.

Ed Ruscha, Guerilla Girls.

Ed Ruscha, Guerilla Girls.

Mostly, days like today make me realize how small my current worries really are. Already through moving here I've learned the lesson that if you want to change your life, it's entirely in your power to do so. I don't owe it to anyone to follow any sort of prescribed path. I'm realizing more and more that in terms of success, the meaning is so tremendously different from person to person. Through my writing it always seemed like people expected me to want to work 9-5 in an office for a magazine or something to that effect, making whatever salary and moving into a new-build condo. But I know now more than ever that that was never my dream, and that that version of "success" doesn't fit my life at all. What I want, overall, is to be happy and to feel a balance in my life, because for so long that was such a struggle. The more I simplify things, the easier it is to get through the tough moments. If I just work a good, honest day job, then I feel better spending my free time and my money on my pleasures and my creative outlets than if I was making them my ultimate focus. Writing and art lose joy for me when expectations are attached to them, at least expectations that belong to anyone other than me. But that's just me. Everyone's path to contentedness is uniquely theirs.

I realize that this is getting pretty rambling for a post about a trip to an art museum, but like I said in my last post, I've had a lot of time alone lately, and a lot of time to think. Anyway, that's where I'm at right now. It feels good to share with you, whoever you are, and I'm grateful if even only a handful of people are reading my nonsense. 

Until next time ...