Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

The idea of one week in bed, having mad, unconditional sex - what I would do for that?

Share
Related Topics

Monday night I was supposed to go to the Electric Cinema. My friend Vivienne - as in Dame Vivienne Westwood, there's nothing like a dame - was host for the evening. She'd chosen a film on the life of Leonard Peltier, a man convicted of a crime that (Vivienne and many others say) he did not commit. Vivienne has been campaigning non-stop to make people aware of his plight and that of many others who are wrongly convicted. Vivienne is a maverick, a freedom fighter, the Mother of Punk, who truly believes in the freedom of speech.

I felt bad that I wasn't there to show support. But on Monday night, there was no way I could pull myself across to west London. I have been woken up in cinemas and theatres a few times - I snore really loudly, like a giant pig, and it's so unattractive.

Monday night I went to bed early, tucked up safe and innocent, away from the cold, out of harm's way. Cocooned all cosy in my bed, in Air Qantas pyjamas.

As always, I woke up and the insomnia hit in. I flicked through the channels.

And there it was on E4. The Chatterley Affair. I lay in bed listening to the words of DH Lawrence. On screen, people were fucking. I closed my eyes and thought of the words, of the meaning - Oh God, there is something so beautiful, so incredible about true love. Passionate, unforgivable, mad passionate insane sex. I say unforgivable and never saying sorry, only saying what you mean. Nothing's dirty, just totally warm - to be saturated in love.

How amazing DH Lawrence was to get that down. How many people's lives he must have changed.

Lady Chatterley's Lover sold two million copies in three days. Everyone was so desperate to know. I've never read it - people tell me it's not such a great novel. But the sentiment, and all those people who publicly come to its defence.

I lay in bed thinking about it all and then I cried. Not a vast amount of tears. Just a couple.

Self-anger

I try to take life by the horns, embrace every given moment. With almost every thing I do, I'd say I am almost 100 per cent emotionally charged - except love.

All night I lay there awake, feeling so angry with myself. You see I know how it is to be physically in love, I know how it is to feel so engulfed that you feel as though you will disappear.

I lay there wrestling with my conscience.

The idea of one week in bed, having mad, beautiful, unadulterated, unconditional sex. Oh God, what I would do for that. And that's when I started to cry. Would I swap all my morals, beliefs, my way of life for that? For years now, I have been living like a fucking nun. I set up so many rules and regulations. And I stick to them. There has to be some parameters, some kind of fence, otherwise I think I would be totally out of control.

Especially with sex. When I was young - 14 or 15 - I would just sleep with anyone I took a fancy to. Then when I was around 15 or 16, I put a stop to it all. At the time I referred to it as "The Age of Reason", never having actually read a book, let alone anything by Thomas Paine.

I just felt it was wrong for me to keep having sex! Now I have to question what I believe in, how much is belief and how much is habit. Have my morals become a system just to make my life more palatable or is it really a good way for me to live?

Moral clearout

Guilt can be a real killer - it can drive the soul into hell.

At the moment, I feel guilty about having too much, too many things, being too materialistic. I am trying to eradicate everything from my life that does not have true meaning or a true purpose - clothes, shoes, nick-nacks, furniture. Unless I know why it's there and where it came from, I don't want it. I feel the same way about my beliefs, my moral self.

I feel I have been letting myself off far too easily.

Maybe it's a mid-life thing. But not a crisis, more like a challenge. In pursuit of my real self.

I am so lucky, I have a voice, a really loud one. I have no inhibitions - I am not incarcerated, I am not trapped, I am not sharing my life with someone who has become a stranger, and I am never afraid to speak my mind.

But still, the truth is, I can never say the things I dream of saying or feel the deep emotions I wish to feel.

It's hard to live without love. Or maybe I just don't come enough.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

 

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments