Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

I spend so much time with gay men, I send out the wrong signals with the heterosexual ones
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The Independent Online

16:24. Spreadeagled and my eyes feel like they've been burnt out of their sockets. My body contorts as though it's been dragged through some medieval torture. When I woke up this morning, I could feel a draught. I kept trying to pull the covers over me. My hand kept scraping something bristly. Just as I was about to investigate further, there was a loud, thunderous noise and a pile of letters fell on top of me.

I would love to have a film of myself from the last drink onwards, getting home, opening the front door and collapsing. It's quite frightening. I honestly can't be responsible for my actions, because I'm completely unaware of them.

I had to send a text message to my studio saying: "Today's not happening". The message came back: "What's not happening?" I have to explain the whole of today - the morning, the afternoon, the evening, the whole of today - it's not happening. I just can't believe it - how I can make myself comfortable on a floorboard.

In the old days, when I was with Mat, he would throw me over his shoulder and give me a fireman's lift up the stairs. Oh happy days!

Lunching a bishop

I've had quite an extraordinary week, one way or another. I appear to have become a luncharian. Yes, I've had lunch with five different men, with various occupations - international insurance bankers, newspaper editors, and the highlight was a bishop. Lunch with the Bishop of Liverpool at the House of Lords. It's a pretty amazing place.

The stained glass, the carpentry, the corridors, the overwhelming smell of school dinners. I think the bishop, the Canon Precentor, and I were the youngest people in the building. It's great to have an intense conversation with brainy theologians. It's well beyond the political and digs deep into the belly of the beast, dealing with the emotional and the spiritual. We talked about what's inherently good in the soul - the fact that if you don't question or judge yourself then you have no chance of truly knowing yourself.

I've been very unhappy recently. And the unhappiness has manifested itself in anger. So I am constantly questioning why, and I will not accept the surface of the situation. I'm unhappy with the boundaries and the lack of space that I have created for myself. It's somehow spun out of my control. The only place where I seem to find happiness is when I'm asleep. And the first moment when I wake up and just for a second I forget who I am. Or in this morning's case, not knowing where I am. Just existing, being, without the weight of the Self. It probably has something to do with being an artist. Everything I am is inside of me. And there's lots of it. Far too much of it. And sometimes I feel like I'm going to explode. That's why it's good for me to have stimulating conversation. Particularly with heterosexual men.

Intelligent design

One of my very close friends had a theory that I spent far too much time with homosexual men. (He's gay himself.) The theory being that when I'm in the company of heterosexual men, I send out the wrong signals. I'm not a great one for dating, but this lunch thing is working really well. I love to be stimulated intellectually. I love the company of good men. I think that's one of the reasons why I don't sleep with people. As I only get off on the idea of sleeping with someone who's more intelligent than myself.

I can hear you all say: "That shouldn't be too difficult." Well get this: they've got to be really sexy and telepathic. And have a profound understanding of the core essence of creativity. That means they've got to fuck properly - intellectually as well as emotionally.

Longing for passion

I have a desperate desire at the moment to be closer to nature. I feel there's something lacking in my life. If I can't be touching another human, I'd like to be touching the sun. Or smelling the grass after the rain. Or the arid smell of pine needles from the trees. Or the feeling of density from the salt in the sea. Cold sand between my toes. I'm longing for passion and romance. I want to be picked up and swept away. Carried far, far away from myself. A chance to see the world through someone else's eyes. The idea of being kissed by someone who really loves you, who wants you, desires you, when you walk past them they breathe you in. That's what I want.

Sometimes I really hate being me. But the cliché is all too true: that you can't love others if you don't love yourself. And today at 17:11, the woman who is myself I sadly, but truly, despise. Some people say I'm too hard on myself, but I think most people let themselves off far too lightly. The bad news is I have to get up and live in the world. The good news is things can only get better. PMT - way to go! I'm just too old to have periods. Full stop.