Tracey Emin: My Life In A Column

'I so much want a fresh beginning. This year I haven't made any resolutions. I've made rules'
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The Independent Online

I'm just not drinking today because I am unhappy and I'm tired. It's a week away from New Year. I am writing this column now so that I'm not all stressed out, running around looking for a fax machine. My column always has to be typed up by my assistant, or anyone close to hand who can type, and then emailed off. Sometimes when I am abroad I get caught out really badly and have to read it down the phone. Occasionally I have to fax my editor at The Independent directly and he has to decipher my crazed italic scrawl. The whole thing is really, really stressful.

Today I feel really stressed out for the first time in ages. I feel a burden. Not my own, but all the external stuff coming in. And I still feel phenomenally tired. I suppose I am tired from this last year. It's been really insane. To start off with the accolades: being made a Royal Academician; receiving three honorary doctorates Royal College of Art, Doctor of Painting; University of Kent, Doctor of Letters; Metropolitan University, Doctor of Philosophy being honoured in the House of Commons for the work I have done for the NSPCC and of course, the big one, representing Britain in the 52nd Venice Biennale, which frankly took my breath away; left me gasping like a small goldfish tossed out of its pond.

I'm lucky I didn't spontaneously combust by the time I got to LA. Two massive shows this year, neither of them in Britain. It takes a hell of a lot of organising. The logistics create an extra seven-hour day on top of the 12 already needed. But the irony is that I spent a lot of this year asleep. And when I have been awake, at times it's felt like my emotions have catapulted out of control. This year I could be put into the category of a high achiever, but only on paper. In terms of my heart and soul, I feel there is so far to go. Today, spiritually, I feel like all of me is crying, bruised, slightly abandoned.

Rationally I am OK, if anything I look a bit feisty, but inside it's not like that at all. I bet this week there are so many people out there who feel so alone. I think this week is a killer for a lot of people. Even for the people who are surrounded by loved ones and Christmas and festivities, I bet even some of those people are crying inside. This is such an obvious thing, but I feel that Christmas is really out of control and I really think it should be stopped, or at least slowed down. Bring back the real intentions of love and sharing with thought and simplicity. If I could have received anything this Christmas I would have liked to receive a love letter. Passionate words that would melt my heart and make me feel complete again.

You touch me

And I'm not alone

I can feel your breath

Your heart moves slowly

It surrounds me

You devour me

I'm consumed within your soul

The touch of you

Makes me feel

Wouldn't that be nice to receive on a piece of paper? I imagine myself being woken up with a nice pot of tea and there, on the corner of the tray, an envelope. Light coming in through the window and I start to image spring; the crocuses pushing their way up through the grass, the smell of hyacinths on the window sill sweetness and new life everywhere. I so much want a fresh beginning. This year I haven't made resolutions. I have made rules:

Stay sober.

Read more.

Turn fat into muscle.

Listen more.

Learn a new skill.

Try to avoid bad situations, or at least not make them worse.

Work harder.

Get closer to the meaningful.

Love more and feel happier in myself.

Let things go.

I so much want a new future, but today everything seems so deep and so dark. Today I could really do with a drink. Today I really feel alone. But 2008 is a fat, round jolly year and it will roll by. I just hope that I'm sitting on top of it; the last way I'd want to go is by being squashed by an eight. I just had a complete vision of myself small and flat with two rotundels rolling across my back. I can't tell whether it's semi-erotic or an extreme case of flagellence. But either way the image has disclosed something about my inner nature that I was previously oblivious to.

I obviously have some sick desire to be flattened. Must get that thought out my head now. Yes, my eyes have just brightened, just had a big smile across my face. Me? Flattened? Never. I'm going to puff myself up, maybe even go for a swim right now, maybe even have a steam empty out all those Christmas pores get that blood circulating. And with each stroke I will think about my future. I know it's going to be a very wet, exciting place. Happy New Year. Love, Tracey x