Luck of The Woman

I’ve just cried my eyes out to “The Iron Lady”… Yes that’s right: On a plane!

Which by the way was a lot less embarrassing than watching “Shame” and witnessing the Asian lady sat next to me reach out for the top button on her blouse at every sex scene just to check that it was buttoned. If you have seen the film then you can only imagine how molested that button must have felt. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she probably enjoyed it!

I am not entirely sure why I get so emotional on planes, I certainly didn’t get upset because of my Thatcherist views, although I have been known to have my conservative moments in my left-wing, fair-policy, eco-warrior, socially-responsible world, that very world that has encouraged me to try everything once, but I think I feel more at peace with the idea of being emotional on my flight back, after I’ve seen my family and faced the awful truth: that I do love them, that we do disagree on a lot of things, but that we mainly agree, that our relationships are built on respect and trust, and that at the end of the day nobody quite knows me like my dad does. Either way, for every creative sanctuary I find on a train I find a place for emotional relief on an airplane. I’m not entirely sure of how it works either, maybe there is just something about being in transit: not quite anywhere anymore, or yet.

This film has genuinely touched me. Not for it’s art direction, before I can hear every other dumbass director I’ve ever dated attack me, but because her story -although unnecessarily violent and castrating at times- somehow resonates with me, since I know the struggle of being a modern woman far too well- not a phrase I ever thought I’d hear myself say, let alone write I must confess! But left face it: it’s a tricky task.

I was thinking about it talking to an old friend over dinner last night. Four months on, my heart is still bruised after my most recent, and if I may say so myself most stickiest breakup. Not because alone my heart amounts to nothing, but for the very opposite reason: because my heart alone amounts to everything I need, and I have a feeling that lonely hearts come at a price: loneliness, just that…

Indeed he left me the same weekend I announced I was picking up writing again, and I cannot help but wonder if this timely coincidence came out of cruelty or kindness. In the absence of any other explanation I can only guess the problem was the only problem we ever had: my early successes that seem to just come to me and perhaps his deeply rooted desire to not fail. And me, I almost buy into this idea until I remember that for every good day, I’ve had a long week of hard work and self discipline.

I remember my first long term internship before I even finished high school, at a tiny gallery that would eventually see me co-curate my first exhibition sponsored by the ministry of culture. I will never forget the hundreds of bottles of water I carried by subway through Manhattan for the first big show I was ever involved in. When I’m having a bad day at work, I remind myself of my first soul-crushing full time job, as a typesetter, fresh out of college, where I would often lock myself in the bathroom during lunch to take deep breaths and convince myself that art school hadn’t necessarily been a bad choice… And don’t get me started on the political savviness I’ve had no choice but to accumulate at my young age.

And that’s when I realised that success haven’t just come my way, nor have opportunities for that matter. I had to harass many artists in filthy elevators and beg them to hear my pitch before one of them eventually let me represent him, I mean a lot of artistsReally, and once I was comfortable with where I had got, to I made the best decision I’ve ever made and left it all behind because at the time I thought I was in love. As it turns out I very quickly realised that I wasn’t, but I also realised that I was a fighter… That I am a fighter, and I tenderly remember that eventual literal elevator pitch, where that man first decided to take a chance on me, and when I was finally done he explained that he only had one question for me:

– If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

And I panicked, and I rushed and as honestly as I could, I shouted:

– A shark! I would be a shark!

To which he sarcastically replied: “of course you would be a shark, a shark is the only animal you could be, because once to’ve locked your bite you will fight with everything before you let go”

I just make it all look easy because I don’t often share my battles… because they are mine.

So here we are. In more recent times I think of a hyaena as my totem animal, there is just something about their mad laugh but I still wonder if there is a price to pay even today for being a successful woman, or if this rule applies to all fighters of any kind. After all, we do require exceptional partners who are willing to see us love our passions perhaps more than we will ever love them, who can see the world beyond spotlights and shadows, who are ready to pick up the pieces when we fail, and feed our minds ideas late at night and early in the morning so that we are ready to do it all over again the next day.

Like Dennis must have done with good old Maggie…

Ohh I do hope that I have just been unlucky, for this means that next time perhaps I will find better luck!

– Oriana Ascanio