O.k so while I sit nursing a crappy cold, take a few more Sudafed and other cold remedies, I am reminded of how good it is to still be here, it is 14 years since I was diagnosed HIV Positive, it had gone a long time undiagnosed so it damn well nearly killed me!
While recuperating at home after being released from hospital and being totally dependent on others, I was visited by a Physiotherapist. She had come to visit in mind of assisting me to get back on my feet and walking again. Since leaving hospital and having to be carried from the car to my home, I had lost the use of my legs, they felt like they didn’t belong to my body! I couldn’t get them to move? I would sit and really concentrate trying to get messages through to make them move but they wouldn’t?
They would jump on their own accord every so often, I had no control of these strange spasms? I was adhering to my HIV medication well, and I felt so much stronger and really wanted my independence back so this meant ‘Walking again’.
So the Physio arrives with the biggest wooden walking stick, I was waiting for the Sheep to arrive ‘I was no shepherd, and definitely not Little Bo Peep!!!’ This was truly in bad taste, insult to injury. She handed it to me, I tried to raise myself leaning on a sideboard ( I became good at Furniture walking, and still rely on it now), the stick was far too tall for my 5’4 frame and I felt like I had become like one of ‘Monty Pythons Ministers of Funny walks’ surely this was a joke!!!
No, sadly it wasn’t!!!
So that stick became known as ‘Too Many Pricks for my Liking!!!’ It was one of many items that became also known as part of the ever-growing, ever evolving collection titled ‘The Museum of the Loss of Practicality +other Peculiarities’ that were all started and created for my Fine Art Degree show at Portsmouth in 2008.
The stick has approximately 1000 Drawing pins (gold) and Sharp side prominent adhered to it, a very long process and pretty dangerous to complete, it had to be propped up on cushions while I worked on it trying not to get punctured by the pins! A large Red Ribbon is attached to it. Beautiful but dangerous!
The reality of this piece is, it is difficult to take hold of without getting hurt by it, sometimes words and actions of apparently helping the problem can be really hurtful and insulting. This piece was really cathartic for me to be able to produce, to vent the spleen I’d had removed, to get the last word and have a visual voice showing my disdain for some of my experiences of those early days but also shows that I never lost my sense of humour, something I believe has been my saving grace along with my anger and sheer bloody mindedness!!!