Bed world has always been more than the sum of its parts. It’s the bed itself, of which there have been more than a few over the course of 56 years. It’s also a place I carry internally. Bed world has only had its own place name for the last 20 years, a time frame coinciding with my current home address. This is the very first home I’ve settled deeply into, stayed in, unfurled and stretched out into. So, I guess it makes sense that my understanding of bed world has unfurled here too.
Once, when I was thirteen and in-between psychiatric hospital and the adult world, I retreated to my bedroom, locked the door and started sleeping all day and staying awake through the nights. I emerged in the early hours while my parents were asleep and foraged for comfort food. I read and reread all my books and watched a small black and white telly. It went on for a period of some months. In retrospect, I wonder at it being allowed to happen. A rather terrible triumph for a girl who needed to be found much more than to succeed at hiding. And, I remember it as my first absolute descent into bed world. Seeing, talking, sharing air and space with anyone else, had simply become impossible. Behind my bedroom door I created a container of sorts, and one that I would look for again and again and replicate many times over. A powerful driving force that I wouldn’t be able to translate for another couple of decades.
Anyone who knows Leonard Cohen’s body of work, will recognise the sense of place he creates via tables and hotel rooms. He has been sitting at the ‘old wooden table’ and writing songs in hotel rooms, forever. They’re part of his lyrical landscape. Bed world is my version of that ‘returned to’ place, though I don’t think it has the same kind of poetic oomph. I’ve always loved the poetry of tables though I’ve never really had one of my own. I sit on the floor. Or I sit on my bed in my bed world. And when I travel, I can’t help but make a little bed world outpost.
Bed world is kinder to me now that kindness has broken through. It used to come with an unremitting violent backlash of self-hate, self-attack and self abuse. I was trying so hard to self sooth and yet always ended up chomping away on my own flesh and bone. Bed of decomposing hopes and dreams. Filthy dirty, putrid bed. Bed as prison. Ugly Bed. I could go on but I’m sure you get the point. Depression can quite easily get stuck in a bed. It’s falling at the first fence. Failing. A sadistic boot in a submissive’s soft underbelly. My depression has always taken me to bed, or kept me in it. It always spoke to some kind of longing, like a drug that promises a lot and then crashes horribly.
And just to complicate it further, I thought I wanted/needed/should have, the company of that one special person, in bed world and in the world, world. It can take so damned long, to find what has been right here all along, patiently waiting. It has only taken virtually my whole life to date, to grasp I am a solitary or tribal creature. I’m just not built to dance the two-step. And yes, I’ve had some grand adventures in bed world, some meetings and pleasures and tenderness. Nothing I could tolerate for long though. I need a lot of space. Much more than I thought. And while I don’t know for sure if this is a part of my depression, it feels like it is.
I wanted to try and write something about bed world, because it is the centre of my wheel. I feel a spike of shame at that articulation. For fucks sake girl, you need to get out more! But the truth is that bed world is the hub of life. I write, sleep, dream, plan menus, watch crap on telly, delight in Bebe The Cat, read, listen to Leonard, talk on the phone, occasionally Skype… I wake up every day and find myself still in the world, here. I am lost and found here. I am here, here. So, I am here and now, bringing bed world to the table, giving my bed world its very own blog post. I know it’s paradoxical, bed world being so private and all, but I’m beginning to get, just how fiercely my solitude needs to be seen.