Her name is Aphrodite

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…less than a month before her death. Still painting flowers…

 

          It feels decidedly strange to have reached a point in my life where the immediate, highly significant people in my life are all descendants, extended family or friends whose primary obligations are to their own families. No parents, no siblings, no partners or lovers. Sometimes it’s sad but mostly it’s odd – a mixture of uncertainty and freedom which at the moment at least, is tempered only but my need to be a little conservative with my finances, and my health.

For the first time in 64 years I have both the opportunity and a sense of permission to do what I want, when I want, subject to the parameters I mentioned above (and the availability of my wonderful Petcarer). I have recently committed to working one day a week in my old career, but this was a choice I made, for a fixed period of time. It’s my delight to spend time with my daughter and grandchildren but not an obligation. My connections with friends and extended family are made with common purpose and timing. I am able to renovate, furnish and decorate my house to my taste and specification; to celebrate my birthday by taking an overseas holiday for the first time and I can devote hours to my own sensual pleasure if I choose.

For the first time  in my life I have a deep appreciation of why my mother spent spent so much time buying nice clothes, taking care of her appearance and making her home a pleasant place to be. It fed her aesthetically and artistically, nourished the sensual woman within her, compensated for the emotional gaps in her life and, on another level, I believe it fed a feminine archetype commonly associated with the goddess Aphrodite.

Aphrodite, whose creative spirit also moves through me, is typically associated not only with creativity but also sensuality, beauty and passionate love. Throughout my life Aphrodite has been a powerful but often destructive force as her spirit manifested through problematic relationships. Her vitality is empowering but also dangerous. I sense her presence in my recent desire to purchase beautiful sensual clothing, luxurious sheets and a variety of sex toys. She is moreover a guiding presence in the writing of this blog, a task I undertake with some personal misgivings.

Typically associated with warm, romantic colours and beautiful flowers Aphrodites’ sensual spirit manifests atypically in my life at this time through a desire to wear and decorate with rich, moody, midnight blues. My staple black garments have been replaced with navy, indigo and ink. And, yes mum, my underwear and my outerwear match! My bed, the midnight oasis featured in the title of this blog,  is layered with textured fabrics in these colours and I have recently hung a floral artwork I made several years ago as a divider between bedroom and studio spaces.

When I was caring for my mother I fought to keep Aphrodites’  spirit alive in her, even as Mums’ dementia took hold. Beauty, creativity and sensual pleasures matter, regardless of age or personal circumstance. Because of this I planted, bought and gathered flowers for Mum, took her to the ballet, painted her nails (not an intuitive task for a compulsive nail biter), organised a beautician to visit her at home and laid out her art materials. And I cherish photographs of her taken less than a month before her death, in her nightie, paint brush in hand, painting flowers…