Shades of Gray

 

Shunga

Over a meal with a girlfriend a realisation kicked off that there’s a side of myself that I have not considered, part by circumstances, part deliberately in quite a while.

In a little Restaurant not far from home as I munched on a Schnitzel & fries I listened to a woman talk about her sexuality, what excited her, what she might explore. To begin with I was taken aback, honestly rather shocked by her words, then I realised that actually the conversation stirred something, I felt excited, both by the scenario my gf painted but also by the realisation that I had been closed off to a part of myself.

I came away with my head spinning and the realisation that part of what makes us all tick has been sublimated in me for a while.  Since being single,  I have been living in the emotional, its all been about emotion, feeling and loss. I have thought only about connection and affection, about love and belonging and my lack of it.

Somewhere along the line I have forgotten what passion is, what lust and desire and wanting are all about.

These are strong drives, unleashed they can take you down dark roads, harnessed they can be powerful and life affirming. I have not in a long while explored these paths, but I am free of any ties I had and there are innumerable roads for me to explore if I want them.

Last year I went to an exhibition of at The British Museum, It was Shunga, Japanese pornographic Art from antiquity. I went alone and wandered the exhibition, I’ve always been drawn to early Japanese painting, I don’t know what attracts me to it, perhaps it’s just the way that a culture so different to the one I have grown up with is rendered. Anyway, I am a fan, and to see an exhibition of pornpgraphic Art seemed to make it more enticing.

As I looked at the paintings and prints I found myself strangely un-engaged and just not there, I watched other people looking at the work, I could see fascination, enthralment, chattering, pointing, sometimes open mouths and stares, but I remained a spectator, unmoved. I left the exhibition disappointed, I had expected to find myself shocked, or excited, maybe even turned on or disgusted, but I had no feelings as I left the Museum, I was simply numbed.

Sexuality has not been on my agenda, I remember thinking about Fifty Shades of Gray when it first hit the headlines. I found the furore ridiculous, why on earth would millions of grown women read this utter crap? I just thought what a load of old rubbish, a multi million seller and a film about to come out. But then if I really think and I look back now at this success, it’s obvious, within each person is an innate sexuality, sometimes like me it’s been buried away, sometimes its looked at and engaged, sometimes a badly written book can ignite ideas and thoughts and fantasies and sparks, fifty shades did that for many women. Life is all about passion and excitement, about experience and desire, it is at least if you want it to be.

& Now for me, amongst all the other realisations that I have made in the last year is this latest one, that there are innumerable shades of Grey, that I have parts of myself that haven’t seen the light and have remained in the  shadows.

I am fifty, I am free and I am single, my middle name is Christopher, I am most definitely Grey and life is for the living in all its shades.

 

 

 

 


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