Empathy Museum

On a Friday, just before I make lunch Radio 4 Extra has a programme about podcasts. I catch the tail end of it. Yesterday they had one from the Empathy Museum. I’ve never heard of it. It has a collection of shoes and the idea is that you put on a pair and listen to the ‘story’ of their owner. Walk a mile in my shoes is the notion. A good one, I think. They played one from a sex worker (though she preferred to call herself a ‘sexual healer’). She was Australian. It obviously got under my skin for I dreamt about her pushing herself upon him. He felt obliged, I told another woman in another room (one that I’d escaped to, after not being able to bear to be beside them anymore). I don’t think so, she’d replied. I woke from it feeling agitated. Why had it taken me so long to kick up a fuss? He laughs when I tell him of my distrait. It’s a dream, he says. He always says that.┬áIt’s just a dream. I know. I know. But what is it trying to tell me? I want the wisdom of it, not the fall out.

I wrote a little of the book yesterday and felt better for doing so, though there are many decisions I don’t feel able to take. I need help. In this and so many things. I went upstairs and put on the radio and the word ‘daughter’ came up on the screen. It was a woman talking about making a podcast about her mother’s life. She doesn’t need to make a spectacle of it, she was saying.

I am still a little raw. Skinless. I feel ticked off by people, by life, by my family. I can’t seem to get it right. What is right? Went into work early. Another slot about Putin. Will you make waffles for breakfast, I ask her afterwards.

House cleaned. But I didn’t sew. Perhaps a little after lunch, just to feel better, to re-connect with it.

I think about that space to hire. Two days. What would I do? Make it white. Clean it. Be in the silence. Wait and see? Could I suggest that? I search for projects. Anything to get me out of this stuck-ness. Will it help?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.