Thank You Darling - One Day's Notes On Anger

By Lucy Harbron - 18:02


“a play on apparent cliched stereotypes of femininity, but her work has a depth and toughness…” 
- Lily Van Der Stokker, 'Thank You Darling' at Camden Art Centre

Staring at the big wall of flowers trying to decipher darker meanings felt apt today – when the world is talking about wombs and the ownership of them changing hands. I wanted to find some comfort, something soft and feminine, made by our hands for our eyes, whispering like mums to daughter ears, friend to friend. Leaving the house, I felt the familiar pang of cramping and today I hated myself for taking it for granted – the nothingness I feel towards if it comes or doesn’t, tracking so laxly that the whole app is pretty pointless, I’ve just been letting my body tell me without listening too intently. On Twitter, people are talking about ways to safely track your hormones without the government knowing, and I hope I don’t bleed through my white jeans. 

But in my fantasies, I do, create a pool around me right here on the overground, today of all days. Stain shoes, walk red across London, make it brutal. 

Someone should write a dystopia in which a period is illegal and watch it make people squirm. Not because it hits too close too home, but just because of the descriptions of blood. I would make it so gory. Have the main character sneeze and write monologues about the flood; clotting and metallic.

I thought about it all train journey while mindlessly clicking through infographics that managed to break through their usual numbness. I reshared some but no one know what else to do.

Spanning years with big pastel walls, I walked slowly waiting for one of the slogans to hit me. All about babies and loads and cohabitation, I think it’d be better on any other day when a soothed mind could find space to introspect on midgrounds between joy and regret, peace and anger, sweetness and snark. But on a big blank canvas housing only the world “childcare”, I wanted to write an essay. Wanted to scribble on the entry notes that every and any ounce of femininity is always deep and tough – there’s no addition needed, no active thought. I wanted to scream that you could hang a single pan, a spray of perfume, handbag lint or hairbrush strays and find toughness; only no one would talk about it because it wasn’t labelled, invited into the higher canon of art and then made so. I wanted to say something about how the daily acts and thoughts of women shouldn’t always have to be annotated for someone to see the depth. 

I’m still thinking about an argument I had with a bar on Instagram over a neon sign, the day making me brave to stand up to something, I wanted to fight. “Normalise Sex Work” – thank you, businessman. With each Love Island boy standing in the pink light, do you feel the world change? Do you lock up every night with the credit in coin bags, making thoughtful change through silly porn names?

I’ll be considering comebacks for three more days, contemplating how womanhood is a currency for everyone but us to spend. Expected to analyse worth worn into every tiny top, while 30-year-old men aestheticize safety, and at 60 they’ll take cash to kill us. Caving in our rights till there’s no choice but to curl up, clutch tummies, self-soothe and die.

A wall says nothing but “thanks” in a field of flowers. “Thanks for affirming we’re on the right path, Lucy”, the bar said to my criticism. The most cutting tone I could muster purposefully misread and shot back at me like girlie politeness. At 24, why am I so used to this? Raised knowing we can never win, but isn’t it sweet to play nice, share toys, brush hair, make your dolls kiss, turn into them.  Make-believe your entire life so when something happens you can’t articulate your feelings outside yourself, say “please” and “thank you”, smile and then shut the fuck up.

I’ve never hit anyone but my sister. I’ve never screamed without reserve. Even when I cut myself, people cared about the visible impact, soaked my arm in lavender oil and prayed the upset wouldn’t show on my skin. 

Sat in a garden with a gin and cake, I could throw the glass onto the concrete and howl. But I won’t. I wouldn’t know how. 

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