You’re here only if you think you’ve got the time to find out why I chose Say Not Sweet Anne for my blog title. We’re picking up from “Its the first line of a Lord Byron Poem”.
The poem reads:
Oh say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed
The heart which adores you should wish to dissever;
Such Fates were to me most unkind ones indeed,—
To bear me from Love and from Beauty for ever.
Your frowns, lovely girl, are the Fates which alone
Could bid me from fond admiration refrain;
By these, every hope, every wish were o’erthrown,
Till smiles should restore me to rapture again.
As the ivy and oak, in the forest entwin’d,
The rage of the tempest united must weather;
My love and my life were by nature design’d
To flourish alike, or to perish together.
Then say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed
Your lover should bid you a lasting adieu:
Till Fate can ordain that his bosom shall bleed,
His Soul, his Existence, are centred in you.
Now, I first came across this poem in Middle School. (Yeah, I read Lord Byron and Shakespeare at age 13. I am an arteest!). I liked it, it’s pretty. There are numerous other poems about Anne, all with the same theme. I was enthralled by this all encompassing and unyielding love that Byron was professing The put Anne up on a pedestal that was so uncommonly high, I felt their fairy tale must have been a perfect one. With me so far?
As I grew older and went to University to study art, the poem took on a different meaning for me. In numerous assignments by art professors or in discussions in art history or art theory classes, I was asked to probe more and more into ethereal thoughts, images, pictures, relationships. It all became very philosophical at times. A common theme in my own work became Femininity and woman’s relationship to love. Again, I thought of Anne and her impossible perfection. It wasn’t long before I made the cognitive leap that Anne’s perfection WAS impossible. That the woman couldn’t possibly be as angelic as Byron saw her.
At the same time, I was interacting with classmates, and boyfriends. I sort of grew into my girliness in college and a new facet of my thoughts on Anne came about. I began to associate “Anne” from the poem as a fictitious version of Anne Isabella Byron, the woman the poem is about. “Anne” is just the made up best-case scenario of what Byron hopes Anne Isabella would be. And let me tell you, she didn’t measure up. Their relationship was a sordid one. Say, for example, Jimmy meets Peg. He thinks she’s cute and wants to date her. He goes home and thinks about how awesome Peg is. Without even knowing it, Jimmy assumes Peg likes roller coasters- because he does. He imagines that she enjoys swimming- because he does. That woman that Jimmy is thinking about? That’s not really Peg is it? Its a special just-for-jimmy perfected fictional version of Peg. Peg can never live up to it.
I know, deep right- you still with me?
So now I’ve settled into using Anne to think of that illusion of self that is impossible. I’ve taken Anne on as my alter ego, and I think of her when I hold my self to aspirations I can’t achieve. When I’m woeful about my livingroom not looking like it came from a Martha Living magazine, I sigh a little. Because Anne’s livingroom DOES look like that. When my face is all broken out, I think that Anne’s is perfectly clear.
She’s become a symbol of the unrealistic standards I and others place on myself. And that’s ok.
So, why did I name my craft blog after her? Well, she’s perfect! She’s amazing! She’s everything I want her to be, everything YOU want her to be, and the coolest prettiest diva on the block. Why NOT name it after her?