On the erotic self

Why am I spending so much time dwelling on the past and digging into my pains? Because I seek to feel fully. Because that is the way to my erotic self.

Sexual acts can be performed without the ability to feel, but then for me they are devoid of eroticism. And I don’t just mean feeling the nice things, the touches and sights and sounds of sensuality. I mean feeling it all, including the darkness of fears and pains and grief.

My work comes from that kind of eroticism. Every speck of light and beauty and joy in my videos is owed to my having felt its equivalent in weight of darkness. My indignation serves my defiance. My wounds serve my openness. My sorrow serves my yearning.

Not that you need darkness for pleasure. But pleasure will be limited by avoidance of darkness. That is what I believe anyway.

So right now I’m sulking. And it sucks. But I think of what initially got me to this project: the only way out is the way through. So I march on, meticulously mischievous in my determination to feel. It. All.

The erotic self. The force of desire, however hushed and concealed, inextinguishable olympian flame. Life spark itself, what makes trees grow and animals born. In the tunnel of the quest, it is the light that guides the way, the wind that pushes forward.

Even now, depleted as I am by the scope of my inner storm, I don’t have enough to project this light outward but it is the source of my perseverance. I drink at its well anywhere I can, thunder, timid smiles, shadows on the wall, fresh water. Tipping my head to the sky, the feeling of my hair gliding down my naked back.

I have a few days off right now. Tuning in and trying to listen to what I need. All I want is to stay in bed. I feel myself there, every muscle heavy and skin cool against the softness of the sheets. There’s so much passing by me, I try to let it come and go, rise and fall, wax and wane.

It’s like I’ve gone down a newfound layer of the basement and found myself covered in spiderwebs. I could go back upstairs and pretend it’s not there but I know now, I know it’s there. It takes a willingness to open one’s eyes in the fog that comes only from knowing something better, brighter, fuller exists on the other side. And it takes the resources. Mostly time. Time is the most invaluable of resources if you ask me.

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On taking responsibility

Let’s take this all the way.

All this pain is being triggered because I’ve put myself in a position that shows me how dependent I still am on other people’s opinion of me. My goal in life is to play my own game but here I am, confronted with how I let everyone’s perception of me weigh more than what I want, and how I can’t stand by my choices because I can’t stand the idea that people might judge me negatively.

It’s a wake up call, making me see so clearly that I’m still terrified of being myself. Because being myself might hurt, disappoint, anger, threaten, worry, and who the fuck knows what else, other people. My obsession with my current weight gain has the same cause and the same effect, I’m deprived of externally looking like what I wish to be, so I can’t hold on to it internally. I’m still the child that sees herself through the eyes of others and wishes I could be perfect, to avoid having to own what I am and what I’m not.

One of the most challenging thing in this life is the idea that we are all equal and all different, both at the same time. It’s easy to think of everyone that’s the same as equal. It’s easy to accept that we are different if we aren’t equal. I think that’s why it’s so damn hard to take responsibility for who we are. We long to be the same to escape being valued differently, or we value difference while still believing that some are better than others.

I always find myself apologizing for what I’m better at and find myself lacking in all the ways I am worse than. I want so much to believe in relativity and yet my mind keeps circling back to the good ole fashion scale. I keep trying to make myself the same as everyone, whoever that is, and in the process throw myself out with the bath water.

I’ve been trying to drive everyone away so I can be free to do my thing again without having to consider anyone. Yet I’m also still craving any positive reactions, because I don’t have to believe in myself if others believe in me, I can just crowdsource my self confidence. This project has been extraordinary but all the external validation I received did not actually prepare me to take responsibility for myself. The way it just fell on my lap and went away on its own. How I spent so much time defending myself, not realizing that by doing so I‘m still clinging to how I’m being perceived.

I feel helpless in facing this. I want so much to go out there and just be, just do, just go for it. I want my own choices to mean more than what anyone else chooses for themselves. I want to dare believe that what I think of myself is more important than what anyone else thinks of me. But right now, I don’t. I don’t seem to know how. Which is why I feel buried in regrets and resentments and insecurities and all the pettiness that comes with letting the outside world rule your inner world…

On presence

Rereading yesterday’s blog, I’m noticing that in discussing semantics, I‘m slyly avoiding talking about myself… It’s so much easier to remain on the level of concepts then to really open up. Ugh. Let’s try this again.

I’ve been struggling with staying present with myself. I’ve been using all my usual drugs to stay high and away. I feel like the details are irrelevant but I guess that’s where the story is. I started working again. The new job has been bringing up a lot of my triggers. My aversion to expectations. My savior complex. My fears of exposure. My desire to please. My playing small. My paranoia about not fitting in. I’ve gained weight from trying to keep the pain away. That in itself is a trigger. I haven’t kept up with my project. Yet another trigger.

It’s been exhausting, and confusing. On one hand I go out there and behave my most mature ever, rising up to the challenge. But then I come home and it’s like a hurricane inside. The first three decades of my life, raging about, being thrown around, getting all mixed up. And I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with all this shit. I’m not sure if it means I’m doing well or if I’m losing it. Most days I just check myself out. I’m too tired to work on it all the time. Then it blows up in my face in unplanned and ugly ways, and I end up crawling on the floor, a few threads away from blacking out. The other day I felt like I was drowning in rage, wanting to break something to get it out, and I ended up screaming in a pillow, for the first time in my life actually being able to, so much so that my voice was hoarse for a few days.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say because I don’t really know what’s going on. The one thing I am noticing and holding on to is that I haven’t been wanting to die. It’s surprising because it’s really high level pain. I want to believe that it’s not taking me there because it’s original pain resurfacing, stuff that was repressed way back when. So it’s blindingly painful when it comes up but it’s different from the pain of feeling dead inside, which is what makes me wish I was dead. This is more like a cat and mouse game between me and old pain, like an obligatory passage to gain access to more of me.

Anyway, so that’s what’s really been going on, what’s been eating all my energy. If I’m finally writing about it maybe it means I’m entering a new phase, maybe one that doesn’t demand so many exorcisms. Yesterday it dawned upon me, maybe it’s time for me to take responsibility for where I am, what I am, and what I want. Which, come to think of it, is making me feel like I’d rather do a whole other round of exorcisms…

On being born

Last month was my birthday. What a reminder. So and so many years ago, you were born. Meaning you exist, now. I’m still uneasy about celebrating my birthday. Probably because I‘m usually too distracted asking myself, so, how’s existing going for you these days? You know, who needs balloons or cake when you’re assured an existential crisis?

I haven’t been writing. The impulse to apologize is there but I won’t indulge it. I just haven’t felt like it. I mean, everyday I wonder if this will be the day, but all these days have passed without it happening. And it’s not like I didn’t need it. I’m sure I could have used the solace that externalizing my inner monologue brings me. But I guess I didn’t want to, not really, not enough to be doing it.

This is at the heart of something I’ve been obsessing with lately. Doing versus being. I’ve been having a lot of conversations about the purpose and definition of art, and the closest I’ve found that I can actually hear myself saying is: art is the expression of the self outside of itself. So it’s the doing of the being. It’s the product of the soul. The materialization of the spirit. Meaning there’s no doing worth doing if the being isn’t being.

Just as importantly, I’m also embracing art as not restricted to the “traditional” art categories, and not dependent on the “traditional” idea of an artist. I’ve said before that I don’t consider myself an “ist” of any kind, I just choose to embrace or reject ideas or actions associated by “ist” words (feminist, capitalist, humanist, activist, etc, etc). I’ve also said before that I don’t believe there are murderers, only people who commit murder. Well, maybe same goes with artist. There are no artists, only people who make art. And that could be, how they write or how they see life, or how they sing or talk or cook or dance or love…

Isn’t it funny, I’ve spent the last two years defending myself as an artist, and what I do as art, as if my life depended on it and now, I’m basically trying to explode the concept altogether. Maybe freedom seeking is never a done thing.

I don’t know who still reads this, or what it might still mean, but to any other soul out there, I say a very artful heartfelt hello, from my existence to yours.

On the end of the year

Where have you been, where are you going.

I can’t do right now. All my energy has shifted towards observation. Feeling my connective tissue stretching, like the sound of sheets in the morning light.

The in between places. So frustrating or exhilarating, depending how you look at it. The flip coin of expectations and excitement.

Wishing everyone a happy solstice, or a happy whichever holidays bring more meaning into your life.

May old and new ideas marinate in dark skies and glowing lights.

On broken records

I want to be acknowledged as myself instead of as what’s projected onto me.

I want to be a subject, not just an object.

I want to exist in living colors, not in black and white rules.

From a New York Times article by Christine Smallwood on Greta Gerwig‘s latest film: “Gerwig wrote “Lady Bird” partly as a response to films about boys growing up. At the New York Film Festival, she asked the crowd: “What is ‘Boyhood,’ but for a girl? What is ‘The 400 Blows,’ but for a girl? What is personhood for young women?” In most films, girls exist to be looked at. […] Gerwig makes Lady Bird the one who looks: at boys but also houses, magazines, books, clothes and at the city […]”

What is personhood for women? What is looking instead of being looked at? These are simple questions containing a world of personal and cultural revolutions.

Still exploring my internal tug of war about Pornhub, I see the madonna/whore paradigm in action. A woman who’s sexuality is aligned with societal norms is a good woman, a good girl, a good wife, a good mother. A woman who’s sexuality colors outside the lines is a bad woman, a slut, a victim, a perpetrator. And there’s only two camps, so you’re either with us, or you’re against us.

No one is actually saying those words out loud to me. And yet they live inside me, imprinted in every cell. I hear them whispered, I hear them shrieked. They make me shy away from wanting what I want, they wake me up in the middle of the night, they make me fear who I am.

It’s impossible to know what everyone’s actual perspective on the subject is. Sometimes it seems we are archaically condemned. Sometimes I stumble into an echo chamber of deliverance. Blurred lines, out of line, fall into line, forgotten lines…

What is sexual freedom? What is sexual empowerment? What does the world look like when we don’t hate ourselves?

Ongoing struggles, never ending conversations. 10,000 years of civilization and who the fuck knows what was before. I may feel like a broken record about this, but I already know, I won’t have enough of a lifetime to ever make enough sense of it.

On post releasing crash

Burning through the chokehold of stifled freedoms. The epigenetic smell of charred flesh, the sound of neck bones. The inheritance of absolutes, deadweight in my gut. Nature recalcitrated, culture asphyxiated. I come in through the cracks, my purpose ciphered, like trying to hold on to the fog. How could there be an answer to the questions that don’t want to be asked? There is the tenderness of bruises inside the flush of my fever. What following the rules is meant to prevent. But there is no such game for me, I do not know how to play. Buried in the sand under the sea, to be resurrected by the waters. The wish of fallen eye lashes. Like the wish of fallen angels. Nothing plain to see, nothing evident to grasp. Liquid eyes and frozen hands. No more form than fervor.

On hoarding

I’ve been holding on to all this writing… It’s a funny thing, to hoard thoughts like that. I think there’s a fear that I can’t say them out loud unless I know they make sense. But it’s not my job to make sense. It’s my job to be myself. So here they are, in no particular order, so that I can make room for what’s next…

*

It’s day 30 of my menstrual cycle. I seem to have regained the capacity to express myself. That usually means my period is about to start. The more I observe myself in my cycle, the more fascinated I become by how it influences me.

I can’t help but feel like rest is a dirty word. When I need to rest, how I need to rest… It always ends up making me feel like I’m scoring high on the mess-o-meter. But why is there a meter in the first place? What the fuck am I trying to measure?

I do this thing where I have imaginary conversations with people in my head. I came up with this line a while back: When they ask you what the hell I’m doing, tell them I’m trying to be alive before I die.

Always looking for the meaning of things, it’s a lot to ask for. It’s just that, free floating in the void of everything and nothing, I need something strong enough to keep me in orbit.

I don’t remember a single day of my life where I haven’t thought about death. Most days it’s only fleeting. Some days it’s compulsive. I think that’s why sex is at the heart of my art. Sex is one of the few things strong enough to keep me in orbit. To balance out death and loss, to take me back to life. And to take me back to love. Love is the only thing meaningful enough to stick. Everything else always seems to slide off after a while…

*

All the ways that I am torn

I want to be earnest
I think I’m coming off cheap
I want to free myself
I might just be needy
I want to mean something
I’m trapped by my inadequacies

I am by no means the only woman exploring her image. Some days that makes me feel like I belong, like I am one of my generation. Part of something bigger, part of something human. Most days though that just makes me feel insecure, like I’m being redundant, unimaginative, fake.

How can every opposite coexist inside my head? How much ping ponging can a mind handle without hurting its integrity?

I am not one to believe that cutting anything away is ever the solution. I would rather learn how to cool off the flames of contradictions, how to make peace out of enemies. I think learning to breathe with everything is the way to start.

I guess the question is, how do I feed more oxygen into my sense of self? Ha, and I’m right back to breathing! Maybe breathing is the answer to everything. I do know for a fact that it’s the only way I have of influencing my nervous system (cardiac coherence, check it out if you need a quick non-pharmaceutical fix). And I guess a lot of people have been talking about breathing for a lot of centuries…

The thing about breath is, it’s one thing that includes two poles. It’s not like you can skip one or prefer the other. There is no inhaling without exhaling, like there is no eating without shitting, no waking without sleeping, no living without dying.

Maybe that’s why even when I’m doing well, I’m still torn. Because that one way momentum I so wish for, that got-it-all-figured-out consistency I’m told to seek is actually unachievable. And undesirable. Because the light and the darkness, the void and the matter, the in and the out don’t exist without each other.

*

Something is coming into focus for me. One of the reasons I keep falling off track all the time is because of how involved I get with everything. I think I just can’t keep up with myself. It’s like I don’t know how to regulate my own volume, how to maintain sustainable levels.

I extract so much meaning, I engage so deeply with what I encounter… It turns almost everything into an all encompassing high. Of course that’s not necessarily a bad thing, that’s kind of a great thing actually. It just takes its toll in ways that make me need to retreat, give myself a chance to digest, come up for air, regain my footing. From letting so much light in, you end up with extra long processing times.

It’s probably one of the reasons I so often resist engaging with new things. Because I know that once I allow something in, it will seep in fast and deep. It’s also why I am most afraid of the things I actually want. I want them so much, and yet I wait and wait, taking my time, avoiding, a bit of both. Trying to make sure I am ready before I open myself. You don’t open the floodgates if you’re not sure you can handle it. Especially when you want to ride the rushing waters and not just be swept away by them.

A long time ago, I used to wonder if I was bipolar. I was worried for a while, but I honestly don’t think so anymore. Most of it is the flow of my menstrual cycle, something that should be normal, acceptable, and why not even enviable. Then the rest of it is just one of the many ways that I am me. One of my evil re-christened as what is best in me. I am an extra sensitive spirit with a fast revolving mind and a heart that somehow keeps expanding… My my, won’t you listen to that. I’m starting to sound like someone who likes herself!

*

Got herpes on my lip again. It appeared for the first time in a decade three months ago, then it took weeks to get under control while never seeming to completely heal, and now it’s back.

I feel like my body is a battleground. The forces of good and evil, the past and the future, all that I don’t want and all that I do want. Everything clink clonking like the sound of swords and axes hashing it out.

The herpes isn’t the only thing my body is struggling with. My menstrual cycle, my gut, my mood, my weight, my fitness… Everything keeps going up and down. I even have a cold and ear pain coming on and off. I’m working on it all, but I go from motivated to frustrated. The past few years, I’ve had big stretches of time where I was ruthless in my management of myself. These days I seem to have as much counter will as iron will. Honestly, I’m not convinced that being overly controlling is the way to go anymore. I was doing better to some extent because I was limiting myself. It may be easier if you don’t allow certain experiences, but then you’re not having those experiences. And I think, at this point in my life, I am starving for experiences. Whatever consequences they might bring can’t be worse than the pain of missing out.

*

I’ve been watching Margaret Atwood’s stories on the screen, and thinking about how different it is from reading her on the page. It’s late and it’s raining now, and this thought is stirring in my head… The page can be a woman’s refuge in ways that the screen cannot be, because the screen can be a woman’s dungeon in ways that the page cannot be.

Because of how our sexuality gets turned against us, we have to divorce it, or fear being participants in the hurt that happens to us. And/or the only other choice, the one that’s rarely a choice at all, to learn the way that we are wanted to be sexual, a way that can be used, sold, controlled. Either case, it makes us walk around life like our hearts have been cut out of our chests. Seeking in vain, in other places and other people, our own stolen power.

Unwhole. How can anyone who feels unwhole not be utterly sad, angry, despaired, depressed? Hysterical. From the Greek hystera, uterus. The origins of the world. Now not so doctor kosher a term, and yet I can’t help but feel it might very well be the perfect word to describe the state of this world.

When I write, do I hear the sound of my own voice? What do I see when I look at myself on the screen? Can I see the hollowed out parts? Can I hear the secrets I keep? Are all the reflections and artifacts adding up to a whole or are they patching up the holes?

I want to think that I am being clever. That I am an artist. That at least I’m trying. There is so much to be unearthed. There is so much noise and so much silence. What does it take to break through? What does it take to mend the broken seams?

On (a)shamed

Still Sisyphus-ing.

The thing about what happens when you’re growing up is that subject and object cannot be separated. What happens to you gets processed as who you are. Being shamed becomes being ashamed. It becomes a matrix that rules over how you see everything, trickling down into your behavior, so you can keep proving to yourself that this is the reality. This is how early circumstances become conditioning. This is how we don’t leave the room, even after the doors have been unlocked.

My shame matrix is multi-layered. Like a wall with coat of paint over coat of paint. I work on freeing myself from it, each round feeling like I’m taking off another pair of stained glasses. Life looks brighter for a while, until something else happens and I get triggered. Becoming aware again of the feeling of weight on my nose. I thought I was seeing only through my own eyes, but no, there’s another pair of glasses on there, distorting what I see, what I feel like I can do, or can’t do. So it’s back to the shedding work, the remembering, the crying, the trying, the yearning, the waiting. Then one day I notice I don’t react quite the same, I feel lighter. And I realize I’ve taken off yet another pair of glasses.

I’m still thinking about how much my Vimeo account saga acted as a trigger playground. The first time, positively, because I fought for myself and won. That’s such a rare experience for me. That’s what gave me bounds of fresh energy. A feeling of earned freedom, like I was jailbreaking straight out of the shame room. This is how I was able to work on my project the way I did, in such a driven and direct way. Then the second time, negatively, because I tried but it didn’t work. The fact that Vimeo shut me down so completely made me feel like I couldn’t be heard anymore. It made me feel like I was back in the locked hospital room, back in my childhood bedroom, back in the shame room. Back where you truly belong, whispers the distortion venom in my ear… I know that’s just another pair of fucking glasses, but now I’m back in the matrix, ruled again by the old conditioning. And the thing is, it may not be, but it feels real. It feels like the doors really are locked.

I believe that everything exists for a reason, but that without balance, proportions go out of whack and you end up with corrupted files. Shame exists for a reason. It can be an appropriate adaptive behavior. But living your life inside the shame matrix, living your life as an ashamed person, that’s a fucked up proportion. It’s like chronic inflammation. It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for anyone.

Being ashamed really is like being in locked room. It keeps me isolated even in the middle of a crowd, even in front of someone who loves me. Like I’m locked away in a box inside my head. It keeps me away from what nurtures me. Making my videos freed me, and I made them because I felt free, but I feel so out of step from that loop now. Vicious cycle versus virtuous cycle. It’s pretty clear how Vimeo restoring my account the first time acted like a permission slip for me. But now I don’t have the luxury of an outside party giving me what I want. I can’t make Vimeo embrace me again. But honestly, that would be a shortcut anyway, and it would rob me of what I really need. I need to learn to empower myself. No outside permission necessary. It sounds so easy written down. I wish it was as easy to get to.

So I’m back to the shedding process. Being aware that I’ve got a big pair of stained glasses on my nose. That that’s why I wake up in the middle of the night like my head is on fire, feeling like anything I do is wrong, because I am wrong. Knowing that it’s not real even though it feels like it. Knowing that it’s ok, because I’ve taken the red pill, and I’m on track to take off yet another layer, yet another filter, so that life can be that much brighter again.

On me

The desire to be accepted whole, all parts known and included. That is what I want.

When I speak. When I stay silent. When I reveal myself. When I hide.

My good girl. My not good enough girl. My wanting to be seen. My wanting to be left alone.

My own voice. My head under the covers trying to hear it. My days long food and tv binges. My hating myself for it and my wanting more of it. My art making. My todo lists crushing. My endless thinking.

My exhaustions. My elations. My turnarounds, my breakthroughs, my breakdowns.

My moaning and bitching and cussing. My sweet sound seeking. My awakening. My sleeping.

My crazy creatrix. My wild sex goddess. My monkey mind. My inner child.

My inauthentic habitual self. My fearful victim self. My shy vulnerable codependent self. My impatient rushing destructive self. My old tired grumpy self. My mothering caring empathetic self. My spongy no boundary self.

My softness. My hardcoreness. My prettiness. My prickliness.

All me. All of it is me.