On gifts

Perspective is the gift that patience grants.

Climbing up I see nothing but my nose against the rock. It’s when I reach a plateau and turn around that I’m astonished by the view. The landscape that was surrounding me all along is now mine to take in. I am not alone and alienated anymore. I am a part of it.

That’s when pride comes. The kind of pride that’s like blushing, starting deep within and rising all the way to my cheeks. Not something that can be willed into existence. It just comes as a gift. From myself and from truth.

So here I am. Seated high up on the mountainside. Sweaty but beaming. Nowhere near a sense of having arrived and yet completely immersed in being somewhere I have never been before.

Looking back on the handful of posts I wrote this year, I can hear the cost of the journey. The oozing of pain. The silence of withdrawal. The blankness of the labor. I see myself getting there, even if at the time it felt like sinking into quicksand.

I can now see what I’ve done because I can see where it took me. Sticking with something is a powerful way to travel. I held on to my job. I braved my past. I weathered the triggers. I stuck with it. I did it because I could. I had to because I could.

That’s how I know I am meant to do something. Because I can. It’s shitty logic or it’s pure logic. Either way, it’s how I collapse the paradox of destiny and will. Which is another gift if you ask me.

I’ve been having this magical experience lately. I will be in the middle of whatever when this thing occurs to me. I like the person I have become. Through everything that’s ever happened to me. In all the ways I have failed and succeeded. Breakthroughs and breakdowns. From feeling like I don’t exist to trying to destroy myself to looking in the mirror and embracing what I see. It’s a process alright. But here I am. I can say it without cringing. Without faking it. I like myself. It’s in my bones and in my blood now. It’s a tool of freedom. A quiet power. And it’s definitely the greatest gift ever.

On diving deeper

So what am I angry about? I wonder if I can try finding the words for it.

I’m angry that I feel uncared for. I’m angry that I know how to take care of others more than I know how to take care of myself. I’m angry that I feel like I am owed something. I’m angry that I keep trying to find care in all the wrong places.

Ouch. Ok so I guess this anger is about care. I didn’t realize until I wrote this. I thought I was writing about being angry but I guess I’m writing about that instead.

That instead. I don’t even know how to call it. This lack of care thing. This neglect feeling thing. This what I feel doesn’t matter thing. This I don’t feel that I matter thing. This trying to forget that I feel that thing. This trying to care for myself with drugs or control thing. This difficulty to do what’s good for me thing. This resistance, inability, fear of taking care of myself thing.

I don’t even know what care means. Dictionary oh dictionary, show me what you see… Solicitude. Attention. An object of worry. To look out for. To have an inclination, fondness, affection. To feel concerned about. To watch over.

Holy fucking shit now I’m crying. So yeah I guess this is about that.

I had a rough childhood. It’s still so hard for me to say. And right away I feel like I have to say that it just happened that way, as it usually just does. But I guess that is why I’m a shitty caretaker of myself now. Because my learning of that got compromised. Twisted and repurposed. Disregarded and overlooked.

And I’m angry about it. I wish I could say that I‘m not but that would be a lie. I’m also terribly terribly sad about it. But I guess it makes sense. I look around and I see a hell of a lot of people with the same problem. And I can’t help any of them. Cause I can’t even help myself.

And I can’t blame my parents either. I know they did the best they could. I can’t blame circumstances because they couldn’t help themselves either. So I just have to figure out a way to be angry and sad without anything to blame it on. Just hold space for how bad I feel without being able to transfer the brunt of it on a reason or a target. Ha. Wouldn’t that be great, to have a villain to hunt down and kill which would forever free and heal me. Yeah, it would be great. If only I believed in such a thing.

It’s much harder to be heartbroken without anyone to blame. Not even yourself. Because then there’s nothing to distract you from the pain. Like this I have to brace myself and let it take over, let it ravage me with nothing other than the hope that I will remember who I am on the other side.

I’m so angry at what happened to me. I’m so angry at what happened to my parents. I’m so angry at what happened to my sister. I’m so angry at what happened to the world. It makes me feel like a tiny human brandishing my fist at god in the middle of a hurricane. Totally pointless. But even worse would be to sit there pretending nothing is happening.

I don’t know if what I’m writing makes any sense but tears are still rolling down my face. Like a tiny hurricane to match how small I feel. The only good thing is that now I can go to sleep. Because I’ve cried, because I’ve actually touched how I feel, I know that I will feel better. Not yet, but soon.

On what’s on the inside

Trauma is like stuffing stockings down your throat and actually swallowing, getting it stuck in your lungs and your bowels and your limbs until you’re packed so full of compressed stress that you can’t move or breathe or think anymore.

Trying to free yourself of trauma is like uncoiling a giant python that’s slowly but steadily been eating at you from the inside out, pulling yourself from its mouth as you spit it out of yours.

Anger is my Achilles heel. I have yet to learn to let it circulate through me. I got a lifelong habit of swallowing it back instead. This year I finally got around to screaming in a pillow. I find it bruises my vocal chords but hitting and biting myself hurts way worse. The other day I even screamed out loud, like really loud. I kind of surprised myself there. I honestly didn’t know I could do that.

If a ball of fire was rushing towards you, it’d be best not to get in its way. Better let it get the fuck away from you. That’s what anger feels like to me. Repressing it is like trying to get a pissed off dragon to act like a pretty pet. It’s just that when the gates are closed you really don’t have a choice but to wrangle with the beast. And while that allows you to look cool on the outside, it gets you burned to a crisp on the inside.

I guess I’m using the word anger and trauma interchangeably today. Maybe I’m angry about being traumatized. Or maybe repressing anger is traumatic. Yeah. Both sound about right.

Years and years of anger and trauma, laced together into a lethal injection. That shit really will kill if you can’t let it leak out of you. How is the question though. Because those feelings and reactions got frozen in time not for nothing. They might as well be a dragon spitting fire. Even when you know that getting in touch with them is the way to free yourself, you’d better have a functioning fire extinguisher close by when you do.

Right now I feel overwhelmingly angry. Just not about anything that’s happening right now. Which is why it’s so fucking hard to know what to do. I have no idea how to process this weight of disillusion washing over me, this massive wave of animosity with nowhere to go.

That’s the worse part about it. My entire energy field is paralyzed and the fever has nothing to burn through so I just stay hot, too hot to calm down and too hot to move on. It’s utterly frustrating to feel like you can’t help yourself and there isn’t even anything wrong. I mean I guess that plenty of wrong did happen but it isn’t happening anymore so what can I do about that?

I wish I could release it all. All the hurt and the rage and the violence. I want it picked up and shipped off. But it’s terrifying. I’m afraid it’ll overpower me. I’m afraid I’m not strong enough to feel everything I’ve stuffed in there. So I lie here on my couch in the dark writing about it instead. Maybe it’s the closest thing to screaming I can handle for tonight.

On crossroads

I’m standing at the intersection, staring at the lights. The signals are blank, none of them speak to me. I look up to the night sky, the stars are shining bright. They twinkle at me like maybe they know which is the direction I need to go. 

To live in civilization and yet to long for something more. Deeper than technology. Stronger than industry. More alive than productivity. 

I dream of the frontier which does not exist anymore, the place beyond where nature is untouched. Virgin and raw and organic, applied to more than the content of my kitchen cupboards. 

To be covered in earth without cringing. To be covered in earth and feel that I belong.

The fastest way for me to touch nature is to reach inside myself. Close my eyes and look deeply. Lie still and touch the fabric of my being. There it is. Realer than real. 

That’s the place from which I can meet others. From being inside myself, inhabited. I is the thing that sees you. Without that there is no bridge. Without that I am walking through the sea of people alone. 

When we meet there is nature. Where we meet is nature. Wild. Untamed. And perilous. Interactions without scripts. Presence without machinations. Seeing without knowing. The real is not a bargain. The real is where it’s free.

I’ve only ever wanted this place to be real. We all have enough fake in our lives. That’s why even when there is so much to say, I can’t try unless it emerges on its own. That’s how it can keep up with where I am going. Even when I don’t know where it is I am going. 

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.

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.