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 truth

The truth is…

I keep wanting to finish the sentence that starts with the truth is but the truth is I don’t know what the truth is.

I seek the truth that goes deeper than acclaim, deeper than productivity, deeper than everyday health. I seek the place where I belong. I seek the feeling of being one with life. I seek the love that cannot be taken away.

My silence, my hiding, my rejection are expressions of my seeking. Just as much as my showing up is. Clearly I’m still grappling with this. There is never enough proof to make the rational mind stop spinning. Doesn’t matter though, because the truth resides in the heart. That’s what needs opening. That’s what needs listening.

My heart is an infinite ocean. I may be present or I may be absent but my quest remains, ebbing and flowing, its course unalterable.

How I feel is more important than what I do. What I do I do because of how it makes me feel. This sometimes leads me to addiction. And sometimes it leads me to grace. I can deal the former if it means I can have the latter.

In the stillness of the night I hear my voice. It reminds me that I am not alone. I am here even when I am not here. So are you. We are in each other.

On life

I figured out what my spirit animal is. A firefly. I appear. I disappear. I appear. I disappear. I…

It’s difficult to explain why I didn’t write for so long. I started many sentences, never could finish them. Like thoughts that can’t be completed. Then I stopped trying. Distance. Rebellion. Change.

It’s just as difficult to explain why I am writing now. I’m not sure what it brings. But I’ve said it since the very beginning, I’m doing this for myself first and foremost. I am not here to please, I am not here on demand. I am certainly not here to win a medal of assiduity.

What is this disordinate narrative? Well I guess it’s me. All of it is me. The voice in my head, the one scrambled in notebooks, the one I speak out loud, the one that gets published on this blog. What is life but a long fragmented, reinvented, interrupted, continued monologue? Or maybe I’ve watched too much TV. Perception and experience channeled.

This year so far has been incredibly hard on me. Past, present and future are battling it out like some wicked threesome wrestling match. I’m being confronted with challenge after challenge, no detail too small to bring up a shitstorm, no impact too banal to be mistaken for noise. I’ve dug up the ugliest feelings, the nastiest habits, the deepest despair, the roots of my innocence, the layers of my guilt. History, ancestors, triggers. Realities, circumstances, destiny. I’ve been working. I’ve been bingeing. I’ve been sick. I’ve been exercising. I’ve been drinking. I’ve been crying. I’ve been trying. I’ve been giving up. I’ve been caffeinating. I’ve been sweating. I’ve been thinking.

So now what? Now this again. Wanting to mark time. Wanting to hear myself speak. Trying to wrangle a bounty of ephemeral with my magic lasso again.

It’s just not gonna be like I thought it was gonna be. When is it ever. I had such a plan, I shoulda known right there it was too much of a plan to ever come to be. The fact that I still believe I can follow plans is endearing. Cute, like a pink ribbon or a stitched monogram. I keep trying to make myself one but coloring books are just not my thing. The minute I draw the lines first, I know I won’t be filling them, no matter how clever or bright or sharp the lines turn out.

I’ve been calling it that but this is not a project. This is my life. I can try packaging it any which way I want, it’s always going to spill over. It’s always going to run dry. It’s always going to be brand new. It’s always going to repeat itself. It’s always going to make perfect sense and be perfectly incomprehensible.

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 nights

I’m not done working through the triggers of my past. When I rain, I pour.

A few days ago, I woke up after a rough night and it hit me, why I have this maniacal urge to fix things for others, the compulsion to feel I should help even when I know I can’t… But to explain this, I need to dig back into storytelling.

And yet, I would so rather forget the parts of my life that weren’t positive, especially the ones that implicate my parents. It would be so much easier than to have to acknowledge the ways that they, however unintentionally, have hurt me. (Dear parents, if your eyes ever land on these words, please know that my need to speak of these things in no way means that I condemn you. I love you both immensely and respect you so much for having gone through much rougher times than I have. I know you meant to give me more than you received, and you absolutely have. And though I wish all the positive rendered the negative disarmed, it doesn’t, which is why I am here, undertaking the delicately difficult task of pulling the veil from what was too painful for us to discuss together.)

Ugh, this is gut wrenchingly hard to write about. My mind keeps trying to evade the subject, and I keep writing and deleting and writing and deleting useless efforts. My sense of preservation is crying at me to stitch back this wound shut. Fuck it.

The matchbox story. The only reason why I know about this is because my parents told this story in front of me many many times. The fact that they felt free to dispense this as good advice shows how they really didn’t think they were harming me with their child-rearing shortcuts. So here it goes. When I was about two, before my sister was born, I started getting out of bed and wandering out of my room in the evenings. Classic terrible twos, when a little one’s sense of self starts to assert itself. So my parents decided to use a matchbox to block my bedroom door. In the story they tell, it took no more than a week for me to battle with this, trying to get out and crying myself to sleep by the door, but after that, I was perfectly trained, going to bed and staying in on my own. I was told this very much impressed all their friends who came over for dinner at our place, and it greatly contributed to my reputation as a wonder child.

I can’t know if the vague memory I have of falling asleep against the door and later being transported back into my bed, too exhausted to protest anymore, is an actual memory or if it’s something I imagined from hearing the story. I don’t actually remember struggling with the door, but to think of myself in that position brings anguished tears to my eyes, and a feeling of compression in my chest. Like I said, my parents meant well. They were so proud and needy of me to be an autonomous well behaved kid. I’m sure I would have different problems had I been raised to be wild but such as it is, I was raised to learn that I needed to deal with my feelings on my own and that above all, I needed to not bother my parents with my needs. Which of course, no one could have known would be the worse possible set up for what happened next.

Mini recap of a big story. My sister was born but couldn’t eat on her own. She was hospitalized and force fed so she wouldn’t die. After six months of my parents taking turns so she wouldn’t be alone at the hospital, they got her in a home care program and she came home to the room we shared, where she continued to be force fed for another three years, every single night. After she started eating on her own, she developed a sleeping disorder where she would cry in her sleep, also every single night, for another six years.

I’m so used to stating all these things while staying collected, but inside all I want is to fall apart, slide to floor and let the cry out of my throat, let the tears flood my face, let my body tell its own version of what happened.

The link between the matchbox and the nightly force feeding appeared to me a year or so ago. That I had been trained to not leave my bed and to not show my feelings, which is what I continued to do, even as my room transformed every night into an intensive care unit. How terrified I must have been and how impossible it was to escape it. How I was later called a perfect child for handling the situation without any trouble, but how it’s all utterly blacked out from my memory, and yet still haunts me everyday.

Now here’s the new piece of the puzzle I woke up with the other morning. My sister experienced the force feeding not as life saving but as torture. She would constantly try to pull the tube going through her nose to her stomach, she had to be restrained, the setup had to be reset after she learned to make herself throw it up. Then the sleep crying was basically her nightly reliving of that torture, her unconscious grappling with what she had experienced. Meaning, I have spent almost a decade of my earliest life listening to someone I love in pain and fear, unable to help her in any way, unable even to fully understand what was happening to her. Every single night, the sound of her calling out, and my inability to do anything about it… Yeah, I’m not so collected thinking about that part.

I read once that some of the worse post-traumatic stress disorders comes from witnessing helplessly someone else being harmed. I myself was not harmed by my sister’s ordeal, but when I think about it, I’m forced to acknowledge that what I went through in witnessing it is pretty brutal. Brutal. Just the word calls a sob out of me.

I’ve spent most of my childhood days trying to cheer my parents up, help them any way I could, and caring for my sister, soothe her any way I could, because at night, I was a prisoner to her never ending trauma. I could have just as well been sleeping in a straightjacket, subjected to her wailing, my own unexpressed emotions every night burnt a little deeper into me. Oh right, and then there was also my mom’s cancer, as well as both of my parent’s own thousand yard stares from their own childhood traumas, to add to the list of things I had to face but could not fix…

I’ve only just started to understand how deeply my personality has been shaped by these experiences. Why I spent the first two decades of my life prioritizing my family, desperately trying to make up for the sense of helplessness I had absorbed. Why that now follows me everywhere I go. Why I’m so unable to control my over reactivity to anyone’s distress. The sound of someone in pain is to me like the sound of war to a veteran. The idea of distress itself causes me to feel distress, having been trained to be hyper sensitive to it. It’s a visceral and paradoxal response, my entire body tensing and paralyzing itself at the same time.

When I’m like this, flooded back with the past, I wonder if I‘ll ever be done with it. Somehow I don’t think I will. Still, I strive to integrate it all as best as I can, release the suppressed feelings, swap repression with awareness, and develop better ways to self manage myself. At least, when I remember what happened, when I tell my story, I find that I can have more understanding for myself, for why I never remember my dreams, why I can never seem to get enough sleep, and why I so often wake up feeling kind of shell shock.

On being loved and being hated

Why stop here when you can really bring it home.

(Disclaimer: I’m leveraging this blog for therapeutic purposes and using its public function to keep myself accountable. My writing isn’t as much inspired right now as it is required).

So, let me be all the way honest here. It’s not “everyone else’s” opinion of me I really care about. It’s my mother’s. (Oh yeah, I’m getting real comfy on the analytic couch over here…)

Btw, I feel free to write about this now because when I wrote to my parents about my social media coming out, they responded beautifully to that (“as parents we want you to be happy, no matter what it entails for you”) but they completely ignored the other part of my email, which brought up my blog and said that there’s still so many things left unsaid between us but if they ever were to read my posts about them, I hoped they would feel how much I respect and love them. Anyway, I’m taking their silence as saying that they are not capable of going there with me and that therefore I am free to write whatever the fuck I want here.

My relationship with my mom is the most complicated of all my relationships. First because she’s my mother and she raised me. Second because as a woman she was my first example of what I’m supposed to be. Third because she was my first boss, and I worked for her for many many years. Fourth because I’ve always felt that she loved me, and hated me.

Although I wish I could, I don’t think I can paint the full portrait of my mom’s life here. It’s not my story to tell. But my story is nestled into elements of hers, so I have to go there to make sense of myself.

Did you know that a baby girl develops all her eggs when she is still in the womb? Meaning that half of what makes me me already existed in my grand-mother’s body when she was carrying my mom? I guess this is a good starting point.

My grand-mother hated my mom, much more than she ever loved her. This isn’t just from what my mom has told me, which would be her perspective on the matter. This is from what I have observed, and I’m a pretty good observer.

Of course my grand-mother also has her own story, one that explains why she was such a good storyteller, why she became very obese, and why she was one of the most narcissistic person I have ever met. My mom’s childhood looks like a picture perfect suburban dream on the outside and like a horror movie on the inside. She was never safe in her own home. She didn’t have a say in all the things she had to do. She was openly dismissed, criticized, and hated.

When she was 16 she left home. It was a complete break between her and her mother, and therefore her family. Her father went to see her only a few times, behind his wife’s back. My mom worked hard to make a life for herself. She went to college, participated in the sexual revolution, and made her own choices.

But then, and I don’t know the details of when, she came back to her mother. My mom’s wedding was celebrated in the family house’s backyard. When she had a child, me, she named her after her mother. I have the same name as my grand-mother, the woman who openly hated my mom.

When I first became aware of this as a child, my first conclusion was that I was the peace offering of my mom to her mother. Then later, after realizing how much time I had spent trying to take care of my mom, I realized I was unconsciously intended to be a substitute mother. And now, I’m reaching yet another interpretation, and I see that my mom gave in to her mother’s pressure to be a wife and a mother, to be a traditional good woman, so that she could be reintegrated into the family. And I was the symbol of that, of her loss, of her submission, and therefore the object of her resentment, and her hate.

Holy fucking shit. This is what made me burst into tears earlier this morning and it’s still making me cry now. This would be the kind of moment when my old psychiatrist would push towards me the box of tissues that always sat on the table between us (the most tender gesture he’s ever shown me).

My mom never really wanted me to be a kid. I was rewarded for autonomy and I learned to repress my emotional needs. After my sister’s arrival, I became a true master at both. My mom and I would connect on making things happen. Parties, projects, moves, jobs. I started hanging out and helping out at her office I don’t remember when. I started being officially employed by her when I was 13. I worked for her until I was 19, then again for a year when I was 21, and again for a few projects when I was 24. I have since fallen apart properly enough to know exactly why I should never work for her again (and I put a few friends on watch to remind me, were I ever to forget).

The main point here is that my mom’s love and attention was always entangled with working for her, doing things, helping, making things happen. When I behaved like a needy child, she either ignored me or was angry at me, both hiding the fact that she didn’t know how to be my mom in those moments. Hiding also the resentment of being in that position.

I know I’ve used the word hate and that it’s a pretty harsh word. My mom would be devastated to hear me say that I have felt it from her. But I did. A few times, but at crucial times and in ways that sunk so deep they are indelibly part of my self conception.

After I was hospitalized, I was a punching bag for my whole family, because I had scared them in being so burned out but then was “officially” diagnosed with nothing at all which gave everybody the right to make me into the difficult one. When I quit my job with her the second time around, on the phone she was gracious, but when I came to dinner that night she became so vicious my dad had to tell her to stop (the only time he’s ever done that). Those are the occasions that are burned onto my conscious mind. Then there are the ones I don’t remember, the earlier ones. I guess those are still in flames in my unconscious.

Hate. Defined as a passionate dislike. There’s no hate where there’s no love. That’s the passionate part. Then the dislike, that’s the conditional love part. I can’t say that I felt openly hated by my mom the way she did by my grand-mother. But I was never sure I was really loved either. I felt loved for all the things I did. I felt loved for all the other people that loved me. But to this day, I’m not sure that my mom actually loves me, just for me.

Mothers and daughters. That’s not a new story. It’s a typically complicated one. It of course has so much to do with the oppression of women and how we’re barely starting to get away from that. And it has to do with our culture of domination and our economy of addiction, in which unconditional love serves no purpose, or actually poses a threat to the power structures. How can you give what you were never given? It drives so many to try to take what they’re owed. But that cycle perverts everything, and self perpetuates…

So, why is all this shit coming at me like a freight train right now? Because of my new job. Because I started working for a woman, a friend of mine, who unwittingly has become a constant trigger pusher. Her story is also not mine to tell but let’s just say there are a lot of similarities, between her and me, between our families, between the situation she’s currently in and my mom’s history.

I always see my internalized mother in anyone who employs me but I’ve never seen it more than in this job. I couldn’t have written a better scenario to get confronted with this. And sure there are some issues with the actual job and the actual person that is my friend and current employer, but that’s nothing compared to the shit storm they awaken in me that isn’t actually caused by them. I’ve been a wreck for the last three months because I’ve basically challenged myself to the absolute furthest point I can go without falling completely apart again.

I want to see this through. I want to heal these demons inside me, that whisper in my ear that I am nothing, that I need to serve, that I have to fix things for “her”, that my limits are useless, that I should give everything…

Four years ago, I learned to look in the mirror and see myself through my own eyes, not the eyes of my internalized mother (the one I ate and digested and incorporated, spoon by spoon, everyday a little bite, for the twenty years that I lived with my actual mother). This project has been both the tool and the reward of that process.

But this is different. I need to learn to see myself as myself in the eyes of others who are standing right in front of me. Actually, let’s be more precise again. I need to learn to see myself as myself in the eyes of my boss, whose standing next to me every single day that I‘m at work.

And here my project does not help whatsoever. It isn’t the right tool for this context, because this context involves other people I can’t control. Gosh I miss the days when I was spending all my time alone…

I’ve been writing off and on for 7 hours. This subject is too intense to focus only on it. It’s also hitting me that I’ve literally written all of it while lying down on my couch… I guess psychoanalysts really are onto something.

To those who’ve read all this, thank you for following me into my desire to take responsibility. I am doing fine, a little emotionally bruised up but also kind of really proud of myself.

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.