A Good Day

“Today was a good day, wasn’t it?”

Yeah. Would it be cliche to draw comparison to heaven, to euphoria, to escape? Or would that be too privileged of an answer to give?

“Fuck political correctness and tell me how you feel.”

It was heaven. Euphoria. Escape. Blankets aren’t as warm without your body heat and sleep isn’t as resting unless I can feel your breath tickling my ear. Your arms are like the ribbon tying me together. Does that make me a present?

“I mean…”

Okay. Let’s settle for special.

“You are special.”

Special is a funny word. Your tone implies a euphemism, a disguise, snark I don’t understand. Perhaps my own insecurity acts as a megaphone, altering your voice onto a loud, invasive creature licking my neck.

“…Gross.”

Right? But I trust you. I trust you more than to think you mean it to be absolutely hilarious. I trust you to make such jabs at my insecurities, to make me laugh and forget about them all together. Am I special? Who cares!

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“Yeah! Fight the power!”

You are the power. I fight you the way a shadow fights with light. It’s a play fight, a game of hide and seek. I hide in plain sight because I want you to find me, to catch me, to tickle me until I’m breathless. I’m breathless around you. When we first met did you go to bed and think of me, like I did you? Was there a shiver hiking up your spine, slowly, debilitatingly, devastatingly, gorgeously? Hey, gorgeous.

“What?”

Continue reading “A Good Day”

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Strut

5. Look at me. Why? Because you insist on straight lines, north and souths, lefts and rights - directions always become a mess! Look at me. Stop strutting and stand in the middle of a straight line. Dare to make it go off course. It won’t, you see? Its direction is embedded into my skin now. It cannot go off course. You did this to yourselves, you’ve denied yourselves. This is it. It’s coming closer. It’s coming closer now. It’s going to hit you. Don’t move. Don't move. Don't -“Evolution has made us into machines,” you say. “We do not turn our heads at the scent of blood. We dare to stare boldfaced at the Sun and see a ball of gas instead of our Mother. She is a a scientific wonder we want to touch instead of a force of destruction that will burn us if we touch Her. What’s more, we hear sirens and crane our necks in the hope of catching a glimpse of a gasping victim. We turn our televisions off and listen to the traffic instead, wondering if other little heads are as mechanic as our own – ”

Oh, please. You are not a machine, child. You are flesh and blood. You are breakable, sometimes irreparable. Doesn’t the melody of the sirens prove that, in and of itself? Continue reading “Strut”

The Best Revenge

The mouth of the deep dark cave I kept returning to with the hope of finding remnants of an old treasure is gone. Shining, glittering, and swallowed up by the sea. The tide was rising for ages, engulfing me inch by inch. It was rising so much I titled my head up for air, hoping for a miracle written in the stars above me. How long can a drowning victim survive standing on the tips of their toes? According to the time stamp of my phone, exactly 24 days. But guess what? it only took 24 hours for me to climb out of there and watch paradise disappear underneath the cool mirror surface, as the sun moved out from behind the moon and everything burst into color. All that was left was my rippling reflection. And that’s how I knew I’m all that’s worth saving.

Every temptation, every reminder, every trace of this is gone. Words, Smile, Name. Everything:

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The Words were knock offs anyway – if I want authenticity, I’ll buy it for myself. The Words I speak now are authentic, high-end, genuine, real.

The Smile was too soft anyway – I am hard and smooth as a stone, my smile comes easy but my disdain comes easier. The Smile I wear now is worn, carved into my stone face with the intricacy that was lacking here.

The Names you tickled out of me were too impersonal anyway – when I am called, I expect the vowels of my name to be laced with personality, with a story, with an unusual tilt in the end that always ends in a pretty little package of a question.

The cover is blown, shut, banished; it is gone. I’ve deleted the unoccupied, M-shaped space in my life already – actions speak louder than words, love. I’m doing myself the favor, the favor of getting over this wasted paradise, of letting go of your Capital Letters, of being my Best. I’m doing it before you can even snap your head in my direction long enough to declare death upon the gasping poor thing on the ground between us. We all know it’s dead, idiot. Sometimes denial just makes it harder to declare.

Every desire that I could count off on my fingers is gone now. One day I will be the best version of myself. I will be successful. Surrounded. I will have a foundation of love, first for myself, and second for those who love me back. I’m gonna lead a life unstolen from anyone else, and any hesitation I experience until then just tells me I still have work to do. But when all that work has paid off and I am healthy and happy and hella fuckin’ loaded? Then honey…

Oh, dear.

I won’t even remember your name.

Two hundred and forty three bucks

Here it is. I owe you about that much. Yes, owe. For dinner. And the dress. And the abundance of flowers.

No, take it. Seriously, I’m not fucking around. Just take it. Take it.

Listen to me. Understand something cause it’s very important. No, don’t purse your lips ’cause you hate these conversations and find my feelings, my passion to be awkward, to be Too Much.

Listen. I don’t want your money. I don’t want the fancy dinners. I don’t want cars or penthouse apartments, I don’t want a pretty thing for my birthday. I don’t want any of that, honey, I want you.

I want you.

‘Cause I’ll tell you what. One text message. Just saying… I miss you. I’m thinking of you. That’s it, no initiation for conversation, no elaboration, just a simple “hey, I like you, I haven’t forgotten you, I miss you.”

That is worth a million dinners to me, because I want you, baby. I want you.

And honestly? That is such a miniscule amount of effort. Beyond that? I can only wish.

I can get myself pretty things. I work hard, I’m ambitious, I’m independent, and I love doing that. I love doing my thing, living my life, building my career. I NEED that.

And I know you get it cause you’re like that too. And I love that about you. I love that you work hard, you’re ambitious, you’re independent, and you love doing that. I admire you for it. I understand you for it.

But something is wrong when I think, “I’d be so incredibly happy if you just sent me a birthday message.” A birthday message. Even if it’s just “happy bday :)”.

How fucked is that?

Take the money and understand me as you do. I don’t want your bucks. I don’t want you to spoil me because it’s been ages since we’ve talked so you gotta compensate somehow, no. 

I want you.

Just you.

Jane Eyre

If strength means being unfeeling, I am weak.

Passionate. Emotions burst out of me unwarranted, words pour out of my mouth like a bazooka, and I? Tend? To invest myself in objects. Objects. The objects are made of muscle and sinew, a void missing the “chip” that “makes us human”. Are we ashamed to be human? is that the root issue? Do we wish to be the animals we document on TV, the unfeeling wolf who snatches at a baby doe without the sensitivity of a French savoir, without the delicacy of a marinated sauce simmered to perfection and drizzled over our amuse-bouche to disguise the baby animals we snatch as well?

 

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“‘British Birds: the King Fisher'” [Jane Eyre, 2011]
If strength means lacking human quality, I am weak.

Even a wolf has a family, a litter of doe-eyed pups looking to grow big and strong like their mama,to grow into “unfeeling” killing machines. Unfeeling? Please. I run barefoot and tear myself to shreds in the process, but I grow a thicker skin, I glow with hotter blood, I smile with a metal fuckin’ smile and I love it. I love it with all my intensity and without apology.

If strength means holding back, I am weak.

I cry over a sink a couple times a week and my eyes are puffy and pink, but hey, you know what else is puffy and pink? My hair. I laugh really loud and I talk a little shrill and I lose my mind with a kind of liberty I can never control, but hey, you know what else is loud and shrill and free? Songbirds.

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“I’m not in need of tea, thank you.” [Jane Eyre, 2011]
If strength means not caring, I am weak.

I sing with a broken voice and I fly with snapped wings, but I do it all anyway. I twirl and I twirl until I’m seeing stars and depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll either bump my head and cry a little, or start laughing really hard cause man, I can see my house from here! Space is wicked and I love it and I’m not even sorry.

If strength means keeping my head up, I am weak.

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“You would rather break my heart than break some human law?” [Jane Eyre, 2011]
I fall. I break. I lose hope. That happens, but don’t be fooled. It doesn’t scare me. Beyond rock bottom is hell and… I have a timeshare there. Eventually, the same passion that betrayed me and made me crash down like a meteor? It will lift me up again. I’ll lift me up again. Because without the capability to thirst for something better, without the emotions that chatter and tell me better, without the feelings that burst through my body and electrocute me in the heart to revive me for the better? I am a stone. I am a rock. I am an island. And those guys sure as hell don’t have the strength to get themselves out of a stagnant pace.

If I am weak, then fine. I am weak.

Because if that’s is what strength is supposed to be, I’d much rather be weak anyway.

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“Awaken then.” [Jane Eyre, 2011]

Flaws on my Sleeve (Or, Whose Choice Is This?)

I do not have the courage to do this, this, a feat that blindsided me when I realized during a sleepless slumber that something needs to step, step, step towards solitude and calcification – I’ve been diluted, and dragged, and drilled, and goddamn I don’t know how to feel. I don’t know how to feel. I don’t. Know. How to feel.

All I can feel is… I am an absolute. Absolute. Absolute. Decimal points do not exist in my sphere. All or nothing, obsessions, dedications. Godly devotions to abstinent objects of love. To love, it’s a risk I cannot take.

How can I love when I can’t even love myself? When I wear my flaws on my sleeve and expect you to love me?

I live in a land far away. My mind travels to the borders of insanity when I imagine the possibilities stretched out before me and laid out like a present. Dotted lines guiding my blade along the crucifix of my radius bone, that is the path I chose.

The permanence of my choices are immortalized in my flaws, boils shining through my complexion. I wear makeup like a ballroom mask, I paint over the black boils on my face with the same artistry I use to illustrate sunshine in the corners of the pages of my blighted childhood.

I am an absolute. Absolute. Absolute. It’s the name of my heartbeat, the infant’s cry that bubbles up and breaks through the atmosphere every time I am faced with another choice, another flaw, another fork in the path that I stab myself in the back with. I laugh too hard, I cry too much, I’m fantastic, ballistic, artistic, sadistic, stones and sticks, no, sticks and stones, alone, alone, alone.

I do not have the courage for this, for this. How can I love when I can’t even love myself? How can I wear my flaws on my sleeve and expect you to love me?

I am too aware. Of the absolutes, absolutes, absolutes of my character. I bare them all like I am proud of them. I put them on display like a rigged deck of cards, asking the public to take their pick, I’ll do a magic trick! I’ll disappear in a pink poof and a shamanistic twirl of my skirt. They point out that the red heart on the razor sharp card is dripping something warm, something stingy. I show off my flaws because I am too aware of them, so let the crowd know what they came for! Come one, come all, Herr God, Herr Lucifer.

I make incisions in my flesh where my flaws stick out like thorns… because who would want to embrace something as prickly as me? Who could develop fondness for something as smoky as me? Who would trust someone with a tongue made of solid silver, someone who looks in the mirror and sees nothing but a piranha with a smile too big for her face?

You can’t touch a water spirit, you can’t catch an echo. When I open my eyes so wide it is because I want you to see yourself in them. I want you to be the narcissist so I can reflect you, become a puppet of you. Narcissists are lucky because they do not see beyond themselves.

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Echo and Narcissus (1903), a Pre-Raphaelite interpretation by John William Waterhouse

But when I, when I look at your face, my dear, I see the galaxy. I see a mess of perfection, a tidy complexion, dare I say a smidge of affection. Honey, you are my mission. I want to make you understand that you, my darling, wear my heart on your chest. It lies in crimson pieces and it’s staining your white shirt, but like always you tell me it’s an old shirt anyways.

How can I love you knowing that you will eventually become tired of the prickle of my thorns because you ran out of band aids long ago? How can I love you knowing that eventually my tears will become an inconvenience that you can’t joke away anymore? How can I love you knowing that eventually I will become the white noise buzzing at your ear that you will swat away like a fly until I become the recluse, beginning the cycle anew?

How can I love you, baby, when I can’t even love myself? How can I wear my flaws on my sleeve and expect you to love me?

I see you. On the horizon. Wearing a stained white shirt and tidy complexion. You tell me I look better without makeup, without the paint, without the masks, without the piranha smile. My flaws burst into sunshine I don’t have to draw on a paper to be real anymore. I become a supernova caught in the eye of the beholder, colorful, bleeding, a narcissist ready for the taking because my God, they wouldn’t even be able to look at themselves and see you, but I do. Darling, you make me an absolute.

Absolute. Absolute. Absolute.

I do not have the courage for this. This. A choice. How can I love when I know… I am so hard to love myself? How can I wear my flaws on my sleeve and expect you to love me?

I know how.

I do it like this.

For the Artists

Straitjackets are, and always were, a popular trend throughout the history of the artist community.

It has gone as far for people to say that my mental illness would be perfect for the biographies that will one day tell the story of my own artistic career. I’ve been told that my fight against my own will to die will make my biography a best seller.

I’ve been told that to really be able to make it in the world of artistry, I have to wear tragedy like the crown of a proud tsarina sitting before an audience of buzzing flies.

Such accusations remind me that minds are like gardens – Luscious, colorful, varied, and dimensional. Flowers represent our knowledge, and they say knowledge is the most fearsome weapon of all – but what if a war is waged here? What if the garden is cannibalistic?

I already know the answer.

I jump backwards off a cliff and find myself falling like a magnificent meteor. I end up a burnt up heap in Southern France, 1880’s. A lonely Dutch man traipses the country side at dusk, his exotic chalky paints and pig tail brushes thrown in a beaten canvas bag. I can smell his perspiration mixed with the metallic taste of blood that hangs in the air. It oozes out of the shriveled mass on the side of his head, his ear: a gruesome mess.Image result for van gogh

I want him to realize that the world he sees in yellow splotches and starry nights is aching for him to stick around a little longer. I want him to not succumb to the whims of his bipolar mania, or to the wretched bullet that will soon rip through his hollow stomach.

But he continues on his way, ambling into the sunrise towards a little yellow house, humming snatches of an old tune.

I find myself floating once again, as I bubble up into the atmosphere and am blown to London, England, to a neat little apartment tucked away between townhouses lined like dominoes. It is midday, 1950s, when I spy a woman lurking behind paisley curtains. Her orange blush is harsh on her pale face, her gaping teeth peek between her lips like pearls in an oyster. Beside her are a million million notebooks. Her words swirl about the small room, chattering with the same particles of depression that plague the vulnerable garden of her mind as well.

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I want her to realize that like Lazarus, she cannot rise again from the ashes. I want her to stop toxic air from committing genocide to her blood cells. I want to tell her how her children will mourn.

But she continues to watch them play peekaboo with hazy eyes, as she fidgets with small memorabilia painted yellow and black like glittering bees.

Once again, I am consumed kicking and screaming into a black hole, which delivers me to the edges of the universe. I swim through liquid helium, my skin rupturing, my nerves coiling around my organs until I choke. My spine cracks, but I swim on. I reach out the corpses drifting about around me, their faces expressionless,  their fingers unmoving, their minds: lost.

IMG_20170618_185931_833I am reminded of when I myself had walked into my pantry and taken a handful of sleeping pills, hoping to escape as well to that very green void on the other side of the universe. I look to my fellow artists, to the sunken faces of my predecessors, the very men and women who bled yellow like I did.

I want to remember that I am an artist, not the chemical imbalance in my brain or the skewed events of my timeline – I am defined not by the ailments of my mind, but the potential of my mind; not the pills that I pop like candy but the ability to actually accomplish something when I do.

I don’t fight for a best-selling biography. I fight for them.

For the artists, the soldiers of creativity, and the ability to say that I survived.

I survived.