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.

Related image
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.

Image result for sylvia plath
from x

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.

Lionheart

I slipped into the bathroom and stared long and hard at the creature in the mirror. I pulled out my stolen stick of red lipstick,  previously hidden under the layers of colors and pastel powders in my mother’s drawer. I drew cleanly onto my lips, shaping my mouth into beautiful , brilliantly red, bloody blossoms that simply dripped with scarlet pleasure. I put the lipstick down and contemplated my appearance. Slowly, I smiled. I plastered my face with the most sardonic, creepy, superficial, poster girl smile of a delusional megalomaniac  psychopath I could muster. And I thought (and I thought): This is me. This is who I have become.

Even after I wiped that lipstick off with the back of my hand, smearing it raw all around my eating hole until it looked like I had taken a bite out of a lion’s heart, I couldn’t stop the ringing echo of that thought, rattling around my skull. I stared dead pan into my still putrid eyes, wide like a doe’s. I couldn’t stop smiling.

That image will haunt me forever.

I Fear Silence

Silence is intimidating… to me, anyway. There are some select people in our loud community who do, in fact, embrace Silence. They don’t mind and, if anything, see Silence as an occasional dropper-by with whom they exchange shy glances across a busy street, before getting on with business.

Not me, however. Whether it’s a lull in conversation or the gentle hum of emptiness on weekends, I am intimidated. Why must I be? Silence won’t hurt me. Silence has nothing against me.

Silence doesn’t have an agenda. Does Silence?

Silence likes to massage my shoulders and whisper things in my ear. Scary things. Things I’d rather not remember. Thoughts that usually would drift at the back of my head come to center-stage only when Silence decides to drop by.

My thoughts and Silence converse so easily. They stand on the horizon as dark silhouettes. They stand there, hand in hand, waiting for me to drop my guard long enough for them to pounce and devour.

Silence is stern. Silence watches intently, glares at me from across the room when I am incapable of being interesting to the person with whom I try so desperately to communicate. I try to hint at Silence’s presence, nudge others around me in Silence’s direction and try to make them see its potential for danger. But they never notice my urging. So, I am forced to look hesitantly over again at Silence, who smiles sardonically and settles more comfortably into the armchair.

I ride the bus, sometimes. I try to drive Silence away with music. I remain plugged into my cellphone device like it’s my life support, but Silence still sits next to me. Squishes me against the window. All I can do is sigh, and hope time will fly by as fast as the pipes in the tunnel walls.

Silence will sometimes settle right next to me at any given time – at home, at school, in bed – and play with my hair. Occasionally, Silence will put a hand to my chest, ghostly fingers curling around my heart.

And Silence will settle in: into my heart, soul, and being.

I doze off, but my mind is awake and screaming.

Silence has come to visit. And I fear… Silence has come to stay.

Thrum

My eyes are so goddamn tired. I feel a deep thrum around the crescents of my eyelids which begs me to close my eyes and keep them that way. The sensation of throbbing in my forehead aches to get attention, and is urging me to go to sleep and dream about a distant future where I am completely happy. There is a tingling in my long fingers and cramped toes, and the familiar warmth of my bedsheets call to me from home. I just want to be unconscious and smell the crisp detergent in my pillow case that so often lulls me to sleep. I want to watch through my eyelids the light which peeks from between my blinds, dancing on the ceiling, and breathe in the cold air that exists outside my plush comforter set blanket.
Instead I sit and listen to the instrumental of people’s voices and pretend I am paying the slightest bit of attention, as my mind wanders beyond the hidden horizon masked by the stubborn black trees. I glare at the indifferent grayness of the sky outside the window, as the sound of heavy footsteps pierce my ears in beat with my heart.
My eyes are so goddamn tired…