I finished removing the shade coverings from the roof. This was the last of the maintainence work I’ve done on our outdoor shade structure. It took three sets of drill bits to get the two giant shade clothes protecting part of the space from the Mediterranean sun. It’s the first time I did it on my own. But it’s relatively minor maintenance. The buildings have been complete for some time. Sure, maybe we need some rain gutters or another shade awning. But that’s mostly fine tuning; this place is mostly complete and all that remains to be done is putting things on and taking them off as the seasons dictate.
This speaks to a general sensibility in my life right now. Over the past couple of years things have reached an equilibrium where maintenance has become the most substantial work requirement. Take out the trash on Sunday. Fill the orders on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Do the books, write the checks, pay the bills. All in this surreal indoor/outdoor hybrid living space. Even the wind and heat – two elements of this climate that have felt particularly disturbing to my body – don’t seem as alien as they once were. Even the distasteful things become tolerable through repetition.
Each morning I wake up in my little yurt with a heavy heart wondering what do I want I do to change things. I think part of the heaviness has been the fact that change is slow and i crave the frenetic pace of the early days here and my freewheeling 20s. My routines feel like a gravity well. I have been reading this book about depression and the author cites a Hindu phrase that goes “For the first thirty years of your life you make your habits. For the last thirty years of your life your habits make you.” I’m definitively into the latter half of that statement. The book isn’t deterministic of course, it’s actually all about change. “You don’t actually eliminate old habits–they just get weaker as you create newer, stronger ones” (68).
The best time in the recent memory were when my routines were sundered. We made a music video and that was a great first time experience even though it seems we all had mixed feelings about the results. Goda was also visiting I was drawing and having good conversations and cooking and drinking coffee and she was sharing music. And we made fun of the bad artwork in town and talked about many difficult situations in our lives. I felt on the verge of crying a lot of time but couldn’t actually do it until the day she left after I dropped her off. We were close in a way that I can’t describe; it was a closely that seemed present while simultaneously aware of the specialness of impermanence of the time.
There are people who come into my life as gifts under the right circumstances and with perfect timing. In this lifetime I have found the best of them. But I have also equally lost the best of them. It’s auspicious that nearly five years ago I lost one of the best. She came into my life at a point where I felt like giving up. She reminded me something about this world that was pure and true. And it was all so brief and all so important. And sadly I lost her at the worst moment because that loss cascaded and it took two other relationships along with it. And it’s taken me five years to grapple and understand and grieve what this has all meant. And as the days pass and time goes on I’ve found that the meaning changes. I suppose that is the burden of the living. Sometimes I feel the losses so heavily that it becomes difficult to remember I am alive myself. But I no longer want to dwell in grief because it has been quite costly, especially as of late. Everyone has their own process for releasing grief and many of us will still feel grief after this day. But today in the company of friends and strangers alike I am making a declaration: I give myself permission to leave behind the grief of these loss. It has been prolonged long enough and quite costly. On this day of the dead I wish to honor my losses, move on and affirm my relationship to life. Thank you.
beckons me to stay up later and sleep longer. Tiny sips of wine and a puff of leftover cigarette while gazing up at the full moon. This realization that most of my thoughts of relationship are thoughts of escape when the true desire is one of integration. A relationship that integrates. I am so deeply afraid of loss. I’ve lost so much and can’t bare to think of losing more. The cost is too great. But maybe total loss is inevitable and the unwillingness to face that is what holds me back from that integration. Why do I think of life in such extremes? What makes the stakes so great? I drew a rune called “tiwaz.” It is my rune of the present; the rune of justice and divine victory. The exegesis reads, “Tiwaz will bring about a correct balancing of the scales so that you are assured a fair hearing and fair decision. Do not be thrown off balance by the chaos of your environment.” This brings me hope, but like so much of this past year hope without answers. But maybe hope right now is the only reason I go on.
The words on the blank post screen begin “share your story here…” I find myself increasingly writing on screens and staring at screens. Something about the comfort of writing while laying down. It feels safe.
I hear a soft breeze and crickets outside; the sounds amplified by my yurt living space. The breeze can become violent wind some nights. Not tonight. Tonight it’s soft and gentle and the moon is nearly full and refulgent from the diffuse cloud cover in the sky. A halo of silver and a soft breeze.
Tonight I was asked by someone close to me, “what’s next?” I restarted this blog over a year ago. I write all the time. But things are rarely brought to completion and 98 percent of what I produce in writing is sheer melodrama or internal monologue. Still I’ve written all this long enough that I should just own up to it and say my genre is journaling.
The questions I grapple with are the questions writers are supposed to transcend: “why write?” “Who is my audience?” “What is my subject?” Two out of three of these are life questions as well as artistic ones. I struggle with answers. I struggle with motivation. And I know these sound like excuses. And maybe they are. Most of the time I don’t post because this stuff is not particularly compelling yet I suppose with the internet being the audience of the world I sometimes like to post because I could reach someone magical. Or maybe someone is curious about me so this could be for them. Or maybe someone from my past would want to find me so this is for them. I’ve spent a good deal of my life hiding in a way; kind of intentionally trying to make myself difficult to find to filter away the people who would prefer to just look at someone on a Facebook page.
What’s next? I have been grappling with the possibility something biochemically/physiologically might happening to me. It might necessitate trying medication. This isn’t some huge thing for most people but for me it has been. I’m not even some believer in ideological purity. But when I say part of the reason I don’t take medication is because part of me feels like if I can’t deal with my body as is what would that say about how I feel about my body generally? A body that needs to be corrected to function in society. A body that I have already grappled with a lot of self esteem issues around; ones that are more common to female bodied people.
I write these out and they still sound like excuses. I think more basically the reason I haven’t taken medication is that maybe I haven’t hit a point where I believe things won’t change on their own. This is beginning to feel more delusional than ever and I have reached many places that have felt like bottom so who knows maybe there will be a point where I am in complete surrender. I’m wondering if even things being circumstantial and circumstances changing would be enough. Life in the past year has forever altered my persective on life generally.
I think about my father who is brilliant in his own way but also a dilettante like myself and also a bit mentally ill. I last visited him in 2010 and recall seeing many books on his bookshelf that I had also read. The book subjects were multifaceted much like my choices. I think about that bookshelf and his life and how I don’t want to repeat his life. I think somewhere inside of him he believed he knew it all. And he wasn’t lonely but just really deluded.
Part of me thinks that I write all this because I am still trying to resurrect something of the past. Some feeling or communion with art that’s gone missing. Some desire to find someone patient enough for me and my words.
I read an article about depression and how it’s important to think of gratitude. I have been trying that lately. There is a lot to be gracious for. These words and this moment included.
self love: Everything i have come to know and experience of the self seems fleeting; philosophy asks is what is a self, sociology shows me how a self is so deeply informed by society and history has shown me how the self is an evolving nexus of ideas rather than something fixed in time. yet we are bodies nonetheless. we feel and experience the world somatically; i think pain is actually the best reminder of this.
So self love is just a basic affirmation of that. The basic affirmation that we are physical substance having emotional experiences. self love honors the integrity of flesh.
this is the more difficult of the two to me because forgiveness typically always involves a relationality; a set of experiences with other human beings. And sadly I’ve found that in my life I rarely receive the closure that makes it the easiest to move on. It takes the rarest of people who can be there for that. In some cases the person shouldn’t be there because they are dangerous. Regardless of specifics – the effect pushes a nexus of experiences with other people back into our bodies alone. If they are painful or abusive experiences they are difficult or even impossible to grapple with. If they are traumatic memories they overwhelm to body’s ability to process them. and we fight and we blame and we do anything we can to look for someone to share this burden. This is only natural I think. A lot of the times it is simply not our fault. Few of us will receive this support from the source we need it.
Or we will receive a surrogate that will allow us to survive. To move on and heal.
To bear memories alone is difficult. I seek professional help which is wise and prudent and necessary. But it only goes so far. At some point we must grapple with these memories and experiences of our life as embodied beings.
Being a male bodied person who feels the world deeply has not been easy on me. There is male privilege but there is also an emotional being who was traumatized early in life and are not sensitized to male emotion or even the reality that boys and men also experience abuse. Patriarchy and homophobia assures that society will not let these experiences be heard. Women as understood by society as emotional beings at least have the space to be emotional. Men not so much. My intimate relationships have all been effected by this. And my intimate partners – every single one who I have felt close to – have also been subject to traumas and abuses. And those experiences have made it extremely difficult for either of us to find a love that is safe. It is almost like the deck was stacked before we even tried. Our youth finds us impatient and reactive.
I read a lot of Tich Nhat Hahn in my 20s. I became keen on his insight that to be alive is a miracle in and of itself. This does seem true. Given the fragmented life I’ve lived this seems especially true. To merely be alive each day seems like some minor victory.
I hope this year has been a return to foundational work that leaves me ready to grow again with more steady ground. I want to be surprised in this life again. I want to experience rapture.
we once believed in stars
now only pictures
once in the moon
but now only a finger
once laid in bed
but now only to rest
staring at glass
thousands of you look back
all afraid to act
i’ve mistaken the time
the hands of the clock must have circled around once ready
but the windows are shut
and i can’t tell day from night
sometime i wonder who remembers and who has already buried me
there are times we forget about love the same way we forget we are breathing
we are just breathing
and suddenly the air is gone
and we remember we exist
some hurts are sheer noise
while others sound soft
like a boomerang whirring against the sky
thrown far to forgotten
inevitably so strong it shatters rocks and art
into clastic sentiments