It’s always a white man, the white man who can make ungrounded arguments and thinks that he is so sentimental and deep. Meanwhile I sit on the other side, panicking at his lack of understanding and empathy. He is the one saying that his uncle with the walking disorder deserves no pity: As though people can be expected to act in non-burdensome ways even when they are ill. He says mediocre things like “I’m not good at math but I passed my statistics course”. I stared at him with a stoic smile, but wondered how someone can be proud of mediocrity. But then I remember how upper middle-class white people have the privilege of being mediocre. This privilege comes from not having to tackle systematic inequality and never being denied an argument based on their identity. And then I disclose too much, I disclose too much to prove that his oh so deep argument is actually a misunderstanding of normality. He says nonchalantly: ” the only life that can seem normal to oneself is one’s own life”. But hello my own life has never seemed or appeared normal. With the shifting moods it has only felt like a life that moves too quickly and I can barely catch up to: as though my life is a train and I am running to make sure that the door doesn’t close on my face. I told him about the bipolar that plagues me. He interjected by praising mania, exclaiming how jealous he is of people that are bipolar, and that yes he is aware of the coming doom, but the mania sounds amazing. Mania is not what the movies show it to be, mania is decisions which leave you empty, in problems, which push people away because everything moves too quickly and you have no inhibitions to control your interactions. I told him that it is not what he thinks it is. We moved on to the cliche topic of how terrible 2016 made everyone feel. He chimes in to say: “Now is the time to figure out how you would behave during the Hitler Era, blah blah.”He proclaims his knowledge that as a white cis-gendered hetero man with blue eyes, he faces no coming persecution. Everything at this point becomes noise, I am being pushed to an extreme discomfort and I don’t know what to do. I feel dirty, as though every part of me is soiled and unworthy. This man so confidently walks around being a disgusting excuse for a human being. All the microaggressions remind me that to indirect racists I am a stereotype, not a person but a reified phenomenon. Not real but an object; an illusion, an invisible figment, a sort of problem. I looked at him who has excused himself to go to the bathroom, and attempt to form a connection through a smile, he looks back, panic stricken, a half smile forming through force, and I know that apart from wasting 4 dollars on cold-brew and basically sabotaging my sleep, I have wasted so much vulnerability on someone who wanted nothing but a surface connection. I went back, I hid, I felt sad. This is the experience of having a complex identity, one who does not fit into definitions of normality, who as a woman am too direct, who has been able to succeed through the obstacles within education and don’t directly fit into the narrative of mediocrity, and yet as I sit with this particular white man, I start to hate everything about myself, particularly the part of me that isn’t mediocre enough to validate this man and in turn is validated. I have a great amount to learn and love still. I don’t know what normality can feel like, nor do I want to though.
cw:rape, mental health and medication
I woke up today and actually felt like a different person, as though a weight lifted and I’m plateauing back to rational. 2016 for me was a stretch of a year, one which made me face myself head on. The lithium medication left me stranded in a small internal hell that I couldn’t represent externally. But I stopped taking it, and even while on it forced myself to be productive. I do remember how inadequate and guilty it made me feel any moment that I was not being productive. I ended my relationship with Dan. I still don’t know how this makes me feel. A great amount of my choices are based on my mood cycle so I never quite feel connected to them, only in some distant way do I feel like they affect my current actions. I’ve gotten very good at compartmentalizing but this has also allowed me to survive the downfalls and bad choices that I have made recently. The resilience to continue despite wanting nothing but to stop has proved to be my best character trait, better than anything I could portray externally. I experienced a third case of rape this year; it left me angry, energetic, self-destructive. I think these feelings are staring to fade, becoming a quiet hum while instead I just want to make real connections. I became for a while this person who kept displaying inappropriate emotions and critique. I think 2016 served to humble me: it showed me that I am no one and that I am not superior to anyone, just living through this capitalist reality. I have a lot to externalize in the sense of repressed sadness but I think that eventually I will be able to and the days are staring to get longer rather than shorter. I think that I am ready to go back and to be at peace again. I beat the beast that was trying to suffocate me and I am in a non-cliche way new.
I will begin by stating that life has stripped me of the innocence which once made me happy to live. Is life a word that means myself, an experience, or other people? For some time life was my medication, which suffocated my brain and put my sleep on ransom. Do you ever note the replicating tendencies of language? Life is a system, a system of replication, and reinforcement. The reward is the ability to live in a somewhat autonomous existence. The punishment is to live always at the hand of the system, basically infantilized because the self is deemed inferior. There are of course within this system sentiments, but the sentiments are dehumanized. Dehumanized in that we are taught to desire certain sentiments and to repress others. How funny that the secular age is an extension of St. Augustine’s assertion on how to live a “righteous” holy life. The way that I see it we replace one form of authority by another until we die. And theory is never actualized but extended and curtailed. Isn’t life but a DNA structure, which reinterprets itself in each epoch.
Banal is the human existence, so we find a way not to actualize the self, but to distract it. Distraction in the form of politics, identity, substances, movement, in crudeness to emphasize the spirit of our sought out freedom. A freedom which requires another. Freedom made common, not seeking out the way to divine happiness, which the ancients saw as love, but seeking the common, that which so easily turns into the authoritarian tendency ruling our actions.
I ripped the candy wrapper,
Did you hear the news?
I ripped the candy wrapper.
I do not remember ripping it,
it must have happened beyond my consciousness
but I ripped it.
I broke it, I tore it, I killed it.
In some way parallel to how I handle relationships.
I ruin, and wreck, and never even intend to or notice.
So then I become apathetic to it, I don’t even feel sadness.
I blame it on:
and I find a new tv show,
or another person to distract me.
Because in reality I am sad,
I feel remorse and yet did I truly ruin it,
or did they just leave?
I convince myself that it is the latter, that way I did nothing,
I can’t fix it, and it is insignificant.
I stare instead at some image
Today I saw the man who violated my consent, and while I expected to see his face and hate him, I instead felt sad that the events unfolded in such a way. Why do I feel sad? Because I saw in him a desire to once again hold me. Not even in a predatory way, but in a way that you look at someone who perhaps escapes your grasp. I of course walked away. The experience was too heavy and he demonstrated his problematic nature even when I decided to be with him for that brief period of time which I can’t comprehend anymore. I tend to fly away often. I definitely feel like I can’t form a real connection to anyone anymore. This is a very isolating feeling but I think its the reality of being in an in-between place of wanting to run back but having to move forward. I miss everything about being in college, I miss the campus, the office where I spent entire days, the general experience, but I have to move on at some point. What I lack is not a person I think but the emancipation of having a space where my thoughts were acknowledge. Everything seems pretty empty now and I am 24 and I never imagined my life would end up where it is. A few years ago, I would have stayed in that relationship, I would have hated him but eventually formed some attachment of habit and remained in a relationship that made me unhappy. I can’t do that anymore. except it makes me feel frustrated to want something and have nothing.
I tend to expend the majority of my energy on the children, I form relationships, sometimes those relationships shift and I lose something. That’s generally my experience. loss. I feel a great sense of it and I feel it even more when I see people doing what I really long to do. I want to go back to Academia, I don’t want to be in the real world of disenchantment and dialectics. Lately even the children have noticed that my smile while not fake is drained of its sincerity. I want more. I don’t know what is more.
There is always a body
the texture of a body, next to me
prying the warmth away
until the stillness comes
and they leave.
Stillness is the drops
that fall from my metaphorical eyes
because the real ones have stopped responding.
My hand aches for his skin
my soul aches for something tangible.
The fragments pull,
what fragments and how exactly can objects, or ideas, or parts pull and in what direction?
I suppose the fragment of forgetting,
the fragment left behind by compartmentalized pain,
What exactly do we mean when we say trauma?
It all goes back to the concepts of consciousness and memory,
but we discussed that memory is often reinvented, remade
the balloon suddenly appears and it is red
never-mind that you never consciously perceived it,
but it is there,
an explanation to the fuzzy image that distracted you and made you vulnerable.
Perhaps the falsification of memory allows us to exist beyond violation.
We not only invent after the fact but interpret memory in whatever way
allows us to exist, allows us to not jump when the subway zooms by,
so when I woke up with no memory,
I remembered the question, that I would have theoretically posed:
I never expressed my consent, except in remorse,
in the crawl on the floor, in the rising anxiety, in de-realization,
in letting you touch me again,
until I couldn’t anymore.
The liquid dripped, it dripped in an instant
falling from the inside of my crevice
to the leg which sustains me.
It’s almost funny to think
that every experience
that is had
is only perceived to be real
by the sensory organs in the body
and so eventually it all fades.
I keep wondering often
about the illusion of feelings
and whether I will ever
fall so deeply that I won’t rise alone.
Instead leaping up to move
from point a to point d
the point of not being a singular
but of trusting enough to be a second
and yet a first.
humanity has redirected the desire
for stimulation and pleasure
and instead made themselves vaguely aware
of the death instinct,
living moments as though the immediate does not matter.
I looked at the dripping liquid,
it dried on my leg instantaneously
That’s the magic of the male orgasm,
it flows out, hits something and then is over
in many ways the same way as being with someone who
can’t be forever.
They appear, hit you, make you feel
and then leave as though
you could simply wipe off feelings.
What is natural? is it perhaps the slithering of him inside? or is natural more… should natural be the easiness at which conversations occur/ or is it the way in which you don’t have to wonder about messing up/ being around too much.
I am a queen.
of various boring proportions.
I am to be
admired but not patronized
my body held not scrutinized.
A long time ago a man told me that my body disgusted. I no longer react well to scrutiny. I would rather drown in many ways before allowing somebody to see me. I like better to be felt. what is the visual but the non-permanent anyway?
Don’t speak to much.
Don’t weight too much.
Don’t open your heart.
Did you ever notice how behavior
is never free but is always under judgement.
What did school teach.
it taught to be okay with scrutiny.
It like the media, the boys, the adults
and how they limited us into behaviors.
humanity is but an organization of otherwise passionate behavior.
So we don’t feel. we act as though an action is to be calculated, judged by its counterpart response.
Don’t stop smiling.
Don’t crumble by the anxiety.
don’t look at anyone.