multicolored graffiti

Like a soul without a mind, in a body without a heart

In 1997, I would come home from work at Speakeasy, I’d smoke a bowl, and I’d start writing.

I used to write a lot, and I didn’t care who read it. For several years, I’d come home every night and I’d craft in HTML and I’d hit publish. And then I stopped. I got busy, I got self-conscious; the internet became highly trafficked and my safe space to submit 1s and 0s in the dark basically disappeared. Shit became trackable.

Twenty-odd years later, I’m challenging myself to revisit those early days. In a space that has become overrun by commerciality, my voice will be solitary and indistinct. And so, in that noise, there is peace.

Currently, I’m in this place where light, dark, etc. really has no shape or contour. Crossroads are often presented all Robert Johnson and fucking lines in the sand, but I think mostly they are just complete moments of neutrality. That’s only when you can come to a place that forces you to choose — between one or two or ten or four different paths. It doesn’t matter the variable, it’s really just all about the ability to assess.

I have been trying to reach a place of honesty with myself. So much of my life has been about trying to find a source of grounding, of loving. I was not raised in a loving environment, and I have been seeking it ever since. That puts a lot of pressure on basically everyone I meet. There’s a level of neediness that I fight against, that I try to pull back in, that I give definition and warmth to, that really doesn’t have a home anywhere else. Because it was bred in sorrow, and that’s just not something anyone can fix. The only home for sorrow is a deep, dark well, which we all have in each of us, but is terrifically and sweetly private. As much as we’d find peace and grace in sharing it, it is rare that we can.

I furiously envy anyone who does.

In working through this experience with a professional, I’ve come to understand that I don’t need to be ‘fixed’, that the idea that I’m damaged is erroneous, and that all I simply need to discover is awareness. To not allow what I learned before to continue to negatively impact my life, to recognize and accept and love it for what it is, that is where there is peace. There isn’t a process nor cure that will heal me.

Deeper still is the notion that I am broken, and that I can/need to be fixed. It’s from this place of desperate affinity, I think; a desire to connect from disconnection. Within our collective agreement as a society, we have established that there are certain mores that you must find holy, and, if you don’t, then there is work to be done in order for you to find these things holy.

A few weeks ago, I had what I can only describe as a nervous breakdown. Just so much coming up and rushing through, and years of holding it down and holding it in, and just fire. I sat on the bathroom floor and cried so hard, I threw up, and I quit everything. I was barely keeping it together as it was, and I just couldn’t do it for one moment longer.

It took me a long time to learn how to, and to be brave enough, to share my tender bits with someone. Sometimes I think I made a mistake in the person that I chose to share those bits with for the first time, as they were a narcissist who promptly used my pain against me, but now I see that I really couldn’t have chose anyone else. It was a stepping stone, that process, that marriage. And while it was incredibly painful to experience, I withstood it. I was able to see that the abuse was not about me; and that’s progress.

But in the weeks since my moment of surrender, I have had the opportunity to share and speak with people who love me without expectation or malice, and it has been healing. It reminded me that I cannot take that one attempt, that one folly, and use it as the blueprint of my life. It wasn’t a mistake for me to open myself up to others; it was their mistake to use that as a method of abuse.

But I feel terrifically soft and tender and vulnerable. And that’s okay. I don’t know when or how I will be able to work again, and that’s stressful and brings up all kinds of enculturation rooted in American individualism/exceptionalism and straight-up Puritanical graffiti.

So I’m just taking each day, day by day, and figured I should write about it. I cannot commit to any rhyme nor reason; just honesty.

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