Tuesday, December 26, 2017


i was already anxious about rodent carols but now it's completely bungled. it feels like everything i'm part of goes horribly wrong. like i'm obsessed with collaboration but i'm potentially the element that is always complicating destroying everything. there's almost something clownish about it. like i really really want to make it work but my wanting creates the complication. is it better not to bother? or does goodness come from the effort? i'm not sure which at the moment. but leaning towards the former.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


let's be real. i have always been a feelings person. my strength comes from my empathetic side.

why has it been so hard for me to find my way ?

some of it i'm blaming on adhd. especially now that my head is more clear and i'm not so depressed i can see patterns better. i focus intensely on something or fixate on an idea for a few days and then move on, for whatever reason. i have not focused long enough to specialize in anything.
it's not only adhd of course but i think that definitely helps with the quickness and the forgetting. what do i do? even i don't know. but it means i'm good at hyperfocusing and concentrating super hard on one specific thing for an extended period of time - and then also being able to shift my focus quickly to something else. some of this maybe is just keen perception. i see all the things. i see the choices that make sense. (in simple logistical situations anyway. other times i'm a dolt.)

the point is.
the point is everything i already know but always forget.
i am a feelings person. i am an art oriented person.
i might be interested in things like sociology and herbal medicine and animal behavior but i have never had the drive to focus on those things long enough to really learn them. could i if i wanted to? sure but then i'd have to actually choose a thing. that is the hardest part.

but when i think about learning something like clown or performance or dance i am just sure i could do it. in terms of my excitement and my confidence i'm all in. it's only REAL WORLD garbage thoughts that crush me. i should be doing the other thing. the real thing.

HOW IS IT that i am still having this thought process even after being brought up on the value of art? how is it that my parents taught me that and yet they scoffed at every nonacademic artistic dream i ever had???? it's driving me bonkers that i'm just now realizing the full weight of this. i feel like other people's folks tend to swing one way or the other, like kat's parents consumed by their research or alice's music teacher folks. mine are some in between with my dad as collector/hobbyist who finally decided to try his hand at writing in his 50s, and my mama hinting at some vague dreams of writing or storytelling or some wisp of a memory of a dream so incomplete it is just dust, but still she's passing it off, urging us to write, to publish, to create, except no don't go to art school bc you need a job.

oh it's just a mess it's a muddle. like the world like all our brains.
and me always in the middle why ??
does everyone feel that they're here?
outside in the middle
not right. not center
caught between options until you're nothing

this must be what everyone feels.
but still for some reason everything is so hard for me. it all takes so much time. i can hardly get anything done. my days disappear. here i am still. driving my parents crazy. no more of a plan than i had in july. where did the time go? everyone tells me i'm doing so well, it's so good to take my time to heal properly, except my mama. why can't she let me do this ?

i'm up too late. at this rate i will want to skip the social shit tomorrow but i guess i'd better not. damn. rot.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

riled up write


i am sick of being made to feel bad for not being productive.
i am sick of the stigma people assign to "indecision" and being "wishy washy."
i am fucking sick of the "natural" trend telling us that medication for our mental health is evil and unnecessary.
i am so so so fucking sick of cliche statements about "this is exactly where you are supposed to be" and "everything you are is perfect." shut the fuck up. first of all, i am probably looking at my phone when i am reading this, which should be the first clue that it is a damn lie. second of all, reading that while enduring an abusive relationship is toxic. reading that while at my worst makes me feel like i will never be better. all these "self care" words on my screen about being loving yourself and being one with your body and i'm even more full of shame.
chronic pain and trauma force us to separate from our bodies, even from our own minds. reintegrating can be a long and painful process. cliche self help demands that we "connect with our bodies" in order to be truly happy, healthy, good. i say, fuck you. i say, we don't have to. or i'm gonna do it my way, hopping around to punk music alone in my room, not yoga posed on some gorgeous green hill in brand name exercise gear. (these pictures always make me wonder - do these women make their friends/partners come with for the photo shoot? or do they carry tripods and fancy cameras with timers? can you really be "one" with your body and the earth while you're thinking about the shutter click of the camera? and it seems each one of these photos begets ten more. their number is unfathomable. i am beyond ready for this healthy wealthy white lady appropriation of yoga trend to DIE.)
i am ready for many things to die. i have an evergrowing list i'm writing of things that have become intolerable. does this make me hateful? no. shut up telling me i'm negative and hateful because i have strong opinions. there is nothing hateful about having a vision of a beautiful better world based on egalitarianism and love. my world has no room for cultural appropriation, labor exploitation, or a gender binary. our current culture/existence is deadening, it's already destroyed us. every piece of it is harmful, is hateful. if you're offended that i say i hate hollywood, heteronormativity, breeders, you have to understand that i hate the harm they're doing, have already done. what have we created that we can point to and say "this is nothing but good" that is a common and sanctioned element of our culture? I CAN'T HTINK OF ANYTHING. 
here is a list of things i can think of that are purely good--cats--trees--community gardens--books--honest and heartfelt communication / sharing feelings--friendship--love--curiosity--collaboration--i want to say "art" but that is a slippery slope because our definition of art has become so fucked that it's become conflated with entertainment and capitalism and it's a huge mess. i will have to work on creating a list of GOOD ART. this is a big project.--CLEARLY THIS LIST NEEDS SOME HLP.
the point is that society does not value any of these good things. and yet i can't think of any thing else that actually matters???
on the other hand, my list of things that have become intolerable is growing and growing to the point that it is clear that i am simply for the abolition of all institutions, especially the government. if you take a few steps back and look at our political system in the context of the last few hundred years, you can see what a backward mess we have made. our country was founded on oppression, exploitation, and genocide, and it has no intention of changing that model. laws will change just enough to give the appearance of evolution, but the structure just shifts and settles into a different kind of oppression. same old shit with a brand new look. if even that??? and the laws only change at the point in which the people have become riotous, have demanded that the government uphold their rights. things change juuuuust enough to keep us quiet for a little longer until we see that really nothing is different. (a great example here would be the movement from slavery to indentured servitude to second class citizenship to post-civl rights prison-to-pipeline to capital punishment). 
meanwhile the only real change is being affected by grassroots groups and non-governmental organizations whose entire deal is pretty much just cleaning up the messes the government makes. i am always in awe of the amount of labor that goes into the work of putting out (figurative) fires -- think of what we could accomplish if we didn't spend all this energy working on ending homelessness and hunger, if everyone had access to abortion and healthcare, if people had any kind of sense of autonomy over their own lives & bodies and didn't feel like their worth was dependent on their productivity!!!!!!!! WHAT A WORLD WE COULD HAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
it seems so simple to me, so clear and obvious. dismantle the systems, kill the patriarchy, smash the state, etc. done deal, wash our hands, move on. (in fact, i even feel silly writing all this down because these are all things that i assume everyone thinks about & knows already.) however the more i talk to folks the more i am made to feel TRULY INSANE for holding these ideas. and why???? because it's "not realistic" or i'm being "too negative" or even just "it'll never happen so why bother." WHAT THE HELL PEOPLEEEEE WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HELL. WHAT. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH YOU.
but for the rest of us, if you're still with me, i have a new strategy to avoid mental meltdowns and total burnout. our culture is killing us. the way we live and die is a line already drawn, we are given the illusion of choice but everything has already been decided. everything about the way we exist comes out of a place of hate, of exploitation, of the death of spirit. we have no options. we are already dead. THEREFORE we have become ghosts. now that we are ghosts, we have the liberty to do everything we wanted to do when we were alive. we can be our true, free selves. we are made of magic. literally anything is possible.
do you get me? i'm still having a hard time putting this into words. when i had this realization, i may or may not have been slightly manic. i have described it to some people who said they followed me to a certain point and then got lost. i have other friends who screamed "I'VE BEEN A GHOST FOR YEARS!" or told me other stories. even my therapist had a story - she knew a veteran who said the only way he was able to make it through the war was by telling himself he was already dead, gone, a ghost. the point is, this is not a new strategy. it works! we just have to spread it, and believe in the ghosts of each other as well as ourselves!
i asked my ghost buddies to help me flesh out these ideas by offering their perspectives and i will include those HERE HO HO HAVE TO DO THAT.

alternately do you ever have this thought train ? i'm getting old and my body is falling apart. my [insert part of body] is hurting/breaking/sick and soon it will be totally useless and then gone. and next my [another part of body] is gonna go. and then, and then, and then. it's all gonna fall apart and there will be no point in continuing when my body doesn't work. i might as well die. but i'm practically there already since my [body part] is messed up, so i should save myself the trouble and die now. i'm basically already dead. BUTyou can stop yourself from having that thought train all the time if you admit that YOU ARE ALREADY A GHOST ! maybe you're having some phantom pain from back when you were alive, like amputees who can still feel pain in their missing limbs. don't stress about it! take a deep breath and treat the symptom like a living human being would - think of someone you really admire, and what they would do, and then do that. and then you can get back to your ghostly business!

i was born with a rare genetic mutation that has rendered me physically and mentally "different." i have chronic depression. i have social and general anxiety. i have attention deficit disorder. i have experienced abuse and violence. i have post traumatic stress disorder. i have experienced chronic pain that i often ignore because i am so used to it. i have been dependent on alcohol and relationships to cope with the trauma of existence. i am not my illnesses but it is impossible to be separate from them. before i had the diagnoses and the names, i had the symptoms. sometimes others saw before i knew them myself. i was teased from a very young age because of my appearance and because of my mental differences. 
at age 5, i was already committed to making friends with the class weirdo - a baby "bully" (as my mom remembers) named rio. i couldn't stand the idea of anyone being ostracized or made to feel "wrong" for being different; i already knew those hurts. 
have i been a great friend? no. i have been bossy and demanding and selfish and mean. but i hope i'm getting better.
i was born in the 80s to two librarians and raised in a world of gorgeous images and fairy tales, surrounded by shelves & piles of books in every room. in our house, magic was real, pizza was a vegetable, stories were worth more than money, and love was the only thing that mattered. it really was a beautiful little fantasy land my parents built for my sister and me. but of course things got darker and harsher each year as we became more exposed to the realities of the world beyond our block. i learned very quickly that my experience was not a "normal" one. i constantly felt judged and ashamed. by 1st grade i had altogether stopped speaking in class. when it became mandatory to present papers or projects to the class, i would skip school or take a 0 rather than open my mouth. if i couldn't avoid it for whatever reason, it was a huge source of anxiety & stress. i could focus on nothing else. i was consumed. this lasted through undergrad and is probably the main reason i will never go back to school.
THUS BEGAN MY UTTER HATE FOR INSTUTITIONS! the public school system was set up for me (and many many others) to fail. the system didn't care about the way i learned or thought or created. it crammed me into the square of the scantron anyway. i became a silent fury, constantly filled with rage at everything that was wrong with what was happening and how easily it could be changed to support students like me. the further i sank into my silent feelings, the more i became targeted by "the popular kids" aka everyone's favorite bullies. i learned that i was ugly, smelly, stupid, gay, loser and that nobody likes a loser. thank the gods that losers come in packs. i gathered us up together and made new realities for us. obviously we weirdos were the actual "kool kids" (quote by me, 1996-1999) and we would not let anyone control our world or dictate our feelings. i wanted to take us as far away from their ugliness as i could, and keep us joyful and united. i wrote songs and made my friends learn them at recess (because we were a band whose instruments were sticks, trees, and voices, duh). i got dan ying and jenny luo to watch sailor moon and then hosted trivia at our lunch table. i found the lyrics to all the best disney songs online and printed them out so we could sing them together, loudly, to cover up the voices that wanted to hurt us. i led games of tag and four square where we made up our own new rules. i wrote ridiculously silly stories in secret notes passed under tables, try to read that one without laughing and getting caught. at our after school program, my friend circle combined with my younger sister's for the first time, and i now had a whole cohort to play with. we somehow co-created a mythology about a sacred cow who had sacrificed herself for us, the cheeses, and now we roamed the country in our RV (a jungle gym) singing her praises and converting new cheeses. i was cheddar, the leader. we were fully committed to our characters. together, we weren't afraid for the other kids to see our silliness. when i was cheddar, i even found the courage to stand up to a playground bully. i suppose i didn't recognize it at the time, but i had found freedom and power in the act of being something other than myself -- in order to create & believe the new identity, you have to kill your self (even temporarily). somehow all at once i had become a performer, a clown, and a ghost.
by the time we got to sixth grade, the teachers had sussed us out and the four optional classes were divided by type, which, as are as i can tell, are as follows: Ms Sullivan got the brains, Ms Ward got sportos, Ms Buck had the populars, and Ms Spain's class was "Other." we were ally sheedy in the breakfast club. we were the wastebasket of the school and we loved it, and we were hilarious. we were poor students, kids from trailer parks, immigrant kids, bad spellers, mess makers, and jokesters. it wasn't just us - 6-04 was the bottom of the barrel every single year, just as the other kids were sorted into their appropriate boxes. i like to imagine the conversation between the 5th grade and 6th grade teachers as they divvy us up, separating the alphas from the betas, and what name must they have used for what we were? "creative" types? were we supposed to be good writers? (since after all, Reading was Ms. Spain's subject.) or maybe she just waited it out while the others picked teams, and she just got whoever was leftover. 
i have kind of fallen in love with identifying as a leftover.
but even in that environment i was too shy to be a jokester with the rest of the class. maybe i hadn't quite realized yet how we had been sorted so i didn't feel as free as i could have. our class put on a play based on the myth of Hades & Persephone and i was cast as Farmer's Wife with a total of two boring lines, "oh no all our crops are dead" and then at the end "grass and leaves!" this was one of the first times i can vividly remember wishing that i was allowed to switch roles - literally and figuratively - and show everyone how good i could be. "see? when i'm not myself, it's easy!"
then middle school happened and everything fell to pieces. i had zero friends at my new school. i had horrible acne and a frizzy triangle of hair that people liked to put staples in. i think i was developing symptoms of ADD by this point and started doing horribly in school. i was hugely miserable. i became suicidally depressed for the first time. i retreated into words and wrote pages of emo poems that i shared on my art website with about a dozen other poets.
i can't remember why i'm writing about that. i think i've gotten off track. maybe i'm trying to get you to relate to me. (it feels really good to lay it all out in a timeline like this. even if no one else will ever read it. i feel like there was part i was gonna say but i forgot what it was.)
the point is it was all very soul crushing and i started to feel like there was truly no way out. looking toward the future became increasingly impossible. by the time it was time to apply for colleges i had lost my grip on "reality" thanks to the hell of high school, the side effects of hormonal birth control, and a long distance romance, following my first experience of sexual abuse at 17. i was doing the thing people always tell you to do when you're struggling - just take it one day at a time - but i never figured out the next step. the feeling of  "how did i get here? how did i survive this long?" has never gone away.  
in some ways life is much harder now because the institutions are so invasive that their lines get fuzzy and their shapes aren't clear. it's easy to talk about their problems but much more challenging to physically resist them, as opposed to being fenced inside a cement brick called school and every act can become resistance -- playing with the boundaries of the uniform, hugging "too long," lingering in the hallways until the last last minute bell, kissing girlfriends & grabbing each others' tits, unshaved legs in the locker room, sitting in the grass as far away from the building as possible at lunch, developing handwriting so absurd that no teacher could read it, simply NOT LISTENING to teachers. our group never got into any  "real" trouble, though. our grades were fair to middling which made us essentially invisible -- not good enough to pamper, not bad enough to hassle, we just didn't stand out.

i never had my senior picture taken, so i wasn't in the yearbook. i like to think i became a ghost in the minds of most of my classmates - if they remember me at all, they wonder, "did she even exist?"

i still have to remind myself that "myself" can change. i start to feel so trapped about who i have become and what is possible and if only and blah blah. it's hard to remember to allow myself to play, but i'm getting better at it.
some things that help: --close your eyes and visualize yourself as the ghost you want to see in the world
--feel yourself filling up with infinite possibilities--put on a hat or other garmets that helps you to feel you've transformed--go to a shop or restaurant by yourself, in character, and see what happens - it helps to start off going somewhere you won't run into people you know--change your voice, or try not talking at all--give yourself a prompt or a mission, like "what am i bringing to my ghost friend's birthday party?" or "find 3 ghost amulets in the next 30 minutes" or "make someone smile" or anything you want--try not to question yourself. don't think. just do.
actually i try follow a lot of richard pochinko's clown rules, including "GO TO YOUR FEAR" and "CARE ENOUGH NOT TO CARE"