On the way to, still don’t know
And it’s been that way a while now.
On the way to, still don’t know
And it’s been that way a while now.
Art is good for me, a paper trail from the uncharted places I venture towards, into my subconscious. The strange places that exist only in my head. Into the uncomfortable spaces between the dreams and nightmares. Embedded in the marrow- a forced kick through all that was in the way of me. I’m tired of ugly walls. Really tired of ugly walls.
I’ve been digging through an emotional backlog, a self inflicted insistence to, “get to the bottom of it”. A no going back moment, when I could not work around the fear any longer. Art is a medium I can use to see myself more clearly through- tells me things I was unable to say, shows me things I chose not to see. It takes me down a road I had spent a lifetime intentionally not traveling.
And now I’m here.
My kids got big. Fast. They are old enough to tell me when I’m an asshole, and know me better than I know myself. They are the reason for me- and I am grateful. They are the reason for the breadth of my world. I have tried and seen things, borrowing their courage to fake my own. They have saved me on many occasions, and love me despite the reasons I give them not to. I am one part of a beautiful unit- and am motivated to heal all the darkness that I have carried this far. They are the baseline of my sanity. I realize now that anything that is not good for us, is not good for any of us. At home, or out in the world, I want to make noise about finding our better.
Everything keeps folding in on itself. Everything keeps floating further and further into the expanse. The passing of souls on my mind. The perpetual changing of guard obvious. I am always in my head these days.
Healing has been a blessing, I have my husband to thank. Healing has been my only option- broken is never the end. In work I usually deconstruct before constructing, and make a huge mess on my way to cleaning up. It seems to be working for the process in my head also.
So what if there are gaps, and spaces, in my senses and my memories- so what if yesterday gave me ten reasons to cry. I will turn it into art and it will no longer be what it was.
(( fear is a liar- a quote I read online, I do not know who from:))
Participation in this film made me look at my life all over again. Recalibrating is not easy, but helping- and I am grateful.
Art has taken me out into the world, and shown me back to myself. The process of making art alive has helped me to grow, helped me to process, and given me the opportunity to finally see myself from the inside out. I have learned a lot studying my own work, and realize how fortunate I truly am, and simultaneously exposed the mangled recesses of my heart. So, where to begin, when everything is a tangled loop? Which way is up when everything seems to be turning upside down? I find myself mid stream, wanting what’s next, wishing it didn’t come with growing pains.
I have stepped into and out of, publicly addressing sexual child abuse in the last couple of years. I thought at the beginning of the unfolding, that I somehow had a better understanding of my own growth and healing than I actually did. What I now understand, is that I had a relatively “functional” understanding of my self- and had developed a very intricate life of systems, patterns, habits and relationships that controlled and minimized my triggers.
I experienced this shift in perspective after being given the opportunity to participate in an advocacy film. This film- You, Me, and the Fruit Trees profiled about half a dozen adults, sharing their experiences with sexual child abuse, as well as input from advocacy leaders. Initially I felt empowered and relieved, I knew I was making progress, and I knew I was “making things better”. But soon after participating, the upheaval took hold. The temporary relief of accepting that my experiences were far from unique- gave way to a crushing rage. It seemed that this debilitating pattern of abuse was so universal that nothing made sense. I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of response from the outside, I was overwhelmed by the putrid shit I had stirred up on the inside.
I had gone from feeling like a relatively accomplished individual who had done a pretty good job of coping with personal hardship- to an emotionally imbalanced human, a sliver of an entire population that had yet to understand it’s own terror. And all at once, I was not “okay” again.
I distanced myself from the film, realizing I did not have the ability to keep on, without falling apart. Everything around seemed to be tainted with an energy that I no longer wanted to feel, and suicidal tendencies re-emerged, catching me completely off guard. I can clearly remember wishing my little body could disappear from the face of the earth for most of my life, it was daunting, but normal- and seemed so long ago. I had shelved this unacceptable reality, I had accepted depression as a part of who I was, as I had never really remembered a time that I wasn’t. It’s strange to imagine a little child wishing for death as a relief from life. Suicidal feelings were my childhood norm. I learned to feel very, very, guilty about that, never spoke of it, and fought it every day. So for decades, I worked hard, made a life for myself that I loved, filled it with people I loved, and had gone happily for so long, that I it did not occur to me that I had never resolved the core of me.
Until, of course, it became painfully evident – I HAD NEVER RESOLVED THE CORE OF ME. My life and my efforts, however valiant and brave, were largely byproducts of coping. A coping that had gone on for so long, that I could not distinguish it from who I was. I did not know how deep my heart was locked in a nightmare. I did not know how irrationally fearful I was of life, until my husband found me doubled over in the bathroom, green and half alive after angrily swallowing a bottle of pills. I worked so hard at hiding my hate from the world, that I hid it from myself… that is, until it caught up with me.
Like a scared little animal, I lashed out. Like a good little girl, I kept it to myself. I now believe that there is very little that separates a homicidal act from a suicidal act- same hateful fuel, different target.
That was less than a year ago. I had spent most of 2012 trying to make peace with my evidence, preoccupied with trying to make peace with my past. I had spent most of 2012 investigating the dark places in my heart, unwinding my body of a deep hate. That horrible irrational decision, changed everything, and I am lucky that I am still here to continue my healing. Even luckier, I have support from true loves in my life. I chose to face all of the unprocessed hate that was stored in my subconscious, armed with the understanding that the feelings had very little to do with my life now, and everything to do with a past life I had endured. I could no longer afford to suppress and cope with this ill voice- because it was like driving through life with a homicidal maniac as passenger- who at any moment could grab the wheel.
Despite my efforts to keep life tidy, 2013 opened with many more tests. A perfect storm hit, peeling back yet another layer, punctuated by the mortality slap of a car accident. When a truck blew a red light, and t-boned my husband and I, crushing the door into my ribs and arm- I was shook to the core. I can still feel the crash of the headlights and the glass coming through me on my right side, blurs, noise, and a clear moment that I knew I DID NOT WANT TO DIE. It was the first time in a long time that I felt so sure of anything. My prayers were answered, and I was in shock, elated to be alive, and relatively unscathed. The asshole left the scene, I was just glad to be alive. Our car was totaled, I was just glad to be alive. I wanted to be angry, but I was just glad to be alive. I gave thanks that my children were not in the car, and I was just glad to be alive. I thought of all the people and places that I call home- and I was just glad to be alive.
I imagined healing from my injuries, seeing a chiropractor, and getting right back in step with life and all the goodness it had to offer. That was a month ago. I did not make room for things getting a little worse before better though. The adrenaline of the first week evaporated, and the chronic pain of a bruised body seeped into fitful sleepless nights. Loud noises trigger tension, and fast cars trigger panic. Exhausted and out of sync with work, all the roles that seemed to keep me in place were gone - and then the flashbacks of a traumatized childhood started.
I wasn’t even a kindergartner when the consistent abuse started, and had already checked out of my body by second grade- when I was violently attacked and raped. I had since built an entire life around a lie, or perhaps maybe a wish, that I was totally Okay, when in fact I wasn’t. It’s a blessing in disguise that I have finally been able to access horrible memories. As an adult, in a safe and beautiful life- I am finally able to pinpoint and process the source of my irrational fears, sadness, depression, hate, and anxiety- things that no longer fit in my life.
I forgive myself for not being everything I wished I was. I forgive myself for being so many things I wished I wasn’t. I forgive myself for not knowing how to be sometimes. I am learning to separate my nightmares from my dreams. I stopped mapping a finish line to my healing or setting deadlines for accomplishment. Instead take note of the millions of points of light on the horizon I can look to when feeling lost. So many of these practices are new, and I am clumsy and disorganized inside and out. It has been hard to let go of my less honest high function, in exchange for a more honest mess. But there is no better time than now, and there is no going back. I will continue to create. I will continue to understand and dismantle my fears. I am determined to make art that includes the truth- the whole truth. I will make my story my own, and make peace with the demons I have inherited. I will do my best to share, as I refuse to be the collateral damage of anyone else’s war.
we’re not there yet
And it turned out, that we are all just a dumbfuck bunch of animals, a cluster of cells, nothing more than consumption and excrement…echoing horrors of a re-imagined past. Forgetting the will, forgetting the will. A shared reality of lack and death- the hard earned comforts, the hard earned comforts.
Alas a mirror carved through with so many facets, much more than any diamond, much more than any past-much more than extracted on the death of their backs. It was a time before herstory was told- lord forgive them for they know not what they do. We do, we do.
So they realized that no forum, no meeting, or opposition, or reparation- could ever make right, the horror they all shared. In fear of freedom, shell shocked from the brutal truth, that they were all just one mess- one cowardly, isolated, hateful echo of racist, vengeful, raping, homicidal tendencies. And all at once, a truce was called. Because of her, because of her.
a new day
I can’t help but look. I can’t help but check. I must gather the feedback, that I was unable to process. Last night, the surrealities that kicked down such silly self imposed limitations, required sleep to integrate. Newsfeeds and phone pics, inboxes and outboxes- call to me this morning. The smattering of clues; smiley emoticons, ART, grinning faces, the word LIBERATING, are all floating through the energetic sea we swim in. They may not know how much they have changed me, they may not know, how it really wasn’t real at all, until they arrived.… but the buoyancy lifts my head, then my eyes, then my focus——and these smattering of clues, left generously here and there, are like a trail of sparkly bread crumbs- I am finally not afraid to follow.
take my hand, and I will follow, only you can hold me like a tourniquet…
Femme Cartel Reception 11.28.12
She, greeting me with “good mornings” through parted lips. Walked easy, on full hips and raised daughters who believed in magic. We wore hats, shopped farmers’ markets, and wrote on the walls. She sang often, laughed out loud, and I stayed- knowing she would help me, challenge me, grow me…knowing that she was the closest thing to home this momma had ever found.