On Possession, Injurious attacks and Influences, the Dangers of Being Open and Receptive to Others and Their Ideas.
Being a raw walking open emotional and psychic wound is an occupational hazard for a writer, I suppose. We are possessed by ideas, by past artists and dreams which shake us around by the scruff of the neck not letting go until they are done with us and we are thoroughly shaken up. There is no other way to write than to be open fully to the outside world, to other people and their pain, their joys, their fears and their experiences, and to experience our own emotions fully without separating ourselves from them by building internal brick walls. It is why artists drink, shoot smack, smoke hash and engage in meaningless sexual adventures: to take a break from the agony of being so open.
Ideas, histories, music and people take over my thoughts. I am possessed more than I am obsessed by them, even if they are passing fancies that drift in and out. Sometimes a person interests me. I can barely walk down the street without finding a waif or stray or sad or lonely person who wants to talk. Sometimes I feel as if I am a mirror, reflecting back what people think they want to see in me, whilst they don’t see that dark empty room that lays behind the one way looking glass of despair. I like people. I don’t want to like people. As I have got older and older I have got more self contained. I have been burnt so many times by people who either didn’t mean to hurt me, or saw something in me they wanted to destroy – namely all the worthless good I might have harbored at one time or another. Sometimes there is someone who is clearly attracted to me in a physical way. It is strange to me that I have been accused of being asexual. I am not.
I am simply a somewhat butch gay woman, who in these later years would much rather not be a woman at all (not that I have any fucking choice in the matter, no matter how I claw onto androgyny the rest of the world sees me as it will and treats me like a bitch accordingly). I am someone who tried to force herself into sexual relationships with men to my utter detriment. All my truly successful relationships with men, and they have not been many, nor long lasting, have been as friends. Of course the motherfuckers try and have sex with me, and on occasion I have let them, like the well trained woman I was. I wanted love. I didn’t want derision or yet more aggression from the heaving masses of small minded little provincial types that tortured me in my childhood and teenage years. It generally works out better if I am simply friends with men.
I make a good guy friend, or so I like to tell myself. Sometimes there are women who flirt. The straight ones do it because they can smell the gay on me, and like to see if they could. It is an exercise in ego bolstering and it is terribly unfair. The gay ones flirt…and I am automatically on the defense. I will not be hurt again. They move through my life like stray birds rising in the distance, flying away with the smoke and the water vapor and the clouds, while I look and long to not be so injured. I cannot fly any more. I cautiously flap my wings and touch the air and then just as I am about to lift off into something that looks like love or affection I tell myself not to be so ridiculous. I am unlovable. I have had my wings clipped – every other feather. I might look alright as if I might be able to fly off in formation with the other feathered creatures of the air, but when I do I find myself landlocked, grounded, drowning in the oil slick of damage to my soul and psyche. It might be good for writing, but it is no good for happiness. I am a love invalid. I have had all my desire to be open drained out of me, though I think the sweetness remains. It doesn’t mean I don’t burn, or don’t want or don’t long or lick my chops hungrily when I see another soul I wish I was capable of getting close to. I do. It just means that I am not so damn stupid as to get hurt again. Fool me once….fool me twice….but I am a hundred ‘gotcha’s’ down the line. If I don’t learn my lessons by now, I never will.
I cannot be a self contained unit, an ivory tower dweller who makes like a sophomoric Paul Simon and ‘touches no one and no one touches me’ with my books and ‘poetry to protect me.’ It is against my essential nature. I am a sponge, an open window without any curtains. I am a human wound wearing my heart on my sleeve. It is why I loved to drink and the rest of it. Just for a second I didn’t experience the anxiety that went along with that, just for a few moments I felt utterly relaxed and at ease. There was no Weltschmerz, that usually accompanies my days and ways. I would not live any other way than with my eyes and heart open, but reality never satisfies. The only things that ever make me feel good are art, booze and drugs, and considering I am utterly totally clean and have been for a very long time, all that leaves me with is art. I think I kept the most interesting, but most painful of the bunch.
I am the kind of person that cries at a piece of music that hits me just right, or is shaken to the core by a painting or a sculpture. I know it sounds pretentious and hipster of me, but I still read certain sections of Kerouac, Bukowski, Burroughs and Clarice Lispector and find myself overwhelmed with emotion. Perhaps feeling could save the world, perhaps it could make us actually feel for each other deeply enough to not want to nuke the shit out of other country’s children? Perhaps. Perhaps some people are essentially evil and all they can feel is hatred. I don’t know. I don’t think I want to. I have stared evil in the face enough times to know it is unfathomable to me. There is a cold blankness to evil, an utter void of anything good or kind or feeling or caring about anything other than its evil self. It stares back with the eyes of a reptile and cares nothing for morality, law or consequences. Evil knows that only the good suffer consequences, while it floats off, or slithers or belly crawls or whatever evil does, to live to harm another day, another person, another soul. It is a cruel world, but we all have to live in it. There is no fixing the evil, so the only thing left for us survivors is to keep on running and generating works of love and light.
I suppose the trick is to not get infected by the evil in response to its frequent probings and attacks on the defenses. I check myself daily for signs of soul-rot. Every time I see another attack, a beating, a war, or great injustice and cruelty masquerading as Truth and Protection of all that is innocent and good, I feel bad spots start to appear at the edges of my psyche. Each time I read of a woman killed, or her life destroyed I get a little more insular as a result of trying not to let my anger burn hot enough to set me on fire. It is sometimes no good, and there I am aflame once again. I am sick of saying ‘not all men’ not all…not all…not all….Men seem so fragile to me. I feel as if I am more man than most of them. I suck it up and put my best foot forward and despite injury and pain, injustice and danger, keep on moving forward through what appears to be the constant ‘Valley of Death’ that I live in. I wish they would all stop whining and get on with it. I am greatly intolerant, even if I don’t want to be.
I think, in the end of things having a son might have been the saving of me. I see him as a wholly decent, vastly good, kind individual, who although he has his quirks and the inevitable horrors of being a male in this time of great danger, is, in the balance of things, a force for the good. If it was not for him I would get myself to a dyke nunnery and never speak a word to a man again. Bitter? You betcha. I am as bitter as chicory, as mouth puckeringly sour as candy that seems more punishment than treat. Bite me and you will want to spit me out. Unfortunately for me I am not able to be cold. I see people – lonely people, sad people, suffering people and can’t help but want to help or comfort. I want to fix everything and everyone else, and I try to on a regular basis but the one thing I cannot fix is myself.
I simply cannot bear more pain and disappointment in life. I am all out of what the Japanese call ‘gaman’ – the ability to withstand and carry on. I am a “donkey on the edge” to quote Shrek. I think that because people see all the strong things I have done, because I generally don’t moan or complain, as to do so makes me feel queasy and as if the Evil can see my weakness and might pounce and mistake me for a mouse or a tender morsel, then they just presume I am fine and will carry on going as usual. I wonder if one day I will simply go to put one foot in front of the other, just as I always have done, and my legs simply won’t carry the weight and I will tumble never to rise up again. There has to be a breaking point somewhere, and I suppose I am doomed to find it sooner or later. I can’t take anyone I love being hurt, I can’t take any more trouble or danger right now. I cannot take one more drop of evil in my cup of goodness, otherwise it will all spill over. I am barely on my feet and trying desperately to make it to the next milestone. Sometimes I wish someone would just pick me up like a child, scoop me up like a baby and take care of me. I am beyond exhaustion in some hazy interzone of desolation. My walls are all cracking at the foundations. Everything is too bright and too painful and way way too real right now.
I wish I had a flaming torch to scare away those that want to upset my apple cart or topple my tower, that I could push them away with the heat and fire and light and back into the darkness of the world outside my cave. I feel primitive like I need to hunker down on my haunches and scrabble around in the dirt for an idea or a song. The trouble with being so open to everything is that I am so open to trouble itself. I just need a break. I just need some safety. I just need room to breathe and be surrounded in all my openness by those who will fill my cup with love and peace and no danger or disappointment or cruelty or war, just until I get my sea legs back and can float along again on the waves of life. Perhaps that is the problem, perhaps I am a sea bird, a penguin or an albatross, not a bird of the air and I should never have been trying to fly very far at all. Perhaps what I need is to be able to swim in the sea of emotion and pain and suffering and love and light and living and let it all wash over me after all. But not today. Today I am going to drown once again if I am not very careful indeed.