Archive for May, 2015

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Unafraid to ask for help, she unleashed the fire, unabashedly.

May 29, 2015

I remember saying to someone, when I was in the throes of being an unrepentant cigarette smoker, before my inability to hold notes longer than 12 seconds while singing, climb stairs easily and not wake up feeling like someone had scrubbed the inside of my mouth with ashes, ‘if someone gave you an ultimatum..for instance, if you smoke even one more cigarette, you’ll lose a finger..what would you do?’

I probably would have hoped for the pinky. I know myself well enough to know that I can validate anything if it’s only me we’re talking about. If that was the case for someone else, my reaction would probably be, “you’re not seriously considering ever smoking another cigarette, are you? That would be so stupid.” And I would do everything I could to help them get to a place where they liked themselves enough that doing things like having the occasional cigarette wasn’t even an option because people who treat themselves kindly and with love don’t pay the government to help them poison themselves. It’s just silly.

So how come I won’t do that for me? And how come I would steadfastly refuse to ask for help, perhaps even refusing help that might be offered? Where does that come from?

Ironically, I was offered that exact ultimatum not too long after I put forth the possibility of it. My thumb got pulled off in an odd and moderately synchronistic thumb sundering accident and while it was reattached and I can still play the piano though will never be a thumb wars champion and can only give movies one and a half thumbs up, even if they’re really good, while I was in the hospital the surgeon (Dr. Dimitrios Anastakis, who spent 4 hours under a microscope reattaching my blood vessels..huge shout out to that guy) told me I needed to stay away from vasodilators, which would open and allow too much blood flow while everything was still healing. The most common? Caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, cigarettes.

Damn.
So there it was, if you smoke even one cigarette, you will lose your thumb. It won’t heal and will get sick and die and have to be removed again, this time permanently. And guess what? I didn’t smoke. I didn’t drink caffeinated tea or eat chocolate or have even one glass of wine.

I mean, yay for me because I have a thumb. But how long was it before I slid back into old habits? Less than six months. To be fair, that was november and I was in Paris on my birthday in april and..where’s the harm in a glass of wine? Well, likely none, except that it doesn’t stop at one. Hell, some days for me, it doesn’t even stop at a bottle! And with the drink? Comes the cigarettes..and then the chocolate and the mostly anonymous (I said no names! just take off your damn pants!) attachment-less sex. So it’s not all bad.

But why does it take something like that? Why are the habits of self-abuse and negation so firmly entrenched that it takes something as dramatic as ripping a thumb off to convince me to let them go. Though after a time, they’re back again because I’ve forgotten the way consequence feels.

But let’s look at it from another side. Perhaps my hesitation to ask for help stems from a fear that by doing so, I’ll admit I have a problem. Or that I’m not strong enough to do it on my own. I’m not just talking about smoking here. I’m talking about anything. Everything!

I’m that girl on the crew who, upon hearing about a new task that needs doing, automatically starts to work out how I’ll fit it in to my day. Rather than saying, well, I have these other seven things to take care of, I’ll see where I’m at and if you haven’t found someone else to do it, I’ll give it a shot. Nope.

“I’ll do it!” But Trish, you’re already doing all of that stuff…”What, you think I can’t do it? I can do it! And I don’t need help! I would rather struggle and sweat and end up hating everyone here for not being as capable as me to do all the things. You know what? Maybe you should all just go home because I got this.”

Ok, that might be a mild exaggeration, but it’s also sadly close to truth some of the time. I’m so damn insistent that I got this, when I finally understand that I have to ask for help, I do so in the most resentful and passive aggressive way possible. Ugh. Yeah, I seriously don’t know why that is. I’ll think on it and get back to you.

At any rate, there was very little in this world that would ever get me to admit I needed a kick in the pants when it comes to writing. That’s my thing! It’s the thing I’ve always done! Not consistently or coherently or to any foreseeable beneficial end, but whatever! It’s my bailiwick and don’t even think about trying to tell me how I could be better at it.

But I wasn’t really happy with how it was feeling anymore. I was spending way more time reading about the habits of other writers (brainpickings is an awesome place for that. She does a lot of good work over there), not reading what they had written, which actually does help more than I used to think, but just about how they wrote in the hope that it would help me get better. Except that I still wasn’t writing, which, lets’ face it, is the one thing that is going to help me get better.

The best way to be a good writer is to write. Profound, I know. But there it is. And I wasn’t.
And I was making excuses for it to such an extent that it was just sad.

One night, back in January, I was moderately tipsy (and not in the hilarious drunkalele way that is both creative and ideally helping me to bolster my confidence when it comes to singing in front of others, even if it’s via the interwebs and behind a screen..see? Queen of justification says drinking alone has the potential to be beneficial and awesome) and signed up for a thing I honestly didn’t remember I had signed up for until the paypal receipt showed up in my email.
It was a 30 day Write Yourself Alive course and I couldn’t tell you which of the points (do you feel like a sad person who doesn’t write and instead uses alcohol and the voices of writers long dead to drown out the words in your own head that are desperate to come out? Do you suffer from crippling self doubt and wish that someone would show up at your house and tell you you’re good enough while making you gluten free vegan cookies?) they stressed had been the one that pushed me over the edge, gave the part of me that needed to hear it the kick in the pants to press the sign up button. It doesn’t surprise me that I found it because I signed up for the Rebelle society newsletters a long time ago and it was offered through them. I actually wanted to submit pieces to them but got stymied at the submit your piece with artists’ bio and was too insecure to write one, which I’ve only recently addressed in the last month or so. I have an awesome bio now. Perhaps it’s time.

But I digress. I was really really really excited about it. Like more than I had been in a long time about something. It felt like I was doing something that was not only within my power to do, but that was something one would do for themselves if they liked themselves enough to try. Was it because I had spent money on it? Not a whole lot, I think it was less than 50 bucks. But it still felt like a present. When I was in a relationship with someone who wasn’t very good at being in a relationship with me (to be fair, I wasn’t very good at being in a relationship with him..which is probably why we aren’t anymore) I used to buy myself flowers and pretend they came from him. If I had asked him to, he might have bought them for me…yeah. Probably not. But I think about it now and it felt wrong at the time to just buy them for myself because I wanted them. I needed them to come from somewhere else because it felt silly and selfish otherwise. In reality, it’s not. I don’t buy myself flowers now because it makes me sad that they’re already dying, but if that wasn’t an issue, I’d have no problem treating myself like that.

Why the divisions? Why have I reached a place where flowers are okay but not things that will ideally cultivate habits? Am I afraid that when I do it for two days and then drop it I’ll have wasted the money? Of course these are thoughts that entered my head because I’ve signed up for soooo many online courses (songwriting, writing fiction, marine archaeology, quantum mechanics, digital sound design, various coding, etc etc etc) and rarely finished any of them. I start off so strong, but then…so obviously I had this as a template when considering a whole 30 days…30 days! Of writing every day! But every day is a chance to start again. So I did.

Here’s a funny thing. I told a couple of friends that I was doing it. But I did so very shyly. The way you might tell someone that you’re in serious debt. Or dating online. Or having an affair with your psychiatrist who insists it’s totally unrelated to your daddy issues. Or working as the personal dominatrix of the president of a first world country which shall remain nameless. Ok, maybe the dominatrix thing wouldn’t be shared shyly so much as not at all because, discretion darlings…

It was as though, like being in debt or dating online, I didn’t want to mention it to anyone until it was obvious that it was going to work out. I lump all of these things together not because they are similar but because there seems to be a moderate stigma attached to talking about them easily and comfortably. I have no idea why. Ok, the psychiatrist thing…I’ll just leave that one..
But seriously, I don’t know why meeting someone via the internet is acceptable if you happen to encounter each other because you have many twitter followers in common, but god forbid you should actually be looking for each other. And is there anyone that isn’t stupid rich, like not even supercomputers can count that high, who isn’t in debt to some extent? The company store has far reaching fingers in many many pies. And as for signing up for writing courses, I know why I was so cagey. Because I already thought of myself as a writer (what have you published? Fuck you! Yeah. Super productive..) and admitting that I might need help with something?

I prefer to admit I’m in debt because I bailed my psychiatrist boyfriend out of jail when he was busted for sleeping with patients. We met online. We have so much in common. But it’ll be okay because I recently got a job as a domme….

At any rate, help I got. No, I didn’t write every day, but I wrote more than I had in months. There were writing prompts every day and no, I didn’t do all of them, but I didn’t like them all and ultimately I am allowed to choose what I do. But I was writing. The best part of it all? No, it’s not that I’m still writing almost every day, though that is a really fantastic thing even if I don’t publish here or elsewhere.
It’s that the group of people I was in the group with have become some of my closest, dearest friends, and confidantes. I’m actually welling up a bit with throat thick tear potential just thinking about them. I have many friends who I can say most anything to. I do. But in an insanely short time, this small group of people who carried over from the course and formed a tight knit group of our own has become a luscious bunch of friends that I can say anything to. No most about it. They’ve become one of the most delightful and supportive parts of my life. I realize that I’ve never really had a group of friends who are writers. That’s not to say there aren’t people already in my life who write and are brilliant at it. But this group of friends, when we started, it was literally <-ha!) the only thing we had in common. That was the place we started from. We were all writers who needed help. And we finally had the courage to ask for it. We found it. And each other.

We met online.
We have so much in common, way more than just writing.

I started drunkalele because of them. I’ve thought about doing it for a long time, but never had the guts (Sing? Where people can hear?) until I found myself in this place of support and acceptance. I post things that no one would have ever seen, because I’m not afraid of how it will be received. It’s the most amazing feeling to have that. It’s the most incredible realization to speak, and not only have one’s voice be heard, but encouraged.

And confidence begets self-love begets the desire to cultivate habits which help instead of hinder begets doing, instead of just talking about or reading about. Though, while I am certainly better than I was, it’s coming up on six months and I’ve nearly forgotten where I was at when I first found the course. How easily consequence slips from memory. I’ve been smoking again, not exercising much at all. Still eating well, but drinking a little too often and not writing very consistently at all. I started to type, to be fair…but that’s just a way to validate, to justify, to make excuses.

So I put it out there again. I asked for some help. And one night, while looking at my email I noticed the word fire. I will always notice fire. It is my default setting. I am a redhaired fire hula spinning aries, born in the year of the fire dragon at dawn, seven minutes shy of the hour of the dragon, I like me some fire. I also love water and earth and air and the aether as far as it goes, but yeah…fire and me…we’re tight.

It was a writing/yoga course offered by the queen of the thug unicorns herself, Tanya Markul. Also a rebelle society co-founder, she had presented at exactly the time I needed it, a wake up call to love your body just as much as your mind kick in the yoga pants I was kinda looking for. Because the reality is, what is the use of honing this creative and clever brain to lightning sharp expression if the body that houses it isn’t being cared for as compassionately and consistently? And how much better would aforementioned brain perform if it is housed in a body that is being cared for compassionately and consistently?

Lots, I’m thinkin. So I signed up. A present to myself because I’m worth it. I’m worth the time and the effort it takes to convince myself I like it here. In this skin.
The best part of that moment? I signed up, went to sleep and woke up with words. The best kind. The kind that come unbidden but coherent and delicious. The kind that blaze their way free of my mind via my lips and fingers. The perfect sensual act of communication and clarity. And it feels so gooooood.

Some people dream in black and white
I dream in fire.
I dream in licks and sparks and sunbursts that fall like rain
I dream of flames that climb the walls like jagged teeth
in a maw that is always open,
always hungry.
I dream of a core,
that black red that can’t be hotter,
A molten mess of memory-less potential.
There is no space here for habits,
there is no sense of anything being formed.
This is the dwelling of the formless,
this is a place to rumble and gather and flow.
It’s impossible to talk about can’t
There is no air to spare
on such things.
It will hurt every time
to have these layers peeled away
But fires don’t burn clean,
until they’re allowed to rage.

Bring it.

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Theoretical. Thoughfully.

May 26, 2015

Like a scientist, I’m out to prove my own theories.
I have this theory that I don’t need anyone, that I have independence sussed to such an extent I could be the last human on earth and I wouldn’t fucking miss you.
I might miss your reaction to the clever things I say, but they’ll be funny if you’re here or not.
I might miss the way your hands look on the insides of my knees as you spread me wide and dive inside, but I see it just as clear when I close my eyes, even if it feels a little different. A little more empty. A little more lonely. A little more lost. I wish it weren’t true, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t want you there, now and then.
Between my legs, between my ears, between the layers of my skin. Curling around the parts of me that beat and feel and remember what good it does to let someone in. Even for a brief, yet epic moment. When moments become something that can be described as epic, I know I’m doing something right.

I have this theory that I don’t require the opinions of others to feel good about myself. That theory is proving difficult to prove true. I write a thing and I’m only thinking of how it sounds in my mind, in my words, on my tongue, half of the time. The other half is thinking about how it sounds on your lips, on your screen, in your voice, in your reality. Does it resonate? Did I touch you? Will you reach back and let me know? Do I need you to? Or can I just be satisfied to know that it happened? If that were true, why would I come back time and time again to peruse the stats, to check how many saw, how many liked, how many said so?
But that’s okay too. The pleasure comes from sharing, from knowing that another takes pleasure from it too. There is no shame in hoping that the thing shared is giving as much as it’s getting.
Viral?
No thank you.

Spiral?
Oh yes.
Yes please.
All of the yes.
Please.
Because it’s starts here, it starts small, nearly incoherent, this spark, this grain of intent, this minuscule offhand remark made buoyant or drowned in this wine glass, depending on whether I was inhaling or exhaling at the time.
This spiral. This golden spiral that starts with something so small and radiates out until, expansive and all encompassing, I can’t see it anymore. I live within the shadow of it, regardless of it’s lack of dark. Every moment it doubles, every chance it has to wrap up the thing that came before and beget something so much more, it does so.
What will it be? What will be the thing that grows from in to out and back again?
Will it be habits cultivated as a result of thoughtless enterprise?
A configuration of this is how we’ve always done it regardless of how well it’s still working?
A conflagration of burn it down and rebuild on the ashes of mistakes remembered clearly enough to never be made again?
A cozy combination of the two, wrapped in a mindful mosaic of balance between the good for me and the soon to be better?
I am a scientist, creating a reality there is no template for.
I am an artist, dreaming into being a creation that has room for anything I might deem necessary.
I am a poet.
However they existed before, I breathe words into being so they can have a place to play. Because words love to play. They crave this life we imbue them with, they desire to be used, to be conveyed, to be spoken. Not only with voice, but with touch and taste and laughter and looks.

To radiate all the way out
and carry us home.

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Sense of self

May 13, 2015

I want to use you.
I want to use you the way a tree grows roots and
dives deep into soil
I want to find inside you what I need to grow
I want to stretch my limbs,
let them tangle in clouds
and feel the sun break across my boughs
This heavy light making me strong
I want the weight of your wind
To bend me to the point of breaking
So I can know how to adapt,
become resilient
when faced with an onslaught
that might destroy a weaker spirit.
I want to feel the rich joy of opening wide
A heart that beats furiously,
courageously
I want to understand what it is to be alive
And thrive in the knowledge
That I already possess
The patience required to become
The person I seek.
The person I’ll never find inside you
because she’s here
Inside me.

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Revelations with regard to reaction, rethinking and reimagining the playground.

May 10, 2015

I don’t always have something to say. Even when I do, it’s not always clever. That’s very difficult to admit. I enjoy being the most clever person in the room. Even when the only other person in the room is a dog. She often indulges me though.

I don’t know when I attached myself to this notion of precociousness, but it’s always been there as far as I remember. I didn’t need people to talk to me, so much as I desired to have them talk about me.
I wanted to stick in their mind as being something odd or unusual, something more than or less than or just slightly askew of..
I would go out of my way to say something mildly provocative when leaving somewhere, with the consideration that after the door closed behind me the conversation would inevitably be “what an intelligent little girl.” I didn’t even need to hear it, imagining it happening was enough. And I was sure it was happening.

I remember reading somewhere, ‘people would be less concerned with what others thought of them, if they realized how seldom they do it.’ I honestly didn’t think that applied to me, not that I was concerned what they were thinking. Just that they were.
Even this, here and now. If I was so damn gung-ho on writing stuff, would I need to publish it? Granted, there is so much that I write that I never show anyone, because I write incessantly. Sometimes just a line, sometimes pages of rambling. I try to filter the most coherent into the spaces where I will share it. Because sharing is important, but not necessarily for the reasons I think it might be. It’s not just the reaction. Because it doesn’t stop when someone else sees it. If someone reads something I wrote, and says, ‘that’s pretty good Trish’ I’m convinced I got what I came for. I am validated. My ego is soothed that we’re creating things that are received well by our peers and there is no consideration for the message beyond that. I’m not sure that’s very responsible, but honestly, I’ve never really considered such things to any extent before. But things are shifting, it would seem. I’m starting to re-examine what I’m doing, what I’d like to put out there, rather than just spewing my thoughts into the ether and hoping that they have some moderately coherent benefit.
I get caught up in the pendulum swing of ‘it’s ok to have an ego that desires people to acknowledge what we’re doing is not so bad, perhaps even relevant in moments’ all the way over to ‘the ego is evil and we need to dispel any association that something so petty can have so much influence on daily existence’.

It’s maddening because honestly I don’t totally understand what ego is. If it’s a part of me, why do I have to spend so much time trying to dispel it? Why am I spending so much time compartmentalizing myself and trying to lock away or exorcise those parts unpalatable or disagreeable? Why can’t I live with it and adapt to it and understand when it’s necessary and when it needs to shut the fuck up and grasp humility? Am I confusing ego with confidence? There are so many moments, so many, when I needed that voice inside me to kick me in the pants and scream, “you got this!” so that I could step out of my shell/comfort zone/ safety bubble/whatever. Does it matter if that voice comes from a place where I intrinsically know ‘I got this’ or if it’s from a delusional ego driven place of ‘I’m the most clever person in the room. How could I not have this?’

That’s not to suggest that there is no place for humility. There will always be greater and lesser than me, in everything.
There will always be writers I will read and want to rip my hair out with a sense of futility because they already said the thing I was thinking in such an eloquent way I should just go back to bed and stop trying, regardless of the fact that they said it from the perspective of someone who is 5’10 and british.
Then there are things that I read and want to tear my hair out because “this got published?!!! And people read it and liked it? It’s so obviously shite!!”
I know, I know. That’s just like, my opinion, man.
But seriously, the pendulum is a force of much consternation in my life. I’ve tried to exist in the happy medium. I still try, I will keep trying. But perhaps the trouble isn’t in the seeming lack of balance, perhaps it’s only this perspective that I’ve convinced myself there is a pendulum at all.

What if it’s a teeter totter? A see saw? This is a perspective that not only encourages and requires sharing, but is dependent on reciprocation.

Have you ever tried to play on a teeter totter on your own? It totally sucks. It tooottallly suuuuuuuuucks. Ok, truth, You can play on one on your own, as long as you stay more or less in the middle. You can achieve a balance of sorts and stay there forever, dependent on no one, engaged in the struggle to keep from moving too far to one side or the other, for fear that the equilibrium is lost.

But remember that feeling when you push off and there’s a moment when the two of you are at exactly the same level and then, because of the counter balance you soar into the sky, pinned there because your friend is holding you up? And then they push off and your stomach drops just a little as you glide down and it’s exhilarating and you can’t help but giggle just a bit as your butt hits the ground if you chose not to put your feet out?
I was going to say something about the douchey friend who gets up suddenly and leaves you there to crash down without any counterweight, but sometimes that’s the kind of friend you need too.

And even if the perspective of the pendulum isn’t wrong, perhaps my thinking that it’s something to be slowed or stopped is askew. How boring would playing on the swings be if they just stayed static in the middle? Really really boring. There will always be days of toes stretched tight, reaching towards the horizon and there will be days when I curl into myself and push backwards away from the world but that’s how I gain momentum. Forward and back, this cosmic dance of teetery pendulum swing, even sometimes around and around, a spirally merry go round of giddy, garbled, and goddamnit. The trouble comes when I get caught up in the apparent seriousness of it all. When I feel like there is only one right way, one true path, one proper perspective. The thing I’m doing/writing/eating/reading/listening to today does not define me. It does not lock me in and keep me from finding new ways to express myself, new things to try.

And besides, in the words of Bill Hicks, who was most assuredly the most clever person in any room he was in, it’s just a ride. The choice is simple. Fear? Or Love?

I choose love. It’s way more fun.

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