Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Wormhole; Electra's dictionary

The Wormhole

As I re-engage back into life.... and here I have to stop and think with some irony-- still life?.... I decide to come off all of my anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. The decision to do this is instinctive. I don't know why, but it is a personal experiment. I think that the real anxiety has been other people. It has been Dean with his unbalancing affect on me, his erratic moods that have constantly set me in a state of instability. You see, I see now that I have always been better on my own. I don't need anybody and never have. I am me, I am mine, I define, I belong to me, and I am fine. This decision is personal and I choose not to discuss this with my doctor. I want to see if I am right. I think I trust myself better than anyone, it is when I have depended on others that I have always been mislead.

It has been unusually warm in Detroit the last few days. Yesterday it was so beautiful with the trees and the leaves and Autumn in full bloom. It was unscheduled, but I got a call from Zack-- he asks me to call him Zack.... he asks me to meet him for an extra sitting. He says, “on location for a personal piece.”

Right now there are stacks of boxes in the apartment. On one side of the interior I have organized all of Dean's belongings. I have his boxes stacked neatly. I am being methodical in exacting what is mine and his. I give him most things because I think I want to have only things that are not attached to my life with him. I give him the every day dishes we have used, I give him the silverware. I keep only the things that I came into this life with him with. It is like how I have removed all my jewelry. I removed my wedding ring, the chains around my neck, I wear no earrings since the last tests I had to do at the medical facility. The bareness is part of the shedding. Like the medications I have chosen to stop using. The need to reach the core of me. To be unafraid of being naked. To be just me. Only me. Bare and essential.

My passions are often best expressed through my writing as it allows me to reach my inner vortex.... thus long suppressed. Yet now it leaves me scratching my head, lost and fallen down a rabbit hole, knowing there was a wormhole that was awakened from its long dormant state and was finally revealed. And devoured. Yet I tread carefully because I was afraid. I should have been more cautious. You know in my life, I don't remember ever being openly challenged by anyone. Before. No one ever really saw me. Or bothered to.

I see it was better to remain in shadow. I don't think the real me is meant to be exposed. Which is why I keep my words mixed up with tools of literary metaphors. My codes. My shields. My best friends. I think my message may or may not be understood. It could be by chance the way I fell upon Bronte's words at just the right moment. Sometimes the most powerful influences that change the world are so subtle that they are almost invisible. I work my best undercover. I like my anonymity. It is my true power. Why? Because it has no motive. I think people mistrust a powerful force, they believe this force is trying to control them. They believe even the most benign of positive energies have ulterior motives. I have no motives. I think sometimes I am only on this mission as some kind of duty of humanity that I feel intrinsically within. I want no satisfaction from this. I try only to touch people and leave them better, but they seem to always …. suck me dry in the end.

So as I am aware that Zack may have an interest in me more than for the muse that I provide for his work, I have no choice but to stay closed. Because it is not even a choice. It is not even a decision to protect myself. It is that I have come away from life at this point more wise. Or world weary? Well, at this point, shouldn't that be?

I arrive at Zack's studio on this crisp beautiful day. It is sixty degrees outside in late October! So unheard of in Detroit. I don't know what his personal project involves, but when I go inside to his shop I hear him call from upstairs,

I'll be right down, we're going for a drive....”

In the past, I would be curious. Right now I am like stone. Yet light enough to blow with the wind. But the air is still today.

I walk around his shop. I look at his paintings. The ones leaning up on walls, I flip through, because I have caught glimpses by now of all the others. I am impressed with his depth of color and tone, studies of layered hues and depth, his awareness of light. I am drawn to the sensitivity of his eye. I feel strangely touched by his work. It reaches some place inside me. That place that has been recently harmed. It is like some kind of soothing balm to look at his art. And I go from one stack to another, pulled and drawn. Drawn.

It is awhile before I see he is standing in the doorway watching me. I wonder how long he has been standing there. Only, had it been anyone else, I'd have jumped. Because Dean was always doing that. He was always spying on me. Looming like a skulking presence.

I notice that when Zack watches me it is with the observation of an artist. He is waiting to see something candid revealed. Not to plunder though. He only wants to capture it and internalize it before he gives it back. He gives it back. He does not seem to take.

But they always start out that way, don't they? In the end, everyone takes.

He is standing there in shadow watching me. He wears his jeans and worn out boots. He wears a denim button down shirt left open over a burgundy henley. He has broad shoulders but he is boney so his clothes fall in drapes that becomes his frame. He is tall and I can tell by the ease that he walks that he is well muscled. I don't know his age. He has one of those ageless appearances. Like those people who have found peace within themselves and move through life with accepting grace.

Yes, I am aware that he is good looking. But, you see, I am so raw. I can only note this with detachment. I don't really care. If I wasn't so fresh from a gun-shot state, I know I would have liked him. But artists have always been my weakness. Their illusions wrap me up.

Why don't you pick one?” he asks me.
I don't at first get his meaning. But his head gestures towards the stack I am looking through.

He says,
you said you're moving. I'll give you one as a house warming gift. Pick one.”

I smile and move away from the stack I had been flipping through. I turn my back to him,
I.... couldn't. I know what you sell these for....”

He walks up behind me and takes out the last one I had been studying. The one I had been studying the longest. The colors are deep, ranging in alizerin crimson and yellow ochre. The textures are so warm. He pulls this one out and sets it on the counter,
I'll wrap it up when we get back. It would have been the one I would have picked out for you.”

I start to walk to the door and feel myself burning with some kind of awkward embarrassment,
you don't have to.... I feel bad taking it--” and quickly I change conversation, “where are we going?”

Autumn,” he answers as if this is an answer. His hand reaches above me to get the door, he holds it open.

I love men who hold open doors.

I step outside. It is a crisp day. The sun is so warm and the air has the slightest chill. We walk out to where our cars are parked and he leads me to his pickup. He opens the passenger side first and holds it open for me to get in.

I don't even care where we are going. I think anywhere is better than standing still. Lately, all I want to do is keep moving. I hate standing still. A part of me wishes that I could run and never stop running. As if I could escape.... but what I seek to escape is inside. Deep inside. And it chases me.

As he drives he explains,
this woman I have befriended since I have been in Detroit.... she an odd old lady. I'll tell you some other time how we met, but-- she has this farm. It's right around here. She just grows vegetables and she has chickens which she only uses for eggs. Anyway, she's visiting her sister in the U.P. She asked me to watch her place. She has cats. So we're going over there right now so I can fill up their bowls with water and food. But there is another reason....”

The odd thing about the Detroit metro area is how fast you end up on a dirt road. How you can go from the grit of graffiti straight into deer country in a matter of minutes. As we drive I listen to him talk and I watch the beauty of foliage that is so amazing about his part of the U.S. Autumn in full bloom. So to speak.

This reminds me,
what do you mean Autumn?” I ask.

He looks blankly at me from the windshield, I see he is also caught in the colors. I watch how the light and shading outside leaves impressions on his wavy hair. I never noticed how shiny his hair is and how the light hits the waves. His hair is a warm brown, thick and alive, like his skin. He has that healthy look of someone who spends a lot of time outside.

When I asked where we're going you said 'Autumn'” I remind him.

He smiles widely as he makes a turn,
we're here...”

Off a main street, hidden behind some trees is a tiny house that sits on a nice plot of land. There are trees everywhere. The gravel we walk on makes me stumble, so I slow my pace behind him and watch him walk up to the house. I watch him walk. He walks like a hiker. And suddenly I remember that part of me. How much I miss my hikes through wood and country.

I watch him feed the cats and change their water and then he holds the kitchen, back door open for me and gestures.

Once outside he says,
when I saw the weather report I knew we had to do this. This may be the last chance we have before the cold starts to come in with the leaves this perfect. It's warm enough and no one is around here. It's completely deserted.”

The ground is carpeted with fallen leaves. We crunch as we walk. The sound of cars have dissappered. You can hear the chickens only. But even they are faint.

Are you cold?” he asks now.

I am familiar with this question. I sense his meaning. I realize he has been holding a digital Nikon camera all this time. He is looking at the shaded tree with long limbs and the very thick trunk. The amazing textures of the trunk.

I take a deep breath and say what I realize he means,
out here?”

He smiles,
do you mind? It's private property. And it's for me, I'm not going to use this for the contract. It's for my gallery pieces. I realized that I have to capture your colors. And the lighting is great today. This is probably the last day to do this.”

I don't know why it should make a difference. Out of context, out of doors.... I can't help it. I hesitate.

Or we don't have to....” he says. “We can just sit here and enjoy the day. I brought a bottle of wine in the truck.”

I think the reason I don't want to is because I know that I can like him.

And I don't want to.

But we are here now. I feel bad. If I say no, I will have disappointed him. But I don't want to. And now I feel a brick weight in my stomach. Is it guilt? Or fear?

I throw myself down on the ground to sit. I do this because my knees are shaking. And it is so nice here. It makes me think of it being a good place to write in my journal.

I'll be right back.”

I hear him walk away.

So why do I think of Bran now?

I feel my eyes fill with tears. Why does it still hurt? I thought we got past the pain. Didn't we? We covered it up. We cut it out. He means nothing to me. I think I even hate him now. I hate him for making me love him. I hate him and his memory. I hate myself for still longing for him. For longing for his voice, his thoughts. I hate how much my sex still craves him deep inside me. How much I still long for his penis. How the very thought of orgasming again would kill me. Because it is his sex that I want inside me.

I know that I will hear Zack return, so I let the tears come. I cry as I sit there longing for Bran. My inner vortex, the worm hole that he awoke from a long deathlike sleep. I long to be Ophelia now.

So when I hear the sound of gravel approach I guard up. Smear away the tears and put on my facial shield. I hear him sit down next to me but I don't look. Can't trust myself. I hide behind my hair. The sound of a cork being pulled and then popped, then the pouring of its contents. He hands me a ceramic mug. It looks handmade. It is celestial blue with silver stars. His is green and gold. We drink silently.

Are you OK?” he asks me.

I don't look at him. I just reach my empty cup for him to fill.

And he fills it.

I drink most of it.

He says,
do you want to tell me about him?”

I say,

I'm a good listener,” he says.

I shake my head.

He says,
I'm sure that where ever he is right now he can't escape memories of you because you are all colors of Autumn. You have the warmest brown eyes I've ever seen and your hair reminds me of a red maple. That's why I wanted to do a study out here.”

I think it is this that makes me change my mind. Or the second cup of wine. I finish all of it. I feel the heat from it. I get up and undress.

I am drunk under a warm, autumn sky with the bright sun over my head. I am numb. So numb. It may be the alcohol. But no, I think it is my heart. I don't care. I don't care about anything. And I like it that way. I don't ever want to care about anything ever again.

He puts dried leaves all over my body. He places them between my legs, at my sex. He stretches out my arms and turns me like I am a doll. His hand runs down my arm and leg and he says,
I love how pale your skin is. The contrast of such bold color against that whiteness....”

But I don't care. I am down that wormhole. Devoured.

Electra's Dictionary; The Artist's Studio

The Artist's Studio

I read “Villette” and find strange connection in Charlotte Bronte's words:

....surely there cannot be error in making written language the medium of better utterance than faltering lips can achieve?”
Reason only answered, “At your peril you cherish that idea, or suffer its influence to animate any writing of yours!”
But if I feel, may I never express?”
Never!” declared Reason.
..the Reason, would not let me look up, or smile, or hope: she could not rest unless I were altogether crushed, cowed, broken-in, and broken-down. According to her, I was born only to work for a piece of bread, to await the pains of death, and steadily through all life to despond. Reason might be right; yet no wonder we are glad at times to defy her, to rush from under her rod and give truant hour to Imagination—her soft, bright foe, our sweet Help, our divine Hope. We shall and must break bounds at intervals, despite the terrible revenge that awaits our return. Reason is vindictive as a devil; for me, she was always envenomed as a stepmother....”

This particular passage comes to me on a night when my mind feels as if it is lost in a shipwreck and still battling a storm within. But it comes to me.... like a soft whisper from some kindred soul sister through time. As if she hears me call, the wail of the spirit. I picked the book up because I had left it unfinished, distracted by life for a long while and this was the next page I turn to after months of abandon. Abandon.

Only, you know, here I might add this like some kind of echo to Keats' La Belle Dame Sans Merci:

O damsels, beware of knights in shining armor

Sand castles wash away
when the tide rushes in....

Only how strange life really is. Neatly, my life has taken on some familiar shape; a semblance of order for the first time in so long. I am finally free of all emotional ties. And there is liberation in this.

But, you see, there is also the cost.

I have made peace with Dean. We move on. He is still in recovery. We part friends. I wish him no ill and feel a kindness for him. And yes, even caring. Even love. You see, the Demeter in me is strong. I am akin to Mother Earth, it has always been this way with me to need to love and give and nurture, tend the cabbage garden, prone the roses and mother. It is how I love. I think it is because of something I never had, so I feel a natural urge to produce this to fulfill a need.

It also keeps the rest away. It keeps the shields in place. There is no real danger in that kind of giving, you see. It is safe. The feeling of providing for others, this need fills some void.

I don't think of Bran anymore. I think I have achieved exorcism of him from my soul. But there is a cost, as I have said.

It feels that I have turned cold inside. I can locate my emotions but they seem to be from another me. A discarded me. I think that I have lost my ability to feel passion. It only now exists in my mind.

I move into the new place in a few weeks. So I pack up my life. I pack up Dean's life too. I have to stop often because of physical pain. The inflammation returns with stress. But it is actually more manageable now. Isn't it odd, how being void of passion and that kind of emotion that is attached to it allows me the freedom to escape the torment of this torture that willfully visits my body? It is because I have remembered how to go back to inner peace. I had allowed myself to be pulled into and then apart by forces out of my control. I don't think I will ever do that again. I realize now.... all I really want now is solitude. I want to be alone. I don't want to ever let anyone in. Never, ever again. I see now that I am happier this way.

I go to Zackery's studio. I see the way he looks at me. And this is what I mean by the cost. I think that other me would have fallen under this influence. But the one it has been replaced by seems to only watch from outside. I think this is part of the reason why I stopped being shy of my body. After recent medical check ups, my body too feels removed from me, like my passion. So after the first time when I let him take off my clothes and I lay there on his ad hock still life as a prop, tipsy on sherry.... it got easier the next time.

I let myself go somewhere else. It is a test. Just like those machines they put you in at MRI's. You hear the banging, the maddening, intolerable invasion as it permeates your brain. You have to hold on or scream. But you can't scream. You want to kick and get out of there, but you can't because then you will just have to do it all over again. So you think of Zen masters, you think of victims of torture who escape through their mind. So you go. It is not easy because you still hear the banging and you still feel your heart pounding and the fears and the walls closing in, but you fight the fear with each held breath that proves …. I am strong. I am strong.

It is weird to lay naked, exposed to this stranger. In the past I have been asked to be an artist's model and I have always turned this down. I would almost compare it to some kind of hallucinogenic because it feels like an altered state. I broke my last taboo. My last level of shame. And it freed a part of me. I don't even care what this artist sees. All my personal insecurities of my body lay exposed to his eyes while I lay there. He turns me this way.... I avoid his eyes. I keep it impersonal.

I calculate that I will be able to afford the path I am now heading to. You know, they do say that things come to you if you ask the universe for it. I never believed it. Maybe it was because in the past I would never have done anything like this. Lately, it seems I am doing things I never would have done.... I think of Lou Reed singing, Take a walk on the wild side.... maybe because it was playing the last time in the artist's studio.

And it is strange too how there is safety even there too. A safe intimacy between us. He keeps his space. He does not invade. He works usually silently. Sometimes he asks me things. Casual. He says,

are you cold?”

I say,

He says,
when you close your eyes, what do you think of as you lay there?”

I say,
I go somewhere else.”

He says,
it looks like a nice place.”

I think his accent is Chicago. Or California. He's lived in both places. The few conversations I have had with him so far has revealed to me that he lived for awhile in France. He is only living in Detroit temporarily. He is under contract. He is being commissioned to produce work for the next year or so for an architecture firm. They are using his paintings for the walls of billion dollar homes. After this he will move on. He doesn't say where he's going.

He lives above the studio. When you walk up to the building you can see the windows from outside. It looks like some kind of loft. He drives a pickup truck that always has stretcher bars and rolls of canvas laying across the bed along with buckets of gesso. It takes me back to the days when I worked at an art warehouse, hauling those things from skids or laying them across skids, shrink wrapping them. Getting splinters on my hands from the unfinished wood and bruises on my shins when I fell off the stacking units. Just like the smell of oils and linseed. I think that is why I feel safe when I am there. It feels like home. This is also when my mother was most happy, when the house had peace.

So I lay there and I go somewhere else. And the smell of patchouli blends with linseed oil and the sound of Zackery's voice as he instructs me to move. The touch of his hand on mine as he opens my fingers to lay them as he will. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

the rise of the Phoenix and the revival of the goddess

Re-engaging back into real life

….. finds me moving robotic, on automatic pilot. I waited first three days in Amsterdam. There was no message from Bran. I began to pack. To plan. It was like a life long habit of combat training. I know this drill well. I move in motion. Select each item from each room, and then, put away. I know this from years of training which began so long ago. Should I be grateful that I know how to be so thus detached? This is a question I am only willing to ask rhetorically because I don't care for the answer.

I am a realistic person. I have only been under some illusion. It is time to re-engage into the hard core outlines of what is plainly reality. So I pack. I make travel arrangements. And it is so easy how the mind takes over when the emotions have been finally set aside.

I knew this could not go on forever. Had always secretly known. I knew it was a dream. And all too good to be true. Anything that feels too good to be true.... essentially is. For awhile we do delude ourselves. The fantasy can be so intoxicating. So convincing. It seems to feed off of a charge within some deep personal infantile need. Which always turns out to be not only dangerous, but your enemy.

It is strange about time. How it seems to go so fast or slow according to anticipation or dread. Im not sure which I was feeling on that flight back over the Atlantic. In some ways I think I was never there. My mind had become some void. I existed only existentially in a state of out of body contemplation of meaning. Each time an emotion arose, I erased it. I focused on the clouds outside. I threw myself into some desperate place of heavenly escape.

That flight is a blur. I was awake over twenty-four hours. It put me into a state of more emotional detachment. I found where to go, I went, I found a taxi and I sat in the back seat watching the cold of an overcast sky welcome me home to Detroit.

From messages of Jamie, I knew Dean would not be there. I knew he was in rehab. He had signed himself in to detox from God knows what. So when I entered the building of our apartment, I did expect it to be in shambles but otherwise empty.

I saw a note posted to the apartment door of eviction. I took it down and without any compassion shut the door behind me. There was no power. I gathered our electric bill was never paid. So I found my way to where I always kept the tapered candles and matches. Lit one. I read the eviction notice. By some miracle, I did discover my phone had some power left and dialed the landlord. I knew there was enough money in my account to pay for the balance owed. He took my payment. Then I tried the electric company. They asked me to come in person. It was just after noon now and I was going on no sleep, but I got in my car and drove there. I paid the balance of the electric bill then drove home.

The smell of rotted food in the refrigerator forced me into action. I emptied all contents within and took the garbage out.

That was day one of my return.

The next week found me rebuilding some order to life. I threw myself into making up time with Jamie. I spent hours of time ignoring my thoughts and welcoming her stories of what I had missed during the time I had been in Amsterdam. When she asked me about Bran, I was evasive. I say,
“I need to think. I want to get my priorities in order....”

Of course, Jamie's father is glad I am back and willing to take her off his hands. So one week and then two are absorbed in life revolving around Jamie. Only this is a balm to my senses. I feel I have been too long away and she defines the core of some essential part of me. My Demeter. Demeter who is the more evolved of the goddess in me. More evolved than Electra. Electra who has to be cast off, perhaps. Like Agamemnon, she must be buried. It is time to be the metaphoric crone. I am come too far to be naive, it is time to acknowledge the wisdom I have earned.

Week three....

I discover a listing requesting a model of my description. My age and height, my general weight. I discover this on an art site that I visit on a whim. Why do I visit it? I don't know. I do not know. It is at some art center but I do not answer the ad. It just stays in my head. I just think about it and scoff it off. And now suddenly there is too much time alone. Jamie's father has requested her back at his domain, so now I am faced with the ghosts of my exiled married life. It drives me crazy. These walls.... I must leave. They seem to cave in on me.

I look on Craig's list for another apartment to rent. I find three that seem good. I arrange to visit them all. So I spend a day going from one to the next, allowing the hours to eat up my time because I have nothing else anyway. There has been not a single message from Bran. Even as I try to avoid checking. I check. I check to see if other messages are there really and I dread checking because each time I have to go to my emails I get a stomach ache that makes me get up to vomit. So by now I have become so thin. Whatever I eat I don't keep down.

I would not say that I am sad. I am not. I am not even depressed. I simply am. I feel nothing at all. There is no resentment. There is no more pain even left. I am empty.

As I drive on Woodward Avenue from my last apartment search I discover the building from the advertisement I saw for a model. I stop, pull in. it is an impulse. I decide to look around at the artist's studio.

The place is empty when I go inside. I see paintings everywhere. Some leaning on walls, some hung. I walk through the gallery which smells of linseed oil. There is a grimy sort of soot under my boots as I walk around. My boots make scraping noises. I think this is what alerts the artist to knowing someone is there.

When he comes out I see a tall man. He has longish, brown wavy hair. It reaches his shoulders. His clothes are casual, covered in paint. He wears jeans with a baggy flannel shirt. He is lanky with broad sholders and has scruff, not quite a beard on his face. There is something appealing about his face. He has that thoughtful, artistic look in his eyes. I cannot tell their color, the shadows are too heavy, but I see the angles of his face, the grooves below his cheekbones, and I notice his long artistic fingers that are covered in paint.

“Are you here about the model position?” he asks me.

I watch as his eyes run quickly over me. Internally, I do mental inventory on my attire. Nothing fancy, I only wear faded blue jeans and worn out boots, an old black sweater under a very beat looking coat.

“I'm not sure why I'm here--” I cover my awkwardness with a stiff laugh.

“You are the first person I have seen who is what I am looking for. Did you see my ad?”

“Yes. But that wasn't really why I came,” I tell him.

He has one of those accents that is not really an accent. All accents. I sense he has traveled a lot. I see him wipe his hands on his paint splattered jeans and with a wave of welcome, invites me to come into his studio that is behind the doorway, past the front counter.

I don't know why, but I go. I follow him.

I am seduced by the heavy scent of oil paint. It makes me light headed, but I find this is the nutrition that I crave, so I trust it. He guides me silently past his recent works. I like his colors. I like his textures. He says,
“my name is Zackery Thompson.....” he holds out his hand to shake.

“Beth,” I say.

He stares into my eyes. So now I see that they are that strange color between blues and greens, neither or both, heavily lashed with dark brown long eye lashes that lend even more shade to his eyes. He smiles slightly at me with a kind and awkwardly gentlemanly gesture to take my coat. Because he stares into my eyes, I let him. He hangs it from a hook on the wall. He walks around me. Surveys me. I watch him walk over to a small platform where there is a still life of a bowl of fruit set on a pedestal that I see he is replicating onto the canvas perched on the easel. There is a chaise lounge beside the pedistal draped in a deep burgundy velvet. He studies me.

“I pay a hundred dollars an hour.”

I laugh. I think he is kidding. I'm not sure what to respond. And I feel my face burn, so I know that I am blushing shamefully. I take a step back. I feel his eyes still on me. He is studying me.

“For you I would pay two hundred,” he suddenly says.

This is when I begin to realize he is serious. I watch him go to his wallet and remove a wad of bills. He hands them to me,

Only I just look at the money outstretched in his hand. I feel stunned. Shocked. I wonder if I should be insulted. But I think I am past that emotion right now. I think about the apartment I have just seen and consider the need to move on with my life. I feel so numb. I feel lost and empty. Two hundred dollars closer to beginning again. But to what end?

Only, who cares? Do I care? One has to start somewhere.

He walks over to me and steps within my space. He touches my hair. It is a caress. He smells like pathcouli. Then with familiarity, he opens my purse that hands from across my shoulders. He places the money inside and then removes my bag from me. I watch him hang it up on the hook next to my coat.

He says,
“take off off your clothes and come lay over here....” and points to the chaise lounge prompted on the platform. Only I stand there immobilized.

I watch him drag a space heater close and turn it on. He comes over and begins to undress me. He pulls the sweater over my head, then my removes my boots and jeans. His hands are decisive and gentle. They are warm when he leads me to the chaise lounge. He positions me as if I am a doll and studies my face. He angles it towards the light.

“There,” he says, “just like that.... what kind of music do you like?”

My mind is blank. All I can think to say is,

He turns on some music and returns with a glass of wine,
“drink this, it will help you to be less self conscious.”

Only it is not wine. It is sherry. And much stronger than I had expected. And I do forget to be self conscious. Instead I listen to the music and find I am not there at all.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Agamemnon

I think one reaches a point where one does not know how they feel anymore. It is when all emotion has been engorged and vomited out and there comes a time of exhausted numbness. This is what has happened with me. Although I do feel.... and feel so much. Only I do not know what the point is of these feelings any longer. If they matter. Or most importantly, if these feelings are even returned as intensely. Because then, why am I bothering to feel this? Because, how can it be real if it is not returned?

In which case, I must exorcise it out of my soul. I must not continue to delude myself. Because it may be that I have been under some kind of altered state of emotion. You see, if there is no equivalent return of this force of energy, then I am deluding myself. And I think I have experienced enough life by now to realize that playing the fool is really a waste of time.

The problem is, what do I do with the emotions, left residual and unexplained? It is obvious, I know. I must examine them. Because any good student of psychology would know that if it is experienced it was because it came from somewhere deep and personal. Which means, I must resolve this within.

False heroes are the true enemy. That shining armor is easy to dazzle your reason. And by now I am rather too cynical to be lost in some fairy circle.

If Bran has chosen to go on without me, than I must go on. I must and I shall. I will. I will never surrender to defeat, no matter how much my heart might ache. The pain only makes me stronger. At least this is what I tell myself. Like a mantra. Because I must. If he has chosen to live his life without the faith of what he lead me to believe in.... then I must let him go. I must survive this. I know I can. I have already lived through so much loss. And even losses far worse than losing the poignant intensity of this kind of passion that I have known with him. This passion that has equaled to none other I have ever known in my life.... yes. But to measure that against life and death, mother and child.... well....

So what is my deep and personal issue within that I must resolve as it connects to Bran? Of course, we know it is obvious. Electra. He is my Agamemnon. I still long for father. I still ache for something that I never had. So what do I do? It is too late for me.... my time to be a daughter is long past. So I must learn to let this need go. Because I am not the first person to have to live a life bereft of father. Bereft of parental nurture. It is just a casualty of life. And life is cruel and unjust, we know. Life never promises to be fair. It just is. And we must take it. Or leave it. And leave it we all will one day, by our own hand or by its natural course or someone else's hand.

You see, my attraction to him was tied up with this vacancy inside my soul. And I think I have often abandoned my own reasoning and independence because of this infantile craving that makes me revert to childish and repressed needs. Or suppressed. Because I don't need him, or anyone. I don't. Nobody really does. We are born alone and we die alone. Our lives are our own experiences. Commitments are only romantic notions and exist only in our temporal state. Our true commitment is to ourselves.

I think he has chosen to let me go. He says it was to see to his kids, his life, his wife. She called him, something about an illness she hadn't told him about. I know it is serious. So I understand his need on principle. How can I fault him? I don't. There were medical tests she has had to undergo. He flew back to be with her through it all. MRI's and some procedure more serious.

Like an open hand that lets go of a valuable locket and lets it fall into the water. It falls from my hand metaphorically, as if from some bridge in Amsterdam, it drops into a canal. The chain and the heart that it is connected to, falls to be submerged, drowned. I will go on.... I cannot write anymore tonight. Maybe tomorrow.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Electra's Dictionary, Chapter 31 hunan-niwedio

                                             more representation in the portrayal of themes

When I first began writing as Electra, it was for the purpose to define identity because I see it as a source; the seed of where it all began.

But often, I feel like Don Quixote, delusional. Today I don't want to dwell on whether or not this one or that one was my father. It is almost irrelevant to the argument in some ways. This struggle over meaning. This struggle. This conflict. I know that none of this would have mattered to me at all had I not been desperate enough to call a suicide hotline when I was twenty-one. And the years that dragged me to that point. The rejection of father. From my father. I tried to replace something with something else. Like Freud’s thesis. Today's modern books on the young feminine psyche outline a fragile ego, as portrayed by Pipher's Ophelia complex. A neatly sketched picture. The early formation of ego. In many ways I am a stereotype. There is nothing that unique here in my head. But that was never what I needed to prove. Maybe in some ways in order to stand out as individual, yes. But not to really rally, as some present day Joan of Arc. All I ever wanted was to just fit in.

My own theory is: if it is this important to me and I am not all that unique, than I would not be alone in these themes I obsess over and dissect. Maybe this is really not all just for me. I am definitely driven. Driven crazy. Over this. It has a hold on me that won't let me go and I have no choice but to follow this through to the end. So follow me. I dare you. Because you might just see you in me. And even if you don't, you might see something else that answers something in you and your need to follow it.

Without an avatar, where do you hang a self-image? I mean this in a way, like a title of Self. Like when I first watched my daughter begin to wonder who she is in her place in the world and I watched her need to define herself through her earliest choices. Her favorite color. Her favorite imaginary characters. And then, later, when she asked me over and over if she was good enough to be an artist, or good enough to write, or good enough to be ….anything. And it was like pushing the graphite across the paper and the graphite took control, the way it should. As artists, we simply dust off what is already there. Like an archaeologist, as I have said. It forms itself and our hands are the vehicle. But my daughter is her own graphite and I chose to never force the hand. I wanted to watch what would happen on her own. And without the limitations I had. The manipulating chains of limitations.

I saw it happen and it was invaluable to me to watch her learn this. It heeled something that no therapy ever could have. I got to watch it happen slowly through time as she discovered self.

Electra really only became my avatar in full dimension when I caught on to this. Watching self born in her. Being cast off from a mold forces you to invent yourself. And it isn't always the choice to do this. At first, the early inventions were reactionary. Basic survival. And things like taking sharp objects to do self harm were one of those reactions. And a form of basic survival, as ironic as this may sound. In the silence and in silence scream. Hidden with no voice in rooms in my mind.

And no, I don't condone self harm. And this is why I didn't want to force the hand. I had to let go of her, step back and watch her, like those first steps alone. As mothers we must let go and always, every day, more and more. We are forced to act the opposite of what we emotionally fear. But then, letting go of her was not really my choice. It was chosen by my ex-husband. Hanging a concept of self on your child has devastating consequences. But I wasn't ready to let go of her. Especially, because I knew I was on the brink of discovering something that has something to do with the meaning of self.

As I paint my mural of Demeter, as she mourns over the pomegranate, symbolizing Persephone.... I am releasing this. It marks a hallway in my cerebral passages. And once I put this down, I can go on to the next level, like the levels of purgatory.

But the Self is still chaos. It is elusive to me.

If I give up now.... only I think it is really driving me mad. Which is why I write this self-involved journey. If I am honest, maybe something really worthy can come of all of this. Even if it emerges out of me like a tiny whisper and the chance of being heard is actually impossible.... because I hide. Because I have no voice. And this is why Bran is so necessary, because he gives ….Electra voice.

I can do it through him....
because, before there was silence
.and then there was Orpheus.

I know that what I confess here --may be It is not as if I close the pages of my diary and tuck it in a drawer. I know he sometimes reads my blog. But there is the need to pour it out and I seem to be more honest on here than when I just do it on a piece of paper. I say here what I don't say out loud. Like the voiceless things I say to him in the dark. I guess there is the part of me that wants him to know but also hopes he won't.

I don't want to need him. I am not someone who clings. But I see there is something I need to learn.... in him.

And I think now about talking to my marriage counselor about this. But I don't want to admit to this. She is not my confessor. And I wonder if I am just trying to give merit to something sinful in order to deliver myself. But I need him, I know I do. Because before I was ….losing all definition. And losing the belief in caring.

Is it delusional to need to keep the faith of some tired old cause because it gives you an anchor that keeps you from flying out of orbit? He gives me voice. He is Electra's voice. I can express these things I never could have before. On his stage Electra comes to life. And even if he went away forever, I would be OK. Electra would still exist.

Because I know he will never be able to get her out of him now either.

But I don't need anybody. And if he leaves my life forever, then maybe he was only ever a vehicle too. The hands that shaped what was already there by dusting off the chaos.

I don't know what I am going to do. Maybe nothing. And maybe I am full of shit. No, I most definitely am.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Electra's Dictionary, Chapter 30

On the plane going home I have that Sinéad O'Connor song stuck in my head, those lines: this is the last day of our acquaintance/we will meet later in somebody's office.... I am sad on the plane going home.

Thinking about what faces me when I land in Detroit. The void that seems as if it will engulf me. I feel it grow inside with each mile. I try not to think about him.

Then stare into the darkness from the airplane window that looks into the emptiness of space. I don't care what I'm looking at. I know it's taking me away from where I wish I still was.

I got lucky, I had an aisle seat but nobody came to sit next to me. But is it really luck to get an unexpected window seat when it feels the destination I am being carried to is breaking my heart and maybe the distraction of a passenger beside me might have let me fool myself for awhile.

I am not good at 'good-byes'. I have never been. I would assume just say nothing, just walk away.

I say to him the night before,
let me take a taxi. Let's say 'good-bye' here.” Because it would be easier to leave alone and the place we had lived together for a week.... as if it were only just for a few hours. I would rather pretend not to care. I do not want to deal with pain. I don't like pain.

But he says,
no, Beth, I'm taking you to the airport.”


But he just looks at me as if I make no sense, as if my question is ridiculous, he says,
I'm going to bring you to the gate.”

But that is what I didn't want.

I feel irrational. It feels unfair.

But I know I can't leave Dean, even if Bran considered leaving his family. It has something to do with a promise and a commitment and years of history. It has something to do with knowing that –- I don't do good-byes well. And I guess-- love. But it is a different love. It is not the kind that inspires poetry and not the kind that fills your soul. And, although, I pretend to be hard, I'm not. I'm not able to be cruel. I can't be ungrateful. And I know that Dean needs me. Even though he would never say it. He is unable to express or show.... those things I deeply crave. And thinking these thoughts-- I feel so guilty. It is useless to long for the moon.

But then I wonder when I will see Bran again. And the fear. There is always that.

I didn't want to love him. Didn't plan to fall in love. I didn't think I could. Anymore. I long accepted that ….old romantics turn into cynics.

I take a taxi from the airport, knowing Dean is still at work. And when I step in the door I want to burst into tears. The place resembles a fraternity house.... and almost trip over a beer bottle that rolls across the floor when I walk in. I have no choice but to start cleaning before I even put down my backpack because of the smell. I follow the trail of disaster to the bedroom. And in the process of cleaning, I find my phone to charge it, it is completely dead. And then later, I step into the shower and stand there under the pouring water trying to void my mind. I stand there a long time. It is like I am washing off a week of illusions and returning back to real life. Returning from some kind of fugue.

After the shower, I face the mountain of dishes piled in the sink and piled everywhere else. I am exhausted from traveling and my heavy thoughts, but I need the therapy of cleaning. It is the guilt that is also returning.

I go to bed early, too exhausted to think or move and fall instantly asleep. It is some time in the night that I wake up to noises. They scare me. I am disoriented. It takes awhile to figure out where I am. I had been dreaming. I hear retching. I get up and find Dean on the floor of the bathroom vomiting. I see he is drunk.

Are you OK?” because what do you ask in moments like this?

He doesn't look up. His face looks mottled blue and red. He grunts,
huh...?” I see he has missed the toilet in places. There is vomit everywhere.



Dean, I'm home,” I say stating the obvious but wanting to get a reaction.

I thought you were coming home tomorrow,” he mumbles mostly incoherently.

No, today.”

He puts his head on the seat of the toilet. He looks pathetic. He starts to snore there. I find something to clean him off with then drag him to bed. He lands face first into the mattress.

I go sleep in the other room.

But it is hours later of being awake ….because now I can't fall back to sleep. I get up remembering my phone and unplug it from the wall. There is a message from Bran that says: call me when you get this, I miss you.
But while I've been away there are problems with Jamie. The next week back in the real world are filled with the debris of my daughter's problems. I feel guilty for having been away. It was only one week but it seems so much can go wrong in just a few days.

And then, much worse, my symptoms return. The worst kind. The worst pain. The kind that makes me want to die. I think I am being punished.