The first time our lips groped each other in gentle awkwardness a tidal wave overcame my body drowning my brain in the dizzying waves. You touched my face in that loving way we had whispered to each other about as kids. Except you weren’t the tuxedo mask or Kurt Cobain of our fantasies. You had soft hands that smelt like vanilla body spray and truth or dare perspiration. You pulled away while I was still struggling to catch my breath and laughed in my face. You said that its no big deal to kiss after all it was just a game. Even though I had tried to say to you many nights in the dark that I could fall in love with any gender, but what I didn’t say was that I was falling in love with you. I think of all those times we would practice our make up and try to find the right angle to make our barely there breasts seem most appealing in the mirror before lying together on the bed legs entwined talking about our futures. You said that we had to practice doing it for the boys, to attract a husband that we would wow with our nubile yoga bodies, and cook fancy meals for on special occasions. But I knew no boy would appreciate you like I do. He would be intimidated by your Amazonian figure, and fierce intellect. He wouldn’t know the hours you devoted to becoming your best self. He wouldn’t know the way your dad sometimes scared you, but you still loved him. He wouldn’t know that you think carnations are tacky as gifts. But I knew. I had watched you growing up all these years, blooming into not a woman but a force of nature. And I was the one reminding you that you were beautiful, and that shared your anxieties about sex and love and romance. I couldn’t say to you though that I was falling in love with you. You were my best friend, and if our parents found out no more sleep overs, no more friendship, no more innocence. Besides we agreed that we weren’t ready to have sex yet anyways. You wanted to wait for marriage, and I wanted to wait for more body hair. But then you kissed me on a dare at your birthday party while your parents were out in front of all of our friends and shipwrecked my timid heart. In that moment as my lips parted to your infinite wetness letting it wash away all my fear of being seen when I too felt like I might be a goddess of the sea, you laughed at me. You told me that it meant nothing. You could kiss me anytime that you wanted, and it wouldn’t mean anything to you because you are not gay. I am just your friend. And sometimes friends kiss because boys like it when they do, and you, my friend, really want a boyfriend for your birthday, and I am never going to be that boyfriend because I can’t hide how soft my lips are, or how smooth my cheek is, or how tiny my hands are. My tiny hands that could never encircle your waist in the strong titanic embrace that you dream of. I wouldn’t even know how to love you if I could. We hadn’t been practicing for this moment. The moment I would dissolve into your lips. I buried those feelings like a treasure closely guarded. Kept under lock & key, but always just below the surface. I had seen the ocean in your grey eyes, and I tried to swim back there everyday, but you were always looking somewhere else.
It takes me so much longer to put together these lists these days. I’m not in a receptive mood, but I’m not in a creative mood either. I’m oscillating between contemplative practices and social sensory stimulation. Trying to find a way just to exist in the world without coming or going too much. In the course of that here are a few things that have come up for me.
- Listen to Mulatu Astatke – New York Addis London (full album) via Broken Trancy Things
- What Do Your Sexual Fantasies Say About You? via Slutever
- Helmholtz Resonator via the book I’m currently reading Dramturgy of Sound in the Avant-Garde and Postdramatic Theatre
- Bob Dylan on Sacrifice, The Unconscious Mind, and How to Create the Perfect Work Environment via Brain Pickings
- Inspired by the art work of WITCHORIA revisted on The Hoodwitch
- 3 Reasons Why Folks Who Don’t “Look” Non-Binary Can Still Be Non-Binary – Everyday Feminism
- Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man via Brain Pickings – although her writing pre-dates the latest wave of non-binary conversation it very neatly captures many of the ideas around the subject I’ve struggled with. That liminal place between gender roles that artists and thinkers frequently occupy.
- Noam Chomsky has a new documentary on Netflix called Requiem for the American Dream
- The Evolutionary Purpose of the Scorpio in Pluto Generation via Wake Up World
- Redefining Death by Geshe Michael Roach via Dr. Joos
Winter can’t decide if it’s thawing or freezing, but I’m ready to hibernate for another three months. 2017 started with a bang with Alt Alt DIY Fest which was such a huge success on so many levels that I could not have anticipated. However it left me feeling quite emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually drained for most of January and the better part of February. I’ve been in denial about how much that event took out of me because it was so truly obviously worth it, but living in denial is not the start to being able to adequately replenish myself.
Now that it is nearly March, and new projects are on the horizon, I am taking time to reflect on what it is I need to move forward. Burn out is a luxury I am afforded as a single person with good support networks and steady employment with health benefits. I can work myself to the bone for my community then collapse inwardly because no one is counting on me for their 24/7 sustenance, and because I know there are people around me who will catch me if I fall too deeply into depression or self loathing. It is truly a privileged position that I feel blessed to occupy, but this is not how I want to create in my career. Periods of intense creation, and intense seclusion will always be necessary to my practice, but neither state should be so extreme that it put such unnecessary strain on my day to day ability to live my life.
A huge part of the burn out taking two months is that I need to work 35 hours a week in addition to the 20-30 hours of creative & community work required by projects of this scale in order to support myself. It is hard for me currently to imagine a point when that level of work would not be required in order to stay a float, however I recognize that is a limitation in my belief structure rather than a hard fact. The question then becomes how to move beyond that bias in order to start to look at ways to become more self sufficient.
This is a powerful lesson to take from Alt Alt, the gift that keeps on giving, and now that I’ve identified what I want to avoid I need to set my imagination to work to find a new way. How can I create a practice that allows for projects of this scale without sacrificing my well-being?
It’s Pisces season, and spring is just around the corner which I feel is a good time to reflect on this question. I’m asking for creative vision to guide me in the next month as I look inwards to recenter. This is a time for tinkering, for dreaming, for meditating, for empathy, for love, for reflection. Planting seeds this month to harvest come June.
If you have experience or resources relating to managing burn out as a creative, or transitioning out of the work force let me know in the comments.
Here are a few things that have rolled across my consciousness lately. I’m spending more time in quiet reflection than reading or writing these days. I am practicing being fully present. Listening to what is around me. Learning from what is there. It’s an inwardly reflecting period, so I don’t have as much to share here. I’m working on the poety & other small miracles still. Enjoy
I am happy
I am searching
I am scared
I am scintillating
I am heart broken
I am heart strong
I am loving
I am loved
I am a witch
I am a leader
I am a artist
I am a storyteller
I am a mother
I am a daughter
I am a sister
I am a flirt
I am a lover
I am a fighter
I am a loser
I am a winner
I am a seashell
I am a shaft of wheat
I am a mountain
I am a wisp of silver fog
I am a baby goat
I am twins
I am many
I am me
I am just trying to get by
I am getting by as best I can
I am caring for those around me
I am learning all the time
I am feeling inadequate
I am looking for a better way
I am dreaming of a better way
I am listening
I am hoping
I am praying
I am breathing
I am here.