How to fix something broken

Random thoughts

A tribute

In the Studio (oil on canvas)

The Studio (1881), by Russian artist Marie Bashkirtseff

 

I remember your tanned skin, your white hair, your melancholic eyes and your appalling presence. I thought ‘He must have been handsome in his younger days’. That was actually stupid because you were still really handsome. I always thought you were unreal, like straight out from a novel or a movie. And the story behind you actually backed it up.

You spoke in your deep, slow voice with that accent from somewhere in the South and you strolled up and down the atelier with your overall calm demeanor, searching for some painting, some brush or some chemical product. You took me in when I knew that was your sanctuary and you rarely let anyone in it or in your thoughts. And most of the time we remained silent each one of us doing their thing. And words weren’t missed at all. 

That spot was our refuge from the nonsense going on in the rest of the place.

You gave me advice but you were never condescending. On the contrary, you treated me with affection, respected me, never got angry at me or lost your patience.

I still keep those pictures you painted and gave to me. Some of them are hanging on my room wall.

I knew you had your demons, some of them extremely hard to cope with for others and yourself of course. I remember hearing your screams from the other wing of the house when the migraine stroke and I have the image of you bending on the sink, your head under the tap, letting the water run and your face contorting in pain.

And however, I treasure my most precious memory: the day you went back home and I was invited for a while, and your wife showed us around that ancient palace full of relics from long lost times. And I remember when I got back into the van and it drove away, I turned back and I saw you standing at the threshold with a tender smile on your face and your left hand on your chest, tapping on the place where the heart is located. And I knew exactly what that meant. Something we never actually said to each other but which was completely understood.

That was the last time I ever saw you, and I still wonder whether you’re feeling well, how must you look like or whether you’re even still around. I just hope you’ve found your place in this fucked up world. 
You were one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met -though briefly- and you won’t be forgotten.

Dedicat a en Lluís T.

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In defense of wrath

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Koba, a bonobo ape who was subjected to animal experimentation, teaches a lesson to some humans in Dawn of the planet of the apes (2014). 

 

Being angry all the time is tiresome, and I’m definitely not the type that can keep being angry forever. Let’s rephrase that: I’m not the type who can show their anger 24/7. But I’m afraid if I let go of the anger I feel I might forget why and with whom I was ever angry in the first  place. And that might lead me to keep putting up with shit I don’t want to put up with any more. And anger can definitely be a useful and legitimate weapon of choice.

It also takes courage to stick to your anger and I’m not sure I’m brave enough, which makes me frustrated at times.
Also, why should those emotional and psychological experiences which are a result of my disorder be less valuable than the ones of ‘shiny happy people’?

I don’t know if I’m done being angry or even if I want to. Not yet. What is more: I may not be angry enough.

Heresy

bizarro

 

I did not celebrate anything in this year’s holidays. And I have no intention of celebrating anything anymore in the years coming. I didn’t even celebrate my own birthday, and a Middle East politician and religious leader who lived 2000 thousand years ago and whose existence is mythycized by Westerners, as well as his followers expect me to celebrate HIS birthday? Yeah… Here’s what: no. And on top of that be a part of a whole economic framework based on compulsory “generosity” (what’s so generous about giving when you’re made do it?) where you are forced to consume for the sake of those you love and in HIS name? Count me out. I’m not even a member of his selected club anyway. As the Buñuel paradox claims: I am, thank god, an atheist.

As for generosity, presents, congratulatory messages… There’s a good amount of anthropological theory on reciprocity you can check out if you feel curious. In the end all these behaviour patterns serve the purpose of strengthening bonds between those  who share a certain cultural background. As for me, I’m not particularly interested in strengthening any bonds with certain individuals just because we are part of the same culture (?) (sometimes it amazes me that we are even part of the same planet).

There are many ways and a whole lot of moments when you can prove your love for others. If some think that because I didn’t send any messages or any gifts I am less worthy of their friendship or attention, then they are certainly no more worthy of mine.
I choose my own idols, shrines and rituals. And at the main altar at the pantheon there’s just one certain someone I want to be: me.

At the bottom of the cellar

'The_Survivors_of_the_Chancellor'_by_Édouard_Riou_01

An engraving by Édouard Riou for an edition of the novel Le chancellor (1874) by Jules Verne.

 

There’s this slave shackled at the bottom of a ship cellar. Humidity and the mold on the wood planks is soaking her bones. The stale odour is filling her nostrils. Her muscles are numb and stiff from the restraint. And the cold metal of the rings on her neck, wrists and ankles sever her skin. The pain is making her twist in frustration. The smooth sound of waves outside which would normally be soothing becomes a deafening silence that causes anguish, despair and melancholy.

Suddenly the cabin starts to rock. The tide and the waves rise and water starts leaking through the planks. Her pulse and the rhythm of her breathing increase. She’s so scared she doesn’t even try to release herself. She would like to curl and wait for the storm to pass but she can’t do that either. She can’t scream. What if the boat sinks? Will anyone remember I’m down here? Will they care enough to rescue me?

When the storm eventually dies down she finds herself slowly getting back her normal breathing rhythm. The turmoil of her thoughts seems to cool down with the weather. She goes back to the awareness of the pain and the shivering cold, and she also finds herself thinking I’m alive after all. But now… Now what?

Scaffolding

Valdemar-Clarke

One of the many illustrations Harry Clarke did for the 1919 edition of Poe‘s Tales of Mystery and Imagination. This one’s for The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (1845).

 

This bunch of wires, springs and quilted wool hold my back and my atrophied muscles and bones.

I started neglecting this building site a while ago, but it still puts up with me and my nightly vigils, my tears, my orgasms, my muffled laughter and soliloquies, my crayons, my bars of chocolate, the oily bread and cookies where ants and mites have been feasting on for months now.

The stains and the stench don’t bother me anymore. I wonder how much longer will it be able to hold the weight of my downfall.

My musings, my dreams, my anxieties, my hopes, my strivings, now sleep in the metal and fabric carcass.

If only this shabby scaffold could talk back to me it might remind me of who I ever was.

Kiss your misery*

peterPan-kino

‘To die will be an awfully big adventure’, says Peter Pan in the homonymous 1904 play by J.M. Barrie. In the picture Betty Bronson as Peter Pan trying to steal the clock from the saltwater crocodile’s mouth in the first film adaptation from 1924.  

I’m absolutely positive that almost every single person in this world (or at least in this society) must have considered attempting suicide at least once in their lives. Or if nothing else the thought, the fantasy, has crossed their minds. Be it because you were about to be evicted, because you were fired from work and couldn’t pay your bills or feed your kids, because you ended up living in the streets, because you developed an addiction to some substance, because you couldn’t cope with the loss of someone dear or a broken heart… Or because you were merely depressed or stressed (and clinical stress has nothing to do with being too busy; you can actually be very stressed by doing virtually nothing, but us people with some anxiety disorder know damn well what it means to get stressed due to overthinking and negative anticipation).

I already talked about my suicide attempt in another entry and what a taboo it is, mainly due to Christian morals. That’s why to some people the mere thought of it leads to some self reprimand and judgment. But as I said we’ve all have gone through grim times overflowed with anger, disappointment, mistrust towards the human species and general nihilism. The only thing that changes is the way we approach those dark stages. Some seem to get their energy from who-knows-where (sometimes it’s a mere sense of commitment and responsibility to those beloved; others, as I said, just a quick dismissing of the thought) and carry on. Others… are not so lucky to be able to gather that strength and just end the pain permanently (even if it was meant as a temporary measure, since there’s no turning back). Actually it’s not even a stage, sometimes. It also has a lot to do with the times we’ve been forced to live (an economic crisis, for instance), besides our biological specificities. Most of the times things escape our control, although we’re told by self-help gurus and cheap new age philosophies that life is some sort of indecipherable mystery and a lonely road of self discovery that is only fit for the strong and the brave. Neoliberal bullshit. 

Also, overinformation/disinformation through media fuels the anguish, the existential void and the sense of guilt even more.

As I said, I do believe people just face it differently. The average individual just drinks, smokes and dances the pain away every weekend to be able to endure the cycle of work and lifetime commitments. But in my so far short life I’ve also witnessed two other types who are actually two sides of the same coin. In fact I might belong to one of those types. 

Basically, the premise is the same as in the average group: escapism. But there is a slight difference: death seems to rule the lives of these types in one way or another. They’ve either experienced it themselves (they’ve been close to death or they’ve witnessed someone else’s death with the subsequently huge impact this may have had in their own lives), or they’ve sense it somehow (usually, fear and anxiety have made them want to know more about it, as their surroundings tried to evade or conceal everything about it).

The first type just painfully realizes through some event or a chain of events that life can feel terribly unjust, lonely and sad. They’re driven by a force that draws them to death and they try to fight it constantly and express their sorrow and pain through some constructive means, usually through some form of art (when they can afford it, that is). And they bawl their eyes out by writing music, poetry, painting, acting and whatnot. They hope this will provide them with answers or at least with the strength to carry on those other average people out there seem to find so ‘easily’. Once in a while they might flirt with the idea (or even the act) of dying, and there will be a bunch of self-destructive phases every now and then, when the struggle becomes just too exhausting. In the end, for those who choose that path, creativity can be a terribly painful process, and depending on it just to keep hanging on, drags you and consumes you slowly. Whether they succeed in releasing themselves forever from the pain is just a matter of chance.

The other type is kind of fascinating to me. They’ve basically driven by that same Todestrieb (thanathos impulse) throughout their lives due to some traumatic experience or extreme sensitivity (or both); but instead of trying to fight the urge to kill themselves they just act constantly in a defiant manner towards death. To sum up they’re basically daredevils who live life in the fast lane, who look at all the misery and at death itself straight in the eye and give them their middle finger. Or a wink. Or a kiss. From the pragmatical perspective of the basic survival instinct they’re not bound to last long, and the extent of their life will usually be a matter of luck. It can’t be helped to get burned if you persistently play with fire, and you can outsmart what’s by no means a matter of wit, but a matter of physics, biology, kinetics or whatever (whether you drink, or smoke, or take drugs a lot, or you drive at 100mph on an interstate road, just to give a couple of examples). This type will eventually die, and apparently not because they were proactively looking for it, although we might never get to know their ulterior motives.

I definitely belong more to the first type, but I’ve met quite a few people who belong to the second type (I actually have a friend who can fit that description) and they fascinate me. Actually, I envy them and I’m not going to lie. Even if “common sense” tells me I shouldn’t. I’ve always found that brazenness, that impudence, that cockiness really cool. I don’t care if people see it as an immature behaviour or it’s a pantomime that masks actual despair instead of a calculated choice. What’s not a farce after all in this crazy world? I wish I had the courage to live without thinking too much, as these types do, instead of thinking too much about life and/or living. And sorry, but choosing the average lifestyle is not an option, as arrogant as it may sound.

Life’s not something you sign a long term contract with, just as you do with your mobile phone operator. Some people can’t even choose when to quit and the fact that you’re not even allowed to make that decision on your own due to cultural or religious constraints just pisses me off. I know absolute freedom does not exist at all, and that the fact that death ends up becoming the ultimate liberation in such a twisted world sounds kind of sad. But I’d rather fuck life (and death)’s brains out that let life fuck (with) mine.

*A verse from hide’s song Misery (1996)

A mild poetic attempt to approach an incessant disorder*

I can’t cope with losing things, people, time, chances, whatever. Even if that’s exactly what I end up doing all of the time. Oh the tragic irony.

I’ve been running away from loss, from the fact that you’re fated to missing things that will never come back for the rest of your life. And that it will leave an indelible scar in your heart, that your insides are going to be turned upside down and crushed by that feeling from time to time. That you’ll cry, and you’ll beg for what you’re missing to come back, even if at that time it wasn’t actually what you wanted.

I think now more than ever I understand why I chose the name I chose for this blog in the first place. I usually find myself looking back at things I did, felt, thought, wrote (and not from such a distant past) and I try to recognize myself in them. And I fail. Just as if I was periodically resetting myself, demolishing myself, erasing memories, experiences and trying to start from scratch. Recreating myself, rebuilding myself… reminding myself. Since no one has that amount of energy or time to invest in unattainable perfection such as the one I mistakenly claim to have, that’s why life turns out to be such an exhausting journey for me at times. And now is one of those times.

I’ve finally come to realize -though I feel it’s kind of late- that the obsessive idea of trying to mend what’s already broken or crooked that I seem to have been persistently pursuing so far, is ultimately an absurd chimera. 

Mood of the day: instead of a picture I choose a melancholic song by the Japanese visual-kei, progressive rock band Luna Sea from 1998.

*(Excuse the very dramatic, pretentious title)

 

Soul-snatchers & dead-walkers

kusuriuri

kusuriuri2

A scene from the cult animated series Mononoke (2007).

 

Do you know what it’s like to live on borrowed thoughts and emotions?

Catharsis

franken2

An image from Mai-chan’s Daily Life (2003), an ero guro genre manga by Waita Uziga.

Don’t draw mandalas. Don’t write poetry. Do not try to appease your anxieties and anger. Try to draw your worst nightmares and fears. Give them a name, a shape, a color. Embrace your darker side, depict your darker fantasies. Look at horror in the eye for a change. And scream. That is way more effective.

Hell is right beside you

It’s funny how for many years there’s been a trend in pop culture of praising the anti-hero. Some people love the characters in Bukowski‘s or Palahniuk‘s works, for instance. Or watching Requiem for a dream. Or romanticising rock stars’ old-school behaviour.

It makes me sick how most of the time we glorify personalities whom, in the real world, would in most cases be diagnosed with every single shit in the DSM, but we enjoy being the witnesses of their beautiful downfall while believing we can truly understand or sympathise with their apparent unique sensitivity just for the sake of art or to make their boring lives a little more thrilling.

Most people embrace the shock value culture but they would be too scared to know the real deal. They are fascinated by these anti-heroes, but they would quickly turn their back at the crazy bitch right by their side spitting nonsense while she’s drowning in her own particular hell. Well, hello there, double standards.

the_lost_weekend_Birnam

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. I can’t take quiet desperation!” Ray Milland is an alcoholic writer in Billy Wilder‘s The Lost Weekend (1945)