|Stylized heart from Gray's Anatomy, the
reference work for art students in 1970s.
In the beginning, I left. Choking on the pollution of the east coast. On the rings of restraint surrounding me, I walked through the exit and left. With no money or connections, I fabricated a life for myself, a new narrative walking out the door to something else. I knew I would die if I stayed. There was no money for college, the prospects in the office looked grim to me. What is a paycheck if the innards fry with every minute? I lost my joy before my virginity or with it, I cannot remember now. Constraint. I could not stand it then nor can I stand it now. A kind of sickness, I do not know. It is what I must work with. It is America. You can leave if you’re brave or reckless enough. So I left. Not knowing the time of day, week or month; not knowing how it might turn out, I jumped off the edge into the wide world.
When I listen to young women now, their fears, their self-flagellating behavior, at first I am perplexed. Then I see myself. I clothed my own destruction in literary fiction. Made a narrative out of the destruction of ego, the trip to the void unaccounted for and repeated, repeated, and repeated. The footsteps of my own youth echo in those halls. I had to do so in order to survive. I shut off the actions, the flaccid rapes, the eating away at my body disregarding the person attached to it and flipped it back on the knawing mess around me. Like Khalessi, I ate the fatty red heart of civilization so I could vomit out every piece of trash shoved down my throat. It was an enviable landscape though. On the surface, all looked lovely. The fancy homes, stately and well appointed. Shinier than mean streets. Rough mind games were played, convoluted and bizarre, but it was a place from which you could walk out of the ashes since the mental health care was significant. I watched those from six figure incomes get swallowed in the muck, imitating what they thought was the cool elixir of the ghetto. Pre-Hip Hop veneration. Not the real thing. An imitation that took more than it gave.
Stepping over the bodies of the dead, OD’d or mind gone or religious fanatical, I claimed another piece of life in the Midwest. It looked sparkly with all that silver white snow. Oh, what things lurk beneath the skin of the world. You often are not prepared. You did not read enough or the right books. But step you did, making another life for yourself. Shocking events sent chills down the spine. Surely this supposed god in heaven must be kidding. What have I done? What is the battle with death have to teach? I wandered in circles upon circles of discontent and disbelief. Surely someone must be having an easier time out there. I hope to find it. So much has happened since then. In the end you cannot tell what it all means. You can tell the tale. You can say, you can survive almost everything in time, if you want to. If you want to, you can make it into a song, or a poem or a novel or just another day above ground. When the happy day shows up it is so much more. All is relative and by comparison it will be so delightful, that momentary relief called joy. I can tell you this for sure.
Wait. Continue. Try to know yourself. Accept everything you can. And do something. Do not sit in the hell of your own remorse. I have done that and it does nothing but steal time and wear you out. Go. Go somewhere else. Forget the geographical cure curse. Go, if that is your way of being. Above all else, find out what is you. Your patterns, your needs, your vision of release. For only there will you come to some workable conclusion. All else is so much stuffing someone else wants you to eat. Don’t disregard the others, just know where you are in the scheme of things. This takes time. Give it to yourself, time is all the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich have. Learn to use it. Reflect. Become. Believe. And live.